Liturgy Instruction Video

There is so much to say about this video. The scary oversize puppets around the altar and the white sixty-somethings jigging about to African drums are parts of the mass that you just don’t expect, do you?
Don’t miss the asperges that you can see three minutes in. And the censing of the gospel book that comes just after it.

Oh, its been far too long since we had a Provincial Conference, hasn’t it?


  1. Where can I get those puppets? I just so need them here! More seriously and perhaps bizarrely I actually loved the music in this.

  2. GadgetVicar says

    Kelvin, By publishing this, I hope that you are not announcing your intention to innovate liturgically at the cathedral by not waiting for a Provincial Conference and introducing these practices? Mind you, many small children, and not a few adults, would be terrified by those puppets.

  3. Aaron says

    Oh. Sweet. Holy. Mary. Mother. Of. God.

    This actually manages to make our synod look traditional and tame.

  4. I am not so sure that they were puppets, I couldn’t see any strings, in any event I think they would terrify the Sunday School. I did like the non physical contact sharing of the Peace though, at least I think thats what they were doing.

  5. We’ve done some of that music at St Mary’s.

    The main thing is that the priest was wearing black shoes.

  6. Zebadee says

    Wonderfull. If only we had had this today where we were. Expect nothing less next Sunday at the Cathedral for our visit.

  7. Calum says

    I shouldn’t judge … but what the heck. One thing’s for sure: I bet no thurible has been censed to such jazzy music before.

  8. Gordon says

    I believe that your phrase “you can’t take things too far “ is now redundant!

  9. This is utter bobbins. The singing is appalling and the dancing hilarious if it weren’t so boke-inducing. And I’m being polite because this is a polite, family blog.

  10. Rosemary says

    I think puppets, because you don’t need strings to have puppets – as in glove, finger shadow, etc. I thought I liked puppets – I have long desired to do ‘The Parables of Mr Punch’ and restore the humour and the anger of the parables. But I also have to admit these puppets gave me the creeps.

    I think it was the scale, and the fact they were too big for their internal operatives to manipulate easily enough so they lacked the emotion puppets should convey – ‘War-horse’ horses are big, but have several operatives, and Punch is grotesque but more easily operated, so he has a wider range of gestures available.

    I keep feeling this could have been more than it was.

  11. office manager says

    A recent Moderator of the G A of the C of S tells a story of his early days in a city parish. His good friend, the younger by far of a pair of Roman Catholic priests, was given the job of devising a service suitable for a visiting Bishop. He decided on modernity, and included an episode of liturgical dance. As this latter unfolded, the Bishop, stoical up to this point, leaned close and whispered: “If she asks for your head, she’s getting it.” One can now sympathise.

  12. There is indeed lots one could say. But what struck me is this:

    I have every confidence in the number of creative liturgist we have in the SEC. Imagine what we could do with that congregation’s willingness to take risks, and their genuine joy and energy.

    I would not have like the experience, but I liked the church.

  13. Rosemary says

    That is so true in a number of areas, ain’t it? For a variety of reasons, churches attract the conservative and the terrified. We operate carrying a large number of those who act more as a drag than an anchor.

    Generally of course, people dislike change. The old jumper, the old chair, the familiar operating system – I would have thought I appreciated change more than most, but I found a new house in a new place and more disagreeable work where I knew nobody frequently plunged me into misery.

    And then there is the desire to get it right – the feeling that if we make a mistake in church with holy things God will be especially upset. It is daft, considering the evidence from nature and the Bible on the way God works and is. But we have too much fear.

    How we are to overcome all this, I have no idea. But the real gospel keeps getting lost under a blanket of fear and convention, and I get terribly frustrated.

  14. Sorry, Kimberly, but the words “joy and energy” did not occur to me as I cringed in horror at the palpable embarrassment of these poor old folks as they attempted their calisthenics.
    More like – “take me out and shoot me”. or “Hell will freeze over”
    But it’s good to know that, somewhere in America, hopefully only in America, the 70s are still alive and sort of kicking.

  15. Gilly says

    Was that the peace? or the hokey cokey?

    And was anyone else reminded of Kenny Everett’s Brother Lee Love?

    I’m with Pam, the only people who seemed to have any joy were the dancers and they looked like their’s might have been chemically induced.

  16. Muriel Draper says

    Right on PamB – I am with you – I felt quite sick when I saw the puppet video. I did not understand R. Hannah’s comments on churches attracting the “terrified and conservative”. She further states that “WE carry people who act “more as a drag than an anchor”. These are remarks which would have been better left unsaid.

  17. so, does that mean we can criticize freely the church in the video but may not say anything critical of churches we have known?


  18. Not at all – for a start the comment didn’t relate to the church in the video, just the antics which might well have been a one off.
    I certainly wouldn’t hold it against a church which for (totally hypothetical) example might have hosted a Consecration which included Liturgical Dance with finger cymbals, freely imrovised descants by Betty Pulkingham – I know, I was that person sitting next to her – or the breaking of pottery vessels on a nwly and hideously expensively restored floor.
    As they say, shit happens, and the church moves on.

  19. Gilly says

    Again I find myself in agreement with Pam. If the people in the video had indeed appeared to be full of joy and energy I would have been happy for them and not critical. But all concerned just looked embarrassed. One of the prayers at the end was about dignity and I just saw people who had been robbed of theirs.

  20. Rosemary says

    I am a white haired old lady* – I have spent all of my life as a Christian in Christian churches – more than one denomination, many congregations, some for short and some for long periods of time. In the course of that very mixed experience, I have known many many who were a drag, many more who were terrified. I wish it were not so. I have spent a lot of my time teaching, supporting and helping in an attempt to reduce fear, and enable action. I have worked alongside others, also so occupied. Sometimes, some people have, through the grace of God, been helped to leave fear behind. Sometimes they have not. But, no, I don’t think it is helpful to suggest that this is not the case. I do not think it is helpful to pretend that all is right with everybody in every congregation.

    If you wish to say that St Mary’s is a remarkable unfearfilled congregation – that is fine. I would be inclined to agree. I don’t know everybody in that large congregation well enough to comment further, nor would I comment on one congregation in that way. That was not the point of what I wrote. I believe that what I wrote is GENERALLY true. That churches in general attract numbers of those who are terrified and who are unable to face change. In a sense, it is fair enough. We call for the broken, ‘those in need of a doctor’ and we can hardly complain that we have them, that indeed we ARE them. But there is brokenness and brokenness. Problems are caused by the kind of brokenness which is afraid of being broken and of making mistakes, because without mistakes there can be no learning, and no growth.

    Of course change is difficult and I suggested that I myself also found it so. It is a hard thing and different people get terrified in different places and of different things. But I think you only have to look at the reaction of British churches to a range of issues confronting them to see how deep fear goes. I think that in individual congregations, that would definitely include issues of worship and of vocation.

    (*O.K. The white hair is dyed … )

  21. There is nothing wrong with white hair.


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