Well, that’s yet another trial service under my belt. I now have a preach-free month to luxuriate in (and try and get back into my studying somehow) before the next batch of three services including another trial.
This morning was lovely, actually. For a start, the service didn’t start until 11 which meant I had an unaccustomed lie in. Then it’s in a little church on the other side of the Island, a beautiful drive through woods and country lanes, with the most stunning view of the sea right across to England on the other side. The design of the 100-year-old church is such that when you stand at the front, the building seems to hug you and smile at you. I know that sounds odd, but it really is the only way to describe it. And the elderly and rather diminished congregation of 9 were incredibly welcoming, supportive and appreciative. Another delight was that, for the first time since I’ve been preaching, I took my Smudgelets with me and they helped me by doing two readings and a sketch, much to the delight of the congregation who mourn the lack of children in their church (they selflessly encouraged all their children to boost the Sunday School at the local Anglican church).
My biggest worry, as always, was the timing. I was fairly confident that I’d planned about an hour’s worth but you never can tell, can you, especially as you don’t know what might happen to lengthen or shorten it (e.g. the organist starting to play a familiar hymn to a totally unknown tune and having to be stopped half way through the first verse and educated in the ways of methodism!). I don’t tend to wear a watch – I think it’s because of my dermographia – so I was a bit taken aback to discover there wasn’t a clock in my line of sight. Quick and desperate arrow prayer “Dear God, please don’t let me overrun by too much”!
The service began. My boys did me proud and the sermons were well received. We managed the hymns remarkably well considering the small number of people gathered there… and I remembered to move away from the microphone for the bits that were too high for me to sing with any degree of confidence!!! The service progressed, and eventually I reached the final prayer and we all joined together to say the Grace. Then I sat myself down in the front pew as the church fell silent…… and with impressive timing, the church clock on the Anglican church opposite began to chime twelve, the first stroke just on the final syllable of our last Amen! How perfect was that???!!!
The afternoon continued perfect – the boys and I went, still attired in Sunday best, straight on to Fort Victoria which is one of our favourite places. We had lunch then bought a kite. Not that it was windy enough for a kite, as we soon found out, but it was fun trying! We sat in the sun and ate expensive and extravagent icecreams (oooooh, clotted cream icecream….. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!) , and were fascinated when someone from the planetarium invited us to look through a telescope with a special filter which allowed you to look straight at the sun. There was a sunspot on there – a tiny speck of black on this huge orange orb – which were were absolutely amazed to learn was seven times the size of earth!
And you’ll never guess what…. I’ve nearly run out of ironing!