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What am I doing?

Middle Cove Beach, May 2014It’s funny how my brain works. In my most recent conversation with my Spiritual Director, I mentioned the way I believe I am made. I said, “I believe I am more of a doer and a practitioner,  rather than a thinker and a theologian.” These words came back to haunt me this past week. I was at Middle Cove Beach, NL, sitting in my Targa Car, in preparation for a television interview, looking at the parts of a borrowed Go Pro camera and mount. I had less than thirty minutes to figure out the operation of the piece and its settings, before the interview and practice run.

I was frustrated, and in a moment of clarity, I said to myself, “What am I doing? I am a priest; this cannot be the work of the church!”

Tools of the Trade 1

Tools of the Trade?

Though my thoughts were clear, following that brief moment, the words of one of my favourite hymns echoed in my head.

In the rests between the phrases, in the cracks between the stars, in the gaps between the meaning, you are there  . . .  (In the Quiet Curve of Evening, Julie Howard, 1993 Voices United 278)

There is more to ministry I believe, than the easily identifiable tasks and routines. There is much between the lines in ministry. This may not come for some, in an international Motorsport event that I will be competing in to raise money for the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador and yet I believe each of us finds a way to find the gaps between the ordinary, the spaces where there seems little or nothing.

Tools of the Trade?

Tools of the Trade?

In these spaces, whether orthodox or not, we provide opportunity for people to receive the comfort, blessing, and justice that God affords within the body of Christ.

I was frustrated, anxious, and unfocused when I was dealing with the Go Pro Camera. There are many times in our lives when we are placed in situations that do not have specific patterns or paths to follow. Whether lay or ordained, each of us in our ministry has an opportunity and a responsibility I believe, to play between the lines – to explore the gaps in spaces where ‘traditional’ forms of church and ministry occur.

Tools of the Trade 3

Tools of the Trade?


This is important learning for me, for the various pieces of ministry and outreach that I involve myself in tend to scare me. Most times I am well outside my comfort zone, holding on (sometimes for dear life) the knowledge and belief that this path I share with the one whom I follow.

The ways in which we all approach ministry and service to God are varied, as varied as the contexts from which we come. I pray and hope that the community of faith continues to explore the places that perhaps are unseen, or hardly dared, in hope that in interaction with those in need, we will find God, and others will rejoice that we have come to God.

David Burrows

About David Burrows

David Burrows is a priest of the church, currently serving in parish ministry within the Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, a place he has called home for the past fifteen years. He consistently engages dialogue and action with the wider community through creative outreach projects. Cycling, kayaking, writing, and driving fast cars are distractions in his life.
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3 Responses to "What am I doing?"

    • David Burrows