Saturday, April 03, 2010

My last parochial Good Friday

It rained as I made my way to church for the Good Friday Vigil. The streets were pretty quiet, and I thought that would result in few people attending. However, I was mistaken there were around thirty people were there for the first two hours, with some comings and goings, and numbers rose to around 50 for the Liturgy in the final hour. Although I was still feeling pretty groggy, my throat was not nearly as sore as yesterday, and my voice held up throughout. It was hard to feel much. I did my best to remain focussed and put in as much energy as I could into preaching. On this occasion it meant not singing, and that was strange - being quiet for some of my favourite hymns of the year. The important thing was getting to the end without cracking up and causing a drama. Without the quiet support of church officers, willing me on as well as sharing in the liturgy, it would have been much harder.

Afterwards we had a quiet, most welcome cuppa and toasted hot cross bun, all relaxed and homely up in the tea-room, closed for the day, then home to await family arrivals and get some rest. In fact, we agreed to cancel Saturday night's Easter ceremonies, rarely attracting more than half a dozen people, so that I could have a full day to recover before Sunday. No point in taking any risks at the end of such a hard-going final parochial Holy Week.

Late in the evening I popped back to church briefly to see how the ' Pub Church' team was getting on with its Good Friday outreach for city clubbers, organised by Pastor James Karran and University Chaplain Trystan Hughes. They had different videos of Christ's Passion being projected in three different spaces around the church, and some mediation stations, focussing on Way of the Cross events. They were pleased to have had a good response from passers by - I guess the loud music pumping into the street from a church will have made some curious.

Richard and Philip were there, Evan was expected. A really long day for all of them, and a sign of their strong commitment to make the church a place open to all kinds of activities that may bring people in, and make them think. I was too tired to stay long, and so grateful that I didn't have to stay to the end. But above all I felt immensely proud of having been part of this small team that has quietly self-effacingly made so many wonderful things happen for others in over the years.

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