Happily, the Church of England still retains some singular parish clergy. Take the parish of St James-the-Least in the county of C- for example. Here the elderly Anglo-Catholic vicar, Eustace, continues his correspondence to Darren, his nephew, a low-church curate recently ordained…
On When guitars meet Matins
St James the Least
My dear Nephew Darren
It was kind of you to send your music group to us last Sunday morning while our choir had a Sunday off for its celebratory lunch. Miss Timmins’ ninety-fourth birthday brought the combined choir’s age to 1,000; which is quite a distinction for twelve people. Clearly, a Sunday commitment to ‘Hymns Ancient & Modern’, consumption of industrial quantities of peppermints and pleasant naps during sermons has a positive effect on longevity.
I had rather looked forward to hearing some Bach motets from your group, but now have learned that guitars, drums and choral Matins is not a marriage made in heaven. All your group lacked was a drum majorette leading the procession up the aisle.
It was quite obvious the music was going to be a little different when I arrived to see that the lectern, Lady Tadcaster’s flower arrangement and the verger had all disappeared behind an amplifier. The only person not disconcerted by this was the verger, who realised it presented an excellent opportunity to do the crossword unobserved during Divine Worship.
Your display of the hymns on a screen was well intended, but did the screen have to be in front of the pulpit? I had to balance on several kneelers to be seen over it, and throughout the sermon could only think of how to look dignified should the whole pile collapse mid-sentence. The lack of hymn books also terrified the congregation – they had nothing to hold, and so resorted to clutching Kleenex or the pew in front of them.
But the worst moment was when the group gave its ‘solo number’. (Couldn’t it have been called an ‘anthem’?) Half way through, dear Mrs Ffitch, who has always been somewhat excitable, felt called to do a spontaneous religious dance down the aisle. The congregation froze in horror. We all avoided catching her eye after the Service, but what do we say when we see her in the village tomorrow morning? Best to simply stay indoors for a few days.
Perhaps your music group could visit us again for our choir’s 2000th anniversary – which I suspect it will consist of the same people, as they are all tenacious of note, opinion and age.
Your loving uncle,