Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Christmas in retrospect - and the blessing

Looking back over another snowy Christmas, there were lots of decisions and changes but most things seem to have gone very well. The Christmas Eve Midnight Communion, which we decided this year to move 30 minutes earlier to 11:00pm so that people were not too late getting home, was moved to the Roman Catholic Church, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in Great Missenden. Father Tim was very supportive when we asked him. However, we had to move back again to 11:30 as there was another service at 10:00 pm. Access to the Church was much safer than the road up to St Peter & St Paul, particularly in the dark. The team brought all the necessary kit down in time, although we only just found the service booklets in time. We used the local hymn books - they have over 600 hymns!  I found the service in the 1960s building quite inspirational. Very different, of course, from mediaeval architecture. The roof in IHM slopes upwards towards the altar - very much the opposite to the rather confined feeling of older chancels. I noticed that IHM doesn’t point to the East - I guess this was to make the most of the site.

Earlier on Christmas Eve, the Crib Service had been moved to the school. I didn’t attend this but the reports were very positive and the photos I’ve seen looked great. I hear the star was Rosie’s granddaughter. The snow around the school had to be cleared in time for the service: a few phone calls rounded up a gang of helpers at very short notice - thanks!

The early Christmas Day Communion was moved to the Oldham Hall and Bishop Alan took the service. Again, I didn’t make it. Margaret managed her communion kit again for this service. The Christmas Communion was held in St Peter & St Paul and was well attended by nearly 300 worshippers. We had a team of car parkers (actually non-car parkers) preventing cars driving up to Church where the parking was very limited. But everyone had heeded the warning and lots of people parked in the village and walked up in good time. We had e-mailed and phoned round as many people as possible and I’m sure this helped. Several people thanked me for the phone calls.

We decided to hold the Sunday service up at the Church as the access was improving all the time. By Tuesday, we were able to clear enough of the carpark for guests at the wedding blessing of Dalisay and Bryan.

Earlier in the Christmas season the concerts of the Great Missenden Choral Society and the Roald Dahl Foundation had to be cancelled. Although we weren’t directly involved in these, we were sorry that these two events which we were to host were not able to continue. There’s much talk about people being risk-averse these days but I don’t think any of our changes or cancellations were inappropriate. I think some people were unhappy about the changes but I enjoyed them - but I guess I’m much more used to change, having worked for so many years in a very dynamic environment.

A very big ‘thank you’ is due to everyone who helped with such an eventful few weeks. And it’s not over yet: we plan to hold the cancelled 9 lessons and carols service, complete with mulled wine and mince pies on Epiphany - 6:00pm on Sunday 2nd January.

Our family Christmas was fun but uneventful. We are having a few days of peace before they all descend on us again for new year. We can see the carpet again now it’s free of lego!

The sun came out on Sunday allowing us a little time to play in the snow and take some more pictures of the beauty of Little Hampden.

No comments: