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A Fresh Start 30 September 2007

Posted by Dr Moose in Church, Faith, Life.

The last few weeks have been ones of stress, excitement, getting lost, being found, endings and beginnings. From My Little Part of Kent (MLPK) to East Midlands University Town (EMUT). From trying to build a church from scratch to inheriting a wonderful example of a village church (even if the village has long ago been swallowed up by the town!) From leading hymns and choruses on guitar to organ, choir and sung Common Worship (traditional language) Communion!

First, at least officially*, there was the Licensing and Induction, a wonderful example of splendid Anglican pomp, never quite straying into farce. The language of licenses, redolent of learning and genteel antiquity,

A Bishop of B commissary for this purpose of the Right Reverend Father in God D by divine permission Lord Bishop of E to our beloved in Christ F Greeting… ”

and so on. Not forgetting the organist trying to manfully cope with unfamiliar hymns, the robed choir, whose number failed to exceed the fingers of one hand, the not-quite-yet priest-in-charge’s children whooping it up in the vestry with loud shouts and banging of doors in the quietest parts of the service.

And, of course, the wonderfully symbolic trip around the church, with parishioners and voluntereed others giving significant things.

“Look, it’s key! We never open that door.”
“Bet you’ve never seen a more monstrous font in your life. Have some water.”
“Here, have your Bible back. We don’t have any printed less than 40 years ago.”
“Do you ever use the oil stock?”
“Here’s the liturgy book. Shame most of it was written last century” (the latter presented by a “Young Person” – who retired 2 years ago!)

All followed by a lovely bunfight and ordeal by tea for the Vicar’s wife and offspring! Thank God for in-laws!

Against that the life of a University, even some of the more potentially wild students like the Freshers who will have spent their entire grant on beer before next week’s out, against that… well, there’s just no competition.

(*in other words I’d already been up to practical stuff at the Uni helping with the stress of enrolment… on the prospective students’ parents).

There followed a week of trying to sort out a routine for my two-hattedness – a different day off for the first time in 6 years, which feels very weird. Discovering what had and had not been left behind by the previous incumbent (to wit one photocopier and a complete absence of Baptism records for a decade!) Trying to work out quite who does what, when and where, and why the Treasurer’s job is a three-way job share, or ….

You get the picture.

Last Sunday, when the rubber really hit the road, I had very nice and relaxed 8am Communion, although it would have been nice to know that it was in the Lady Chapel rather sooner than 2 minutes before the service, and the interesting experience of sung CW traditional language Communion. It made a refreshing change, but at same time it was symptomatic of everything that I dislike about the dear old Church of England – obscure hymns, love of ritual, the dust of years! I have promised myself that I won’t deliberately upset the applecart or suggest making any changes for a few months.

Which explains two things: why I am writing this blog (and other notes to myself) – so that I don’t become so familiar with the way things are that I forget… and why I (and St. Z‘s – not it’s real dedication) are remaining pretty much anonymous this time round!



1. Kathryn - 1 October 2007

Interesting times, my friend…I think your resolution is wise. I recently read a kind of worship audit of St M’s that I’d been asked to produce in my first couple of months here – and there was so much that I’ve been numbed to, and which remains unchallenged.
Prayers for you and yours as you acclimatise
(oh…and a wonderful word verification “parajaddy”)

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