The Sunday service ..Dr Johnson would not have been surprised

Tom Winnifrith Monday 2 April 2018


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I shall not name the Parish as that would be unfair on a female vicar who was enthusiastic and welcoming and on a large congregation of good folk but the service we attended on Easter Sunday morning was not one for the traditionalists, that is to say me. Dr Johnson would, no doubt, have viewed it as evidence that his famous bon mot on a women preaching was bang on the money.

I suppose I should have been alerted when, upon entry, we were presented with no hymn books or order of service, for everything we had to sing or say appeared on screens throughout the church. Seeing the screens excited Joshua who had immediately said "Peppa" very loudly but was somewhat disappointed when his porcine heroine failed to appear.

When I told my father that the service included a short drama session depicting the resurrection he knew which way this was heading. We had already had the same story relayed to us via the gospel (not KJV but a rather newer version) so why do we need it a second time? It is the way parts of the CofE try to "get down with the kids" and relate to "a younger audience".

In the same vein the vicar's sermon managed to include the theme music from EastEnders and also a cartoon flashed up on our screens of some folks in a swimming pool which the vicar used as a metaphor for faith. In front of us a mother, with kids dressed in the sort of home made wooly jumpers designed to get them beaten up at school but so beloved of the sort of middle class Christians who raise their hands to the Lord during hymns, nodded approvingly.

The folks in the congregation were welcoming and did not mind Joshua running around happily once he realised that Peppa was not appearing on screen. They are far better people than I can hope to be and I am sure far less judgemental, except when it comes to LGBT issues (pro), Brexit ( anti), capitalism (evil) global warming denial (akin to holocaust denial), Israel (the bad guys) and other things on which the CofE tends to be utterly judgemental.

It is just that, like my father, I find the attempts of the CofE to "relate" to a 21st Century audience just a but of a turn-off.

The Mrs says that is because my world view is from the nineteenth, not even the twentieth, century. Heck, I reply, the nineteenth century was not all bad and she gives me a Paddington stare.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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