Sunday 20 November 2016

Sunday 20th November - Sunday

This was the first official lie-in I've had for several weeks now, and I'm so glad I was awake to enjoy it. No, I mean it. Really.

Church of St John.jpg

Then off to church, for the second service as I was on the rota for this Sunday (I much prefer the first, quieter service, but my name crops up on the rota from time to time).

However, there had been a confusion, and I wasn't needed. I thought that I would just slip inside the door, collect a news sheet and some letters from my pigeonhole, drop off a number of "pink envelopes"...

... trip down memory lane...

 me, aged about nine maybe, staying with my grandmother in her thatched cottage opposite the ancient church in the tiny village.

That's her sitting-room window
There's the Church
The church bells ringing out, and my grandmother, wearing a good tweed suit, and a beret with a Cairngorm brooch stuck in it, limping heavily down the hallway. In the tray on the hall table are her hymn book, prayer book, gloves, and a pink envelope, just like mine today, with her collection money safely inside. We make our way down the steps from the high pavement to cross the road, and up the other side, along the path to the church. The organ wheezes out a gentle, solemn tune as we settle into the uncomfortable wooden pew. Bert, changed from his usual work clothes into his Sunday suit, topped off by a cassock and surplice, lights the altar candles.

The church bells fall silent, the organ changes up a gear into the opening hymn. Bert, carrying the cross leads the choir - Bert's Hilda, and Cora, and a few other villagers in their dusty choir robes, and the vicar (I think his name was Father Bodger, surely not?), all with an average age of at least 90, to my young eyes, up the aisle...

... I hadn't planned to stay, but then the pianist and the band played the very gentle song "To be in your presence, not rushing away..." so I found a spare seat and sat down...

Two very different church services;
one church 1000 years old, the other not yet sixty.
One vicar wearing the full gear - cassock, surplice, stole, preceded by a crucifer and a choir, the other, sitting in the front row of chairs wearing casual jacket and trousers, and a clerical collar wedged into the collar of his ordinary shirt and addressed by everyone by his Christian name.
An elderly organ, still with the original tracker action (but at least with an electric blower!) with the choir sitting in the choir stalls in the chancel; the band - two guitars, drum kit, electric keyboard and a couple of singers all with microphones connected to the speakers either side of the church.
Hymn books and prayer books; over-head projectors and power-point illustrations to the sermon

Both with altars, candles, silver chalice and pattern, carefully set out for a communion service, saying the same words... not so very different after all.


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