Ash W

Last night’s Ash Wednesday service was slightly out of the ordinary. At five minutes to go, there were 8 in the congregation. This leads to the priest coughing and spluttering and wishing that he has not given up cursing for Lent.

Of course, these 8 were distributed evenly from the front to the back of the church. So, I decided to move everyone up to the sanctuary so that we could all sit together. Cue much moving of furniture. We settled down and started to sing the first hymn. Someone else arrived. We now have the choir, the congregation and the celebrant sitting cosily around the altar in the sanctuary with no spare chairs.

During the singing of the kyrie, a bunch of American students arrived. Cue much more furniture removal. The choir managed to sing the kyrie whilst passing chairs over their heads – by far the strangest kyrie in Christendom. If it ever happens again, it could become a fabulous tradition that people would travel from far and wide to witness.

We settled again, though by now I had discovered that I had the chair with the seat full of air which makes a funny noise when you sit on it. "Blow the trumpet in Zion" as the prophet said in the first reading. 

During the litany of repentance, I managed to repent of not believing that anyone was going to turn up. 

In the end, there were 25 of us receiving ashes and communion, which, when added to those who came earlier in the day was only 2 short of the world record attendence for Ash Wednesday at St Saviour’s. Both turned out to be lovely services and our pilgrimage towards Jerusalem is now well underway.

Lent isn’t supposed to be miserable you know. 


  1. Lent has never been miserable with you – as you’ve said on many occasions, you don’t do boring services!  I’ve learned to expect the unexpected

  2. Christopher says

    Maybe you should have left the 8 people sitting where they were in the first place. Moving chairs during a Kyrie is, as you suggest, a little against the grain…

  3. Anonymous says

    I suppose that begs the question as to the best time during the liturgy for the choir to pass chairs over their heads…

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