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May 15, 2007

Mayor making

The things the Abbey gets involved in. Yes, we did host the Mayor Making for the Borough Council, and then a bun fight after in the side aisles. Quite entertaining really when you see the assembled masses of the "Chain Gang" drawn from all the town, Parish and neighbouring Boroughs attending to see the new Mayor installed.

It is on occassions like these that you realise just how much tradition and ceremonial impacts on our lives. After all, you could probably all go to the council chamber and swap seats at the appropriate moment. Everyone there would know who the Mayor was and no one else needs too. Or do they? The fact is that we do like to be able to pick out the mayor, the PM, or Commandant General or the Sovereign in a crowd. And it is important to know that it is the result of an electoral process, that the new mayor swears an oath of office and that the chain of office links him to all the previous mayors. Where the aldermen wear blue robes with black trimmings and the Sergeants at Arms carry maces in front of the Mayor, they wear black and gold with 18th Century cocked hats - and their maces are the signal, when laid on the tabvle in front of the Mayor that the council is now in session. The Mayor himself (or herself!) is decked out in red and black with the chain and a cocked hat of equally impressive proportions and what I do find amusing is that the left wingers are just as pedantic about being properly tricked out as the right.

After all, it is important that the voters and tax payers actually recognise you, the councillor, for what you are - their representative.

Now some may wonder at this all happening in the Abbey itself, well, there is certainly a precedent for it. Tewkesbury got its Town status and charter back in the 1300's - and the North Porch was the first council chamber! Later they used to hold town meetings in the nave. That stopped after the reformnation when the reformers felt that this was improper - and started the separation which afflicts us still with the insistance of separating the church and its building from peoples' daily lives. So it is right and proper that the governors of the Borough should have their installation inside the nave of the Abbey and swear their oath of office and allegiance in these hallowed walls.

The church is about life and living, it should be "in the community" and for the community, not standing aloof. A point well made to several politicians tonight as they found themselves inside the Abbey for something different to the usual funerals and weddings they attend.

It was good too, to have several councillors from Germany with us tonight, peoiple from the Rhine Pfalz and from Bavaria who have civic links with Tewkesbury. They found it to be an unusual and most impressive experience and want to come again for a proper visit and to experience the worship here. God does indeed work in strange and wonderful ways.

Posted by The Gray Monk at May 15, 2007 09:12 PM

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