Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas comes - often it seems

On my way to the city centre manager's office to pick up some Business Safe Mail, I caught a group of Salvation Army musicians from the Grangetown Corps playing carols on the Hayes, and raising funds as they always do on Christmas Eve. Happily I had my camera with me and took a photo from the same position as I took one of the band at this time of year two years back, when Oxford House was still standing. What a contrast between the views!

When I went to greet them, I saw bandmaster Captain Eric Smith with whom I'd worked on several ecumenical collaborations in recent years. Not so this year. The City Centre Churches Together Group simply had no energy to expend on a joint celebration. I wanted to apologise for this, but thought no, let me just resolve to ensure something worthwhile happens at St John's next year, and not wait in vain for a collaboration that may not materialise. Some local churches haven't returned their Spiritual Capital questionnaire, despite being co-sponsors of this research venture. Chasing up local colleagues on non-communication issues is embarrassing as well as disappointing.

As I made my way back to church for the Eucharist, the Sally Army was there connecting with the public - the sound of peace and goodwill at one end of the street, while at the other end, the bells of St John's were ringing announcing the worship to take place. Just as it should be.

An ITV News crew came to church to film for their Christmas Eve programme. They didn't want an interview, which was just as well. There was much to arrange in a short time, as people were arriving, and I'm just a bit short handed with a couple of key regulars away for the feast. There were over fifty people at the Eucharist. 38 took communion. Many of them were our regulars, and I don't expect to see them later or tomorrow. There were just six of us at Tredegarville School for their Christmas Eucharist at six. Disappointing, but the important thing is to be a praying presence there. It's a Christian school all year round and not just in term time.

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