LONGISH CHURCH COUNCIL meeting tonight (8-10pm), but productive, and with plenty of causes for celebration scattered amongst Agenda items. It’s no secret that I’m a one-to-one-or-two-or-three sort of a man, not a great lover of formal meetings, still less of evening meetings after already very full days. Perhaps it’s worth recording, though, that I’m always impressed by the thought that in countless similar meetings, attended by volunteers all over the world, there’s a vast representation of human commitment to community building and a greater good, and that such endeavours teach us all, across lifetimes, how to listen to other people.

Some listen better than others. Some, like me, manage to listen attentively to some of the people at some of the meetings, and not to, or at others. It’s a human predicament. And extroverts and introverts, not to mention all the other different personality types, add further need for continuing improvement. But I think that Archbishop Sentamu was right when, addressing our diocesan clergy the other night, he stressed the great – even primary – need for listening in the Church and in the world. And in the life of a large and busy church like ours there’s certainly a lot of listening to be done. Tonight’s meeting showed me that, in our church council, there’s a high degree of commitment to the process. And I’m grateful for that.