Tag Archives: disorganized religion

If You Don’t Like Organized Religion. . .

21 Jul

. . . I know just the place for you. We have often joked that Resurrection is just the right church! This morning a case in point.

Our rector is on vacation, and we have a lovely lady filling in for these three weeks. Whenever you have a supply priest, things are a bit “off” simply because everybody has their own way of doing things. Most clergy consume any wine left after everyone has had communion, but she leaves it for the Altar Guild to dispose of. When you don’t eat breakfast on Sunday, this can be a serious problem!

So – today not only was our rector was away, but our organist was also on vacation. Mother Sue was here, but the fellow who was supposed to play the piano was nowhere to be found. The Squire called him, and learned the man was ill. C’mon! You’re not too sick to use the phone, are you? So Mother Sue played the piano in the back of the church, and I processed up the aisle by myself.  When the first hymn was over, she hustled up the side aisle, picked up her Prayer Book and started the service.

When it was time for the Gradual hymn – a bit of “traveling music” before and after the Gospel – she dashed to the back again and told me to bring the Gospel Book down the  center aisle. I couldn’t find it. I looked on the altar where it belonged, glanced over where she had been sitting during the service and then sort of did a “Moses in the wilderness” thing until I spotted a member of the choir desperately pointing to the table where we place the bread and wine for the ushers to bring up. No idea why it was there and Sue didn’t remember putting it there, either.

At least some dear soul in the congregation started the Doxology for us, and we managed to sing the last hymn without any music.

Oh! One of the ushers turned around and started back to his seat without getting the communion rail in place. The other fellow grabbed him by the shirt and turned him around.

The Gospel lesson today was about Mary and Martha, and trying to multiple-task. Yes, Lord. We’ve got that part down pat. Amateur hour. Has anybody here ever done this before?


Amateur Hour

3 Apr

Doubting Thomas

We have finally gotten all of the painting squared away, and went down to Lowe’s last Monday to select the carpeting for the guest room. I’ll tell you, if ever there was an outfit where the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing, this is the place. We looked over several selections, and then paid a deposit to take home a board of samples. We had gotten a “guesstament” from the salesman, and he had told us we could simply call the store and make the deposit on the carpet over the phone.

Nothing doing. The woman at the desk said we had to come in and do it in person. “We’re not allowed to take credit card information over the phone.” Since The Squire was going in that direction on Thursday anyway, he stopped and took care of it. We went back on Friday evening to settle things, and arrange for somebody to come measure the room. When the man came, he was quite pleased that the tacking strips were still in place from the previous carpet, which he said would save us some money. I pointed out that we simply did not have space to move the TV, but if the installers would do the upper part of the room, my husband and I would move the set ourselves to that side, while the men did the lower part. OK.

When we went in to sign the final contract, we were being charged both $75 for tacking strips and $50 to move the TV.  Needless to say, The Squire was not pleased. We had also received a $25 gift certificate in the mail, but we were told it could only be used for merchandize; it couldn’t be used to pay on a contract. Well, the contract was for merchandize, but that didn’t fly. It ended up with the manager giving us a new $25 gift card to spend on whatever we wished, and he “discounted” the contract by $25.

Yeesh. The Squire was ready to go to Home Depot, but that would have meant starting all over, with no guarantee things would be any better.

Things at church have been a bit confusing. (What else is new?) I was under the impression that one person was doing the Rota, and it was another person entirely. Since people still come to me with questions, I’m sort of caught in the middle. We have not had a newsletter since last April, and the website is “wonky”, so quite often people don’t know they are on until the pick up the bulletin in the narthex.

Today, the person who  was to be crucifer became ill.  I was assigned to assist at the altar, so she called another member to carry the cross in the procession. The gal she called is the shortest woman in the congregation, and Dulcie simply isn’t capable of carrying that cross, so I said I’d do it if she’d take the altar for me. Fair enough, except that Dulcie had a sore throat and didn’t want to read the Epistle. OK, I’d read both the Psalm (part of the crucifer’s job) and then cross the sanctuary and do the Epistle. I had gotten as far as the altar when another member of the church came up to the lectern, and since she is also a reader I figured she was going to do it, so I turned around and returned to my seat.

Except that Christine wasn’t going to read; she had a question about the Power Point, and she turned to her seat at the same time I did. Of course, I had my back to her at that point, and didn’t know she’d left. By that stage of the game, Dulcie decided the Epistle was only a few verses, and she might as well do it. Do-si-do, and allemande right!

Amateur Hour. Has anybody here ever done this before?

Disorganized Religion

30 Mar

Running late. If I don’t get this stuff on-line before 8:00, it shows up as the next day, but trust me, it’s Sunday. A very confusing Sunday.

