Last Sunday, my friend didn’t join me for coffee after the church service. I wondered why and she sent me her excuse by an email:
“I was sitting next to a 91 year old lady who was visiting the church. She was telling me all about her war service. She was in the women’s RAF and started off building Hurricane fighter planes. Then she was attached to 57 Squadron (Lancaster Bombers) and was in charge of delivering the bombs out onto the airfield and seeing them loaded up into the bomb bays. Her husband flew the Lancaster bombers and survived the war. Her best friend worked on the Dambusters project!”
This story excited me. It looks like the Church of England attracts the most interesting people. It also proves that some people’s viewpoints of the church are possibly wrong. Some people have the perception that church is a boring place with boring, under-achieving people.
I’ve decided that in the future when I get to church early enough, I would:
1) Occupy the pew next to the one and only radiator.
2) Only speak to people with the minimum age of 75, who are more likely to sit on the pew next to the one and only radiator.
It was a very interesting Family Service (all age service) for us. Normally, there was no communion in the all age service on the first Sunday of the month, as it’s to encourage younger people to attend church, for the church to feel modern, casual, less-intimidating, and the all age service tends to be very short — about 45 minutes instead of a normal 80 minute service. Because of that, in the all age service, I’ve learnt that some people would attend another church in the same parish, as taking the communion weekly is a very important ritual in their life. Last Sunday, however, I was surprised that our new, young and energetic priest covered himself in a proper robe (white with gold), and he offered the communion. A lot of people welcome the communion back in the all age service.
While embracing the communion back to the service, the priest also changed the style of the service a bit. He would walk up and down the aisle while talking, and he gave a rather rich and inspiring sermon. I was surprised. He didn’t dilute the sermon simply because it was an all age service. Comparing with a few short speeches (I wouldn’t call them sermons) that I’ve had in a few all age services before, last Sunday, I felt that there was a major change in the way that the all age service was run.
The priest also tried to make the service inclusive and modern. While it’s time for the Lord’s Prayer, I anticipated a calm and reflective five minutes, yet he suddenly played a video on the big screen. The music was loud and fast, played by various instruments, the kind of rock or heavy metal music that normally comes from the bedroom of your neighbour from hell. The visual of this video was about many fast cars driving round and round metropolitan cities. There were flashes of lights, racing cars, high rise buildings in the cities that don’t sleep. This piece of loud music and the images were a big shock to my system — as I didn’t expect the Lord’s Prayer to be so funky. After a few minutes, a man’s voice was heard reading out the Lord’s Prayer from the video.
I hope you’re not bored with my various stories from the church. For me, going to the church in a new country is a cultural, social and of course, religious experience. Everything is done so differently here. I’m the only oriental person in this church and it’s always interesting to find out new little things about the church, such as: “Mmm, I wonder what the priest is going to wear today?”