Talking Ministry: Making the world a better place
Published on 19 April 2023 2 minutes read
Parish minster Rev Anikó Schütz Bradwell has spoken of the importance of providing more than just spiritual support as part of her Christian service.
Ms Schütz Bradwell, who has been minister of the joint parish of Humbie and Yester, Bolton and Saltoun in East Lothian since 2015, was speaking as part of the monthly Talking Ministry series.
Originally from Germany, ministry in the Church of Scotland was never part of her long-term plan.
"I went to Iona for six weeks and this is me still in Scotland 17 years later!" she laughed.
However, by the time she made her first visit to the Iona community, Ms Schütz Bradwell had already been a part of an international ecumenical community, although on a much larger scale, at Taizé in France.
"I was fascinated by what was happening there, so I applied to become a long-term volunteer," she explained.
It was brilliant. I was part of an international group and we had a lot of responsibility in leading meetings. I have friends all around the world through being a part of Taizé."
So, when someone told her of a similar community on an island off the coast of Scotland, she decided it was a place she must visit.
Looking out for each other
An island in the Hebrides may not have had the balmy climate of Taizé, but she experienced warmth of a different kind, making lifelong friendships and thriving on Iona's engaging and creative forms of worship and its ethos of service.
"The phrase on Iona was: ‘You come to Iona looking for peace and quiet, and leave looking for peace and justice'," Ms Schütz Bradwell said.
It is an ethos that is shared by the Taizé Community, which works in some of the poorest parts of the world, and which she sees in her own rural parish.
"During Covid, we had lots of support groups. People went shopping for their neighbours, we did weekly soup runs to elderly folks on their own which are still carrying on, and we still have a weekly community lunch and warm bank. People really look out for each other," she said.
For Ms Schütz Bradwell, who worked in the Church of Scotland's Edinburgh headquarters before beginning to study for the ministry in the city's New College, being called to follow Christ also carries a social responsibility.
She said: "We have a social gospel and we are called to do everything we can to make the world better, more peaceful and kinder. If that means challenging injustice and speaking truth to power, then that is something we need to do. In parish ministry, so much of what we do is pastoral, and there is a big social element to it where we see people who are isolated and in need of practical support."
Each month, the Talking Ministry series will share a personal story from those serving in Christian ministry, as well as discernment resources filled with questions, prayers and reflections to help encourage your own reflection on how God might be calling you.