To visit members of my church, I have to go over open sewer and jump over piles of garbage and the alleys are very narrow to get to the houses, not to mention the risk of being cut by the sharp edges of the rusty tin that they use to make the houses. As I go through these alleys, they’re lined with many people, some of whom I know to be dangerous criminals but they’re very protective to me and will always stop to say hi and appreciate my visit to their neighborhoods.The church members will go out of their way to make tea and a snack and some will insist on making a meal, despite of my persistent refusal. I savor these moments and they mean so much to me but I know too that they are valued moments by the members and the way bystanders that I greet along the way. I reminded how much gets accomplished by these small acts that no body else notices other than the recipients of these good deeds, as I read Emma Percy’s book. There are many things that I do and take for granted as a pastor but as I reflect on these things, I now realize how much gets accomplished away from the pulpit. I have heard countless testimonies of young believers who were changed by a pastor’s visit to their home or just a call or text message. It’s not always as easy every day and I have encountered challenges as I make these visits, I have been mugged along the way and I have twisted my leg but it’s well worth it, I always find myself going back to these vulnerable communities and that’s where I derive the greatest fulfillment of the work of ministry. It’s easy to look the other way and easily justify yourself, after all what can just a visit or a kind word do in a sea of overwhelming needs but it makes a difference and that’s all that matters. I have seen countless lives transformed and many non-church goers start coming to church.
The priest has a responsibility to care for the congregants in his parish and should encourage them to grow in their faith and to put to practice their faith. Emma illustrates this role and points to some uniqueness of the priest’s role by asking the questions as to whether the priest is a professional or a leader. She rightly points out the limitation of the lack of a compelling relationship with the community of believers. Unlike a typical professional or leader who can enforce through some set rules and regulations or can use specific strategies and tactics, the priest has no compelling relationship that affords him that luxury and has to use other means to inspire, motivate and encourage the community of believers. There is a common perception that the priest’s work is mainly seen as the Sunday sermon and presiding sacraments but the bigger role is daily sustaining people through the trials of life, while encouraging growth and maturity of faith of those they care for which cannot be accomplished through the Sunday ministry. It is through the day to day activities that is unseen and undervalued that the priests carry out this role and responsibility.
Emma Percy rightly uses different metaphors to illustrate the unseen part of the priest’s role in inspiring, motivating and encouraging the communities of believers to grow in their faith. She uses the metaphor of a mother to illustrate the importance of relationship building and random activities that make a child feel safe and secure but also see the need to learn and grow to be on their own which is also true for the clergy. Borrowing from the book maternal thinking, Emma uses the a ‘good enough’ mother and how she keeps a relationship with a child and does activities that make the child feel safe and secure but learns with time to grow up and do them by themselves. This involves activities but also a process of managing the growth and maturity process which calls for such skills of managing change. It’s interesting how Emma uses weaning of a child from breastfeeding to taking solid foods and the challenge of managing that change which can be resisted, can cause conflicts as well attract a myriad of advice and suggestions as to how to do it. In the same way the priest has to learn to manage through the change process in helping the community of believers to grow and mature in their faith.
I find this book very resourceful and affirming of the role of the priests and pastors in recognizing the unseen role that they play in their day to day activities of sustaining believers through the trials of life, and encouraging growth and maturity in faith. So much work gets accomplished during the week and I believe it’s important to pay attention to this aspect of the clergies’ work and help them to do it effectively. It’s very easy to train them for their role as preachers and offering sacraments and other visible roles but ignore the more critical role of inspiring, motivating and encouraging the believers. As a leader presiding other pastors, I’ll take steps towards empowering pastors and other church leaders to carry out this role and responsibilities better, as well encouraging them not to neglect that aspect of ministry. This unseen role of the clergy is what brings growth and maturity, it’s the change that makes the whole big difference for the community of believers and we keen to fulfill it. We’re the change as the clergy, let’s do it anyway!
 Emma Percy. What Clergy Do. Especially When It Looks Like Nothing. Society For Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2014. London, UK.
 Ibid,……page 6
 Ibid,…..page 28
 Sara Ruddick. Maternal Thinking. Boston, MA. Beacon press, 1989.
 Emma Percy. What Clergy Do. Especially When It Looks Like Nothing. London, UK. Society For Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2014. Page 103.