Sunday, February 01, 2009
From the crib....
Today had the potential to be "interesting", and not in a good way.
Do you remember that in the autumn FabBishop nearly found himself hurled unsuspectingly into the middle of our first ever Pets service at Church in the Valley?
On that occasion, I diverted him up the hill, to celebrate their Harvest Festival - but he still had this date clear and wanted to come visiting...Candlemas. Lovely festival, with a great story and also one that lends itself to lots of beautiful liturgy and some rather wonderful music. The 1st Sunday in the month, though, is something quite different at Church in the Valley, as it's our All Age Eucharist,where the emphasis is very much on involving even the youngest children, and any liturgical niceties have to come second to an accessible, inclusive service.
FabBishop, however, is a Serious Liturgist (he wrote large chunks of Common Worship, for heaven's sake) - not someone you'd immediately think of in connection with an unspecified number of children, percussion instruments and candles.
You'll understand that all this had made me just a little tense in the past few days.
Liturgies were planned, revised, and submitted.New words were written for familiar songs.
My lovely lovely congregation, recognising that this felt a bit like an "OFSTED" for their vicar, rallied round, swept, polished and made Church in the Valley as beautiful as they knew how. Mountains of junk were shifted, "glory holes" disappeared overnight, and the linen was laundered and pressed to perfection.
And, on the day, it all came together.
Around 25 children and well over 100 adults filled the church delightfully.FabBishop was on splendid form, speaking from the nave and encouraging interaction for all he was worth, children from our school read lovely prayers we'd prepared together, and the final procession from Crib to Font was all that I'd dared to hope and more.
Over coffee, E (aged 8) awarded FabBishop a shiney teddy-bear sticker, and I have to say he deserved it.
Church in the Valley should be purring and preening itself for a while, I think - it was such a lovely morning.