March 29, 2005
To round off our Easter celebrations this year we had the Lord Bishop of Gloucester as our preacher for Solemn Evensong on Easter Day. The Bishop is "new" to the Diocese, and he and we are still getting to know each other. He is as different as can be to his predecesso and is already bringing to bear both his considerable abilities as a motivator and organiser and his sense of humour.
Detailed off to be his Chaplain for the evening, I found myself with a set of detailed Rubrics (The Choreography for the service, who goes where, how, and when, and does what, when, and where!) and his books to take care of. How to win fame and make yourself popular - hand the Bishop his book open to the wrong page or upside down - or even better - the wrong book! Anyway, I avoided most of those disasters, but we did have a rapid change of strategy when it was realised that we would have to move the sermon preachment from the Quire lectern to the Pulpit - something not catered for in the Rubrics! Frantic signals disguised as "normal" movements got the attention of the servers, who were better placed to get a message to a Verger. Message conveyed in "Sanctuary Semaphore" (Bet you wondered how we did these things!); the Vergers were alerted and quietly made the necessary preparations. On cue, the Verger appeared and the Bishop was conducted to the Pulpit instead of the Quire Lectern. Unfazed, he preached a stonking sermon!
The service itself was a really fitting end to the Easter feast. It was a real musical feast in both the Setting for the Versicles and Responses (Sunsion in F) and the Setting for the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis (Aston in F) and in the inspired choice of Anthem - "Blessed be the God and Father" by Wesley. Then, to round off the evening's worship we processed around the church to the font with the entire congregation following. Then the Bishop sprinkled water over everyone from the font after calling upon us to renew our Baptismal promises. Standing close at this point means getting a good dose! This done, the procession returned to the Quire and Sanctuary where the Abbey Choir sang the Stamford setting in B Flat of the Te Deum Laudamus.
The congregation of around 200 people, many from as far away as West Wales, left feeling they had really celebrated Easter in style. It was a truly fitting end to our celebration of this great feast, and it is certainly one I will remember in the weeks ahead.
Christ is risen indeed!
Posted by The Gray Monk at March 29, 2005 10:27 AM
Jolly good story, Monk!
Posted by: The Scarlet Manuka at March 29, 2005 08:52 PM