Monday, 23 December 2013
|Decorations in the South Aisle were made at crafty coffee mornings.|
The frantic run up to Christmas is whirling around me and I need to stop. We have a target time - 12.30 on Christmas Day - so think of us then. Then, The Rector@6 should have finished, the front door will be shut, fire lit, dogs walked (are you reading this my two lovely sons?),Christmas lunch will not be cooked but we can prepare it together - for a late afternoon meal. We will turn inwards for a short time and celebrate as a family.
This first Christmas for The Rector@6, has been a huge learning curve for both of us. The amount of tasks that have had to be remembered - or followed up on - or needed reminders, - seems endless. Thank God for our good health. I have run a star making session in one church which was challenging but enjoyable. We are still struggling to keep our musicians as no one has stepped forward to lead our music group. I am struggling to keep up with producing the pew sheets that go out each week with notices, reading and service times on them - for 6 churches. I make mistakes, which bothers me but I must learn that: - 1) I will improve with practise and 2) I am only human!
What I have realised is that this is probably the hardest Christmas period that we will experience (hopefully). We have had to cope with accepting "This is the way it is always done" - which might not be explained to us until a little too late. Despite this, one village is trialling a worship style service with no holy communion at it (this is available half a mile down the road at two churches and all the other churches in the Benefice). People have dropped away from attending the church over the years, many were of other denominations (such as Methodist ) and they had wondered if the Christmas day Celebration could be done differently. The Rector@6 has risen to the challenge and put together a service specifically for this. We will see if they come on Christmas morning.
The contrasts in this benefice are huge. Yesterday I attended Sunday morning worship in the form of 'coffee with carols' with chequered table clothes and informal seating, in our small ancient village church and in the evening I was listening to carols in the Abbey - complete with well rehearsed choir. I sat where the monks had sat hundred of years ago and soared with the music, up to the vaulted ceilings . The Abbey is in our benefice but not part of the benifice - it is a Church of England 'perculiar' (google that - I'm not even going to attempt to explain it!). Suffice to say, next year the carol service should fall into the Rector@6's lap.
I am grateful for this time to pause. The New Year is already lining up fresh challenges but I'm not thinking about these yet. Now is the time to reflect on what Christmas really is all about.
Oh, Come, Oh, Come Emmanuel
Monday, 9 December 2013
|The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.
Psalm 65:8 New International Version
It is very strange to go to a different church now. We parked up outside and watched the people go in - teenagers (with their parents!) and old and young alike, went through the glass doors into a modern, brightly lit foyer. Nothing like our churches we said to each other. We decided to venture in and we found that we were ignored by the crowd gathered round the tea and coffee counter. We made it into the main church unaccosted. There we were surprised to find that it was a traditional church that had had a face lift. It was warm, carpeted and had chairs and not pews. Yet the structure was a traditional church. As we took it all in, the welcome commitee realised we had broken through and we were welcomed and given a leaflet which included a sermon outline - 'transformed to be sure'.
The whole evening was centred on assurance. Were we struggling with it? ..well I was. Did I have an inconsistent Christian life? - oh yes! Was I failing to appreciate the indwelling of the Spirit?... Actually it felt more like a kick up the **** for me. It was the wake up call I needed to carry on for a bit longer.
Monday, 2 December 2013
|The ultimate Vicar's onesie|
So the Rector@6 struggles on and I will consider purchasing him a set of thermal long johns. Or should I modernise him and follow the fashion trend of a onesie. If you are not sure what a onesie is - it is the adult version of a babygrow - an all in one stretchy suit and they are fashionable amongst the youngsters at the moment. They come in all sorts of designs. Perhaps I could market a 'vicar's onesie'. Throw a surplice over the top and you are ready to go! Do you think they would catch on?