Sunday, December 23, 2007

O Immanuel - children as evangelists, again

A chilly early Sunday start. Thankfully the church central heating timer/thermostat was behaving so the building was warm and welcoming. After the eight o'clock Eucharist, I transported the borrowed votive candle stand back to St Dyfrig & St Samson's, where it will be needed over Christmas, and in doing so had the opportunity to greet my old friend Fr Graham before the great feast. Apart from monthly clergy breakfasts it's a rarity that we have time to get together socially these days.

The small handful of regular Sunday School children with friendly support from occasional visiting children told us the nativity story instead of a sermon at the Parish Eucharist. Hannah, a bright and active two year old, dressed as an angel giggled loudly and ran about fairly quietly. Sheer delight. Janie's lovely little Josh missed out - he has chicken pox. Bethan was confident narrating with a strong voice for a nine year old. What a joy for us all.

A brief PCC meeting after refreshments and before last minute choir practice for this evening. It's hard to find a time that works when so many people have such busy lives. The compromise is to make sure people know what's happening in between meetings, make sure there's a written report for people to mull over between meetings, and not to take snap decisions - act only on what emerges as a consensus, and make sure any firm decision is progressed. We have a start now on work around plans associated with church re-decoration, and a Faculty petition to ensure work on west entrance modifications can be started as soon as north and south aisle painting is completed. It's comforting that we can afford the work ahead of us, thanks to all the hard effort put into earning through the Tea Room. 2008 will be a year of transformation if all goes according to plan.

Paul Gregory, Cathays Churchwarden came to join us for the Tredegarville afternoon Eucharist, a pleasant and welcome surprise, particularly as the school heating is off for the vacation. We have a Christmas eve Eucharist there tomorrow. After the service I took Communion to one of the long standing housebound members of St James' - always so welcoming and interested in what is going on outside the confines of her two room apartment. It would do me good to visit her more often, to remind me of just how positive someone can be living with severe limitations when I find the constraints of the job, not to mention work/life balance so difficult to manage.

The service of Nine Lessons and Carols by candlelight went very well. Bethan not only read (the second time in the day), but also played the opening verse of 'Once in Royal David's City' on the flugelhorn, (which she's currently learning to play) to open the service. Quite a challenge for a nine year old - by candlelight, fussed over by nervous adults. She just loves to make a sensible contribution to events, and is always full of the questions of the really interested. I suspect she takes after her grandma, who brings her to church, rings bells when she can, and does the refreshments after the Sunday Eucharist.

And tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Three services to take, no sermon written yet, and quite a few other jobs to do as well.

No comments: