Sunday, March 23, 2008

The feast of feasts

The earliness of Lent, inclement weather, and uncertain state of the church pending redecoration have all contributed to poor attendance of late. There were, however good seventy adults and children present for the Sung Eucharist. It all fitted together beautifully, including a little trumpet fanfare from Bethan (9), and all the children present (regular and occasional Sunday School attenders) did a little Easter egg hunt I'd prepared for them during the last hymn. Lots of glorious singing, relaxed ritual and the spontanaiety of relaxed happy children made it into a Family Eucharist worthy of the name.

Then we had a party, with several cakes, sandwiches and crisps, tea and fizzy grame juice and orange. About forty people stayed, including a few of our visitors. The idea was to celebrate the sixty years life of the church's ministry to children post-War, when the new Vicar T M Hughes started up Sunday school again. Old photos were brought out and displayed. Recently, Norma Thomas who runs the Sunday School today, and started with it in 1948 has given a few talks and written about those years in the church magazine. She is a real missionary spirit, the prayerful and considerate soul of our church welcome team.

Everyone felt it was time to say thank you to her, not because she looks like stepping down, she is fit and well, and looks twenty years younger than her age, but as someone said better to be able to express appreciation for her ministry while she can enjoy it, not after she's gaga or dead. So, this celebration's secret agenda was to honour her and say thank you.

It came as a complete surprise to her when, as part of my short speech, I asked her to come forward. At first she looked a little shocked and embarrassed. "No no" she said; "You can't, it's Easter!" - utterly certain, unselfconscious in voicing her priorities for celebration. It was a wonderful joyous unforgettable moment. Norma isn't shy. She's quiet, confident, comfortably at home in the background, always aware and sensitive to what is needed. Generations of children and adults have loved her and been loved by her, and countless numbers have been welcomed into church by her from day to day.

There was truly a Paschal mood in church this morning. It felt like we are Easter people, and gloriously so. People happy to be what they are, as well. What a treat.

No comments: