I'll call him Mr B. He is an older gentleman, and has been leading services for about 50 years now, he told me. He didn't go through the course I am undertaking at the moment, as it is a relatively new direction for Local Preachers. He took services for some time and then had to have a talk with a superintendent, who passed him fit to preach without supervision. Mr B was probably only about 18 when he began taking services as a favour to a friend who needed someone to take a service in a bit of an emergency!
God shines through Mr B. He reads the Bible and preaches without notes beyond what he has scribbled in the margins of his ancient Bible. He takes a service most weeks in the circuit and explained to me that he spends several evenings each week just preparing for each service, reading the texts in the Bible, commentaries and books by others, to be able to put together a sermon to share God's word with each congregation that he visits.
Why talk about Mr B today? Well, he said something in his Fen accent yesterday which reminded me of something a young mother in the village had said about this accent. Mr B had cause to say the word "human" yesterday. That "u" sounds more like "oo" in the Fens and so we heard "hoo-man" and I instantly thought of the mum who had heard her child say "moo-sic" instead of "music" and been mortified that her child would grow up to develop a Fen accent. The mum is from another area of the country which has a distinctive accent, and perhaps she would prefer the child to speak that way, but the child lives in the Fens, and will go to school and live amongst others here who speak that way.
Does it really matter? I am something of an accent chameleon, able to moderate the way I speak in order to fit in with the company I am in, and I think that a lot of people are like that. I have always done that and seem to do it automatically - I don't think about it! In Scotland, I soon picked up phrases and changes to verb placement in the sentences and used them quite easily without thinking about it! It was as easy to stop speaking in that way the minute I came back to live in England and was no longer surrounded by people speaking like that.
I don't think that accents are important in the grand scheme of things, and the comment I made to the FH yesterday is that if that child grows up to be half the person that Mr B is, she will do well, however she speaks!