Sunday, May 31, 2009


Take one vicar with wild and catholic leanings, a congregation of willing accomplices and enough committed families to produce an assortment of children even on the final Sunday of half term, when the English summer is at its startling best.
Add a Major Festival and a pre-Selection candidate with techie expertise and the result is inevitable...


By pure Grace, the pew end ribbons left by yesterday's bride were deep gold and red, decorating each pew at Church in the Valley.
Of course the flower guild had done wonders - they always do.

S's mum had produced a fantastic birthday cake (working into the small hours, I gather...what a star!), so one way and another by the time I'd added armfuls of balloons it was impossible for anyone to miss the fact that this was a special Sunday.

I'd asked the congregation to wear red, with no confidence at all that they would remember, or feel like bothering - so my first "ahh" moment was when I stood to give the notices and realised that in almost every pew were dashes of flame colours. So many people made the effort - and it really isn't part of the culture here...

My second "ahhh" was during the Acts reading. D., our visitor on placement, produced a fantastic soundtrack that completely transformed the reading...Moreover, while S read (beautifully - exactly the right person to cope with the extra surprises) I'd invited the children to do just what their parents might have discouraged them from doing - to run around in church.
Armed with flame coloured streamers, they moved up and down the aisles, filling the church with colour and life.
The talk involved balloons- soon being batted and floated all the way down the aisle as a demonstration of how the disciples, filled with the Spirit, sent the Good News all round the world. It involved, too, lighting a taper from the Paschal candle before it was extinguished...Birthday cake candles were lit using the taper,and Happy Birthday dear Church duly chorused...
We can no longer see Jesus, but the light of the Spirit shines on.
And these candles were the most emphatically inextinguishable I've ever come across. Long after we were ready to move on, they kept springing back to life...It would be hard, I think, to miss the message that you cannot quench the Spirit.
Intercessions were writen on coloured flames and scattered on the altar at the Offertory, the Eucharistic prayer was, predictably, pure joy
"This is OUR story...this is OUR song."

Later, after coffee & cake had been consumed, I went back into the church, now quiet and empty.
Except that it wasn't.

As I looked at the prayer-flames on the altar, I could almost hear the gentle laughter of the One who had danced with the children.

Thanks be to God!


Anonymous said...

That sounds absolutely fantastic - bookmarking to use next year! Sound like you had a great time.

Song in my Heart said...

This is wonderful, both in the sense of being good, and in the sense of being full of wonder.

Anonymous said...

That's wonderful - have to admit that I arrived late here and didn't have a clue that it WAS Pentecost.

Anonymous said...

Kathryn that sounds amazing!:-) How great is our God!

Sally said...

Just wonderful Kathyrn