Tuesday 20 April 2010

A blog not about narrowboats...

To avoid the risk of this blog getting a bit monochromatic about 58' long metal boats, I offer a reflection on last Sunday's worship.

The rota excluded me from services (the delights of a parish with non-stip and retired clergy, plus regular lay-lead services) - we had returned from Scotland the night before so Peter could play football on Sunday against Swindon Village Bowmen (the challenge seeming to be to score as many goals as possible, bless the poor lads of SVB), so I could choose where to worship.

In this occasional situation I have often popped the ten minute bicycle ride down to Gloucester Cathedral for the 8am BCP - but I felt frisky this week - and opted for the short run up to Tewkesbury Abbey, for the 11am Sung Eucharist!

Wonderful bells, smells, dalmatics and the rest! My pal Steve, a contemporary from college, was the deacon, and the incumbent and his wife the president and sub-deacon/preacher. To sum it up? It was unselfconsciously good anglo-catholic worship - even the slightly contentious phrasing after the offertory and the Hail Mary in the intercessions felt gentle and actually there for worshipful reasons.

My hidden agenda - to see some really polished eastwards-facing eucharistic presidency - was well addressed. They had microphones, so no real issues with sound projection, but the elevations, the pace, the delivery was all very smooth and elegant. It was good to chat with a couple from Thornbury who are regulars, and with the clergy team who I know well (except for the pres). A good day out...

I was puzzled by those hardened souls who had come especially for this service, but held handkerchiefs over their noses for the gospel to stop the incense from attacking them. To borrow from Coppola - I love the smell of incense in the morning.

Final negative thought - i would personally draw the line at chanting the entire gospel. Steve has a lovely tenor voice, but that didn't do it for me!

So, as a mock mystery worshipper - an excellent 9/10 for Tewkesbury!


  1. A thought: think you'll find that the flaking plaster walls of a certain West Coast church actually make projection easy, even Eastwards-facing ...