Monday, 1 December 2008

English Advent I.

It was freezing last night, and this morning the thermostat in the lounge showed the inside temperature of my house as being 12 degrees celsius. At the moment, snow is attempting to fall, although with little success. The bitter night last night certainly kept many away from Evensong and Benediction, but not to worry. This obsession with numbers is relatively new and although a good indication, often but not always, of the effect a church has on the life of her parish, the figures do not always show the effect that the prayer ministry of the church has on the local area. A faithful twenty five then gathered for for the evening office, including your other scribe Fr. Lee, who appeared from the mists hoping, I think, for a quiet reflective evening, but was coaxed into a purple cope and then into giving Benediction, before heading to the Prachee Indian Restaurant down the lane. The Prachee is a good friend of Saint Hilda's, always supporting us in our endeavours and even asking us to come and say prayers after their iman when they redecorated the premises.

Sometimes it probably sounds as though we live in a Tellytubby land of old maids cycling to daily Mass and incense-filled Solemn Benedictions, supported by an adoring parish of Anglo-Catholics, meandering round the lanes clacking their rosary beads together. Certainly I do like to keep a positive outlook on things, but we have a great many problems as well, but the church being open and well-used has an immensely positive effect on our (admittedly very small) parish. People are happy to be associated with the church and for that to be publically known, which is a great boon. I worry for the future, but that will not be my concern in a few months, as I go off to serve a curacy in an, as yet, undisclosed location. I am hoping for news this week.

The Magnificat. We have taken to singing 'Tell Out My Soul' for this recently, which has been a success, if success be measured in volume, which is not a bad measuring stick. It is rare that we have a choir for Evensong, even though we have a continually growing choir for the Mass. It may be time to utilise this resource and try having a chanted Entrance Antiphon before High Mass soon.

This picture is taken from the first row of seats in the nave and demonstrates the problem of the dais which the nave altar once stood on in a short lived rash of modernism. It is a very well built dais, alas, and one which will take an awful lot of effort to remove, thus allowing the chairs to be moved forward and a narthex to be built (and the doors replaced with two sets of glass ones, allowing visibility into the church and encouraging people in, which would be a good idea). If westward facing celebration were ever to become popular again (is it some sort of mass amnesia?), the altar can, in fact, be moved forward independent of the reredos.

Anyway, Advent is happily upon us. The King is coming. In this increasingly dark world still burns the light of faith, guiding us over the choppy waters with many a rocky outcrop hidden just under the surface. It is generally a pleasure updating this blog, in the half hour a day which I reserve for that. This time of year, with the richness of scripture and the antiphons for the Office, writing becomes more and more Dickensian, which is a temptation I shall have to avoid. If I start posting pictures of log fires and crusty port, have a gentle word with me.