Pontifical High Evensnow

Well, last night’s evening service was a delight, if an unexpected one.

Earlier in the day in the face of all the snow and a heating system that had not come on overnight, leaving the church freezing, a decision was taken to postpone the Advent Carol Service until next Sunday evening. However, it was obvious that one or two folk would not get that message and turn up last night anyway. So, what to do with them?

A nifty service of Sung Evensong (Evensnow?) for Advent Sunday was hastily prepared and printed out in the afternoon. How many copies to print, I wondered. I decided to print thirty, just in case. In the end, that’s almost exactly how many turned up – thirty people and a poodle. (The poodle didn’t need a service sheet, or at least shared one for the bits she did need).

Bishop Gregor was with us, which was lovely and he stood with me at the front as I led the service from the portable organ. The heating had managed to warm us a little and “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” was never more heartfully sung.

I gather at least one other local church shut up shop for the evening, and our numbers were swelled by one or two who would otherwise have been going around the corner.

All in all, it was a good though unexpected end to an unexpected day.

Biretta Watch – Snowy Day

biretta5Anyone who has read my 100 things knows that I wear a biretta when it is snowy. People sometimes ask me why. I tell them that it is to keep my head warm. This makes them laugh though I find it hard to understand why. People sometimes ask me whether I know how ridiculous it makes me look. I reply that I do, but am conscious of how much more ridiculous any other hat would look on top of a priest in vestments and ask whether they had thought of that. The answer is usually more hilarity.

I’m fairly sure that I have not given more pleasure to the world this year, than by the simple act of donning that hat on Sunday morning to welcome the faithful. Certainly, members of the choir, which included the young trebles this week, were particulary thrilled to see it.

There is now some debate about what colour my pom-pom should be going on on facebook. Magisterial Purple vs Canon’s Red are the two liturgical options, but I was taken by the suggestion that I should sport a white pom, to represent the snow.

Biretta wearing (in snow or in sunshine) does seem to me to be an inherrantly missional part of the clerical task. It binds the community and draws people ever closer in.


Further Biretta coverage here, here and here.