Some time ago, the three local churches – Presbyterian, Roman, and Episcopal – had decided to have an ecumenical Palm Sunday “opening” at the Presbyterian church, since it is the most centrally located. Our services begin at 10:00, but the other two don’t start until 11:00, so this event was scheduled for 10:45, to give folks time to get back “home”.

The details were announced in church last Sunday, but folks forget, and a lot of people come to Palm Sunday and Easter who don’t normally attend every week, and even those who heard the announcement probably didn’t all remember it. There was a large write-up in the newsletter, but unfortunately, the rector did not get his article to me until Saturday morning. I had the thing on-line before noon, but that didn’t give the congregation time to “read, learn and inwardly digest” before they went to bed.

Palm Sunday

So we had some people coming in at 9:45 as usual, and none to happy about having to wait an hour, but willing to ride over to Good Shepherd to see how this was going to work. Considering that is was a bit nippier than expected for this time of year, and the service was outside, we had a fair turnout. (I’m the redhead in the alb, “straight down the middle”, and no, I did not plan it that way.) The three clergy read portions of the service, the Presbyterian minister, who has a fabulous voice, lead us in All Glory, Laud, and Honor, and we dispersed to our home parishes.

Because of the crowd, we had planned on two Chalicists, myself and the white haired gentleman standing next to me, but we discovered the Altar Guild had only put out one cup. Trying to do signals to get somebody to go to the sacristy, which is in the back of the church, to get the other chalice, short of waving our arms and yelling “yoo, hoo”, but finally Ken just backed off and let me do it by myself.  When the head of the Altar Guild came up for Communion she whispered to me, “Did you need something?” “Yes – another chalice.” “Oh. Well. Too late now.” Hmmm.

It Must be the Weather

28 Jul

In our parish, the announcements are made from the pulpit before the service starts, rather than after the Peace, which seems to be the custom in many parishes.

The last two weeks, after finishing the announcements, the rector has said, “Let us with gladness present our offerings and oblations unto the Lord.” Even he admits he has no idea why that particular phrase pops into his mind.

Yesterday, The Squire and the other usher brought up the wine and bread (the offerings and oblations), turned and put up the Communion rail – normally done when they return the collection to the altar – and then started back down the aisle, without the offering plates. About a third of the way down, one of the members of the congregation grabbed The Squire by the arm and whispered “the plates“, without adding “you dummy”, I might add. He actually had to whistle for the other usher, who was high-tailing it back to his pew.  When they returned the plates following the offertory, they bypassed the crucifer and put the plates directly on the side table. I have no idea what either of them were thinking.

The Squire has only been the head usher at our church for, oh maybe, thirty years.

Pentecost – And a Rough Night

8 Jun

Our annual Pentecost service is probably unique in all the world. We have a rather small congregation, but we have folks from all over the globe. The Prayer Book Service is printed out in one column, and the spoken words – Swahili, Polish, Japanese, etc. – and printed beside them.

Today’s opening collect was done in French, and then the woman who was to read the Epistle in Japanese flipped over two pages in the booklet and took the lectern.  I could see Fr. Matthew’s head bob around, and I knew he was looking for me, so I walked up the side aisle, and pointed out we’d missed the first two lessons, and did he really want me to sing now? (Organized religion is not our strong suit.)

Ah! So we had part of the First Lesson in Swahili, and then second half in Hindi, and then I climbed aboard and sang the Gradual Hymn in Cherokee. I’ve done Amazing Grace several times, and the last two years it was Just as I Am, so today I chose Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah. None of these are particularly “Pentecost-ish” but my hymnal is very thin, and it’s a case of take what’s there or do without, and I am NOT good enough to do my own translations. The Gospel was read in Chinese, and on a whim, Fr. M decided to do the Prayer of Consecration in Latin.

The Lord’s Prayer was done in a sort of unison, with those who could speak a second language doing their own thing, while the rest of us said it in English. Snatches of Danish, Syrian-Arabic, German floated around us. I wonder how God keeps it all straight. The closing prayer was read in Spanish.

And then we came home and took a nap.

Last night, our next door neighbors had the first of what is probably going to be several summer karaoke parties. We do not have central air, so we had the room closed and the window unit buzzing. The Squire is deaf as a post, and I generally sleep like the dead.

The noise woke us up. It was 1 AM.

I went down stairs and tried to call their house, but everybody was in the yard, so I ended up calling the police. I had stepped out onto the patio so the operator could get the full benefit of this serenade, and she said they would send somebody out. The county noise curfew is 11 PM, and a member of this clan is a retired police officer, so there’s no excuse for this sort of nonsense.

Do not mess with me when I am tired.