Guest blogger, The Rev’d Humphrey Blytherington, Vicar of St Hilda’s Little Snoring and All Saints’, Great Snoring weighs in on matters Anglican…

I was down at the Goose and Garter enjoying a sausage roll and a half pint of lager shandy with Mrs Vicar the other evening when, Josephine, one of the ladies from the Mother’s Union happened along and asked Daphne whether she would help with the flowers for the new-fangled thingamebob service that Lavinia, the lady curate over at St Etheldreda’s was laying on.
She said it was all part of a new project by our Archbishop Dr. Williams. “You mean Animal,” I chuckled. That’s our pet name for the dear old ABC ever since little Geoffrey our grandson noticed his likeness to the orange muppet who plays the drums on that charming programme on the telly.
Anyway, it seems that this new project is called ‘Fresh Expressions’. Lavinia, (or ‘Rev Lav’ as the young folk call her) has got all sorts of super ideas for livening up the services at St Etheldreda’s to draw in the young. She’s got the lads from the youth group to pull out the pews and put in some sort of thingies for skateboarding in church. She’s borrