Sunday, September 28, 2008

Back to Church Sunday

Well, I exhorted the congregation a few weeks ago to take seriously this publicised opportunity to invite someone they know to come to Church with them, and I put up suitable posters in the church porches to encourage the passing trade (of which we have much). The result?

For the first time this year, nobody came to the 8.00am. All the regulars bar one had told me that they expected to be away, so I turned up, just in case. But not even a late reveller or a down and out showed up (as they sometimes do). At least it meant that I could say morning prayer quietly, and spend time rigging up and testing equipment I needed to show a short video after the Harvest Sung Eucharist.

I showed a short 'YouTube' video of children demonstrating the making of Keyhole gardens in Lesotho - my friend Valdo in Switzerland emailed me the link last week, and I was much taken with it. Not being able to take advantage of the flaw in Adobe's Flash player which makes it possible to download and save a video stream, I opted to position the wireless router on a chair by the sacristy door, so that it could connect to my laptop perched on a choir stall, with a 30ft cable from there to a video projector beaming on the north aisle sanctuary wall, kindly loaned by my friend Peter Swinbank. Everything worked perfectly 'out of the box', in reheasal and in practice, much to my astonishment.

It was good to welcome Ben Rabjohns, on his first Sunday of pastoral placement with us, especially as we were a healthy forty adults plus children at the Eucharist for a change - 20% more than usual. There were a few unfamiliar faces, passing visitors to the city as ever, but more regulars turining up at once, plus a few Evensong goers made the effort to come. So all in all the total numbers attending were the same as a normal Sunday. Vanessa organised a Harvest luncheon after the service, and showing the video filled a gap between the end of refreshments after the service and the start of lunch. The lunch was fully subscribed and people so pleased with the occasion, that a lunch during Advent has been proposed - cawl with bread and cheese to signify Advent restraint. Marvellous!

I had to slip away early from the lunch because there was another family birthday meal for Clare at home. Later on she and I went to the 'The Barber of Seville' at the Millennium Centre - another brilliant production by WNO, with an English libretto so well performed that the singing was frequently accompanied by gusts of laughter - shades of G&S! There was no Evensong at St John's, since today is also St Michael's Patronal Festival, so our evening congregation was invited to join theirs for 'Songs of Praise'. For once, I had half a Sunday off. I felt very strange about this. My Sunday is never a normal family day with ordinary leisure pursuits - for many years, four services have demanded all my attention. What it will be like to retire? How strange will that be?

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