David and I were invited to an evening occasion in a neighboring village last night. The interegnum was over. A new parish priest was being licensed .
These occasions can be stuffy, can be a bit pompous and wordy. Last nights was none of those things, it was quite simply Mother church at her caring and sharing best.
All the people who had helped during the interegnum were invited and were there in droves !
Rural Deans ,Archdeacons, the Dean of the Cathedral were all there in their finery but so were the scouts, the Parish council, and all the members of the community who don't go to church much at all . Everyone was waiting to welcome the new priest.
There was good humour evident all round. The hymns were chosen by children and I enjoyed singing "Shine Jesus Shine" and "Kum ba ya" enormously.
The sermon from the Bishop met the needs of the small community wonderfully well , made us all laugh, and invoked a sense of celebration coupled with an on going challenge to work well together.
I saw smiles on faces never seen before! Everyone was happy, and the supper afterwards sumptuous. We had a glass of wine and I had an egg sandwich .
My goodbyes to the new friends made during this period were tempered with the news that this parish has now joined our small cluster of parishes and we shall all continue to work together.
It is rare in the Church of England to find a whole church full of happy people, all singing from the same hymn sheet but it happened here last night. The Spirit was indeed with us. Alleluia!