The Carol service at a packed St Cuthbert’s

Tom Winnifrith Monday 17 December 2018


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I have never seen our local church in this unfashionable bit of Bristol look this way. That is to say full. But it was packed with more than a hundred souls last night for carols by candlelight. It was all rather touching. As I belted out some of the old favourites in my own tone deaf way and as Joshua ran around misbehaving it felt like Christmas had actually begun. The story almost came to life. I did feel a sort of bond with my fellow worshippers – ordinary folk, shepherds not kings.

In part the place was packed as we were joined by the flock from the sister church of St Anne’s. In part as this was a service for children, all far better behaved than Joshua.

Lefty vicar Ian started, as you would expect, with an elf n safey warning about candles. He had ensured that buckets of water were placed by the walls lest an accident occur with one of the candles we were each given. Joshua was a bit disappointed that he was not allowed to hold our candle so headed straight for the nearest bucket of water before the Mrs intervened and led him off to make a complete mess of the child’s play area. Discussions about whether we could go with him to Midnight Mass continue.

Ian was on sparkling form. For once in his life he managed to avoid mentioning the poor Palestinians and their oppression by you know who. I did not have to bite my lip this time. Being the CofE there were the usual ritual mumblings by Priest and Parishioners notably the modern version of the Lord’s Prayer which still sounds all wrong to me. Thine is the Kingdom is right. The Kingdom is Yours sounds wrong.  There was also the now traditional message from the Pulpit about how Jesus was a refugee and how we should think about other refugees at this time of year, blah, blah, blah.

But it was mostly readings and carols – the Christmas story in full. I came away feeling as if it really was Christmas and almost able to wish joy to my fellow man. For me that is a major step forward on my normal mood, soured as it is by writing all day about the multiple sins that take place in the world of finance.

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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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