So there was this church. It wasn’t a particuarly amazing church in many ways, but it had a fabulous vicar and it also had James. Not long after I met him, he decided that he wanted to rescue me from my life of
sin charismatic Baptist church membership, and he started taking me along to this church. Just off Edgware Road it was a bloody long way away from Lewisham, but as I always spent Saturday nights at his in Vauxhall I never really noticed.
I got to know the congregation, joined the choir, got myself on the readings rota and the intercessions rota and the Sunday School rota and the tea and coffee rota. I started working as a Server or an Acolyte on Sundays that I wasn’t in the choir stalls. I considered joining the PCC and did join the Church Re-Evaluation Committee1. I did, you know, all the things you do that mean you have Joined A Church.
Then, as you will probably all have noticed by now, he carked it. And first I didn’t go very often because it made me cry, and then I didn’t go very often because it was so bloody far away, and then I didn’t go very often because I’d fallen out of the habit (ba dum, tish). I still Served and filled all the various duties when I did turn up and I stayed in regular contact with the vicar, but such occasions became increasingly few and far between. At Greenbelt I got this nagging feeling that I Need To Go To Church Again, properly, every week. I tried to ignore it, but the damn thing just wouldn’t go away and eventually I gave in. ‘Alright,’ I thought. ‘But I’ll never make it all the way up there every week…’.
And so tomorrow morning I’ll be up bright and early to trot off to St Paul’s Deptford2 for High Mass at 10:30. It’s a lot closer: walkable If You Really Have To, and a short, simple bus ride from just round the corner to bang smack outside the church usually. I’ve been there for Ash Wednesday services once or twice and they’re about as high as you get, proper Anglo-Catholics. There’s a Father Paul who I know nothing about, and a Father John who according to my dad wears a lot of leather and raises money for AIDS charities.
I’m a bit nervous, actually. I’ll keep you all informed.
1Look, stop laughing at the back there. It’s a well-known fact that one of the things the Anglican church does best is organise rotas to decide whose turn it is to draw up the rota for who’s chairing the committee meeting about the exact positioning of the paintings in the church hall during next week’s parish lunch, during which behatted old ladies will argue about who is on the most rotas.
I thought it was just the Anglicans who did this. Then I went to a BiCon Decision-Making Plenary. First of all someone proposed that next year we have a meeting to discuss what we’re going to say in the meeting in which we’re going to discuss what we’re going to say in the meeting in which we’re going to discuss it. And then we had a vote on whether or not we were going to have a vote. I suspect the reason that I took so easily to handling Bisexual Faff is that I have herded many many cats, and most of them were wearing a cassock and surplus at the time.
2That’s a really badly designed website. Give me a few months and I’ll probably be on the committee to redesign it. [ahem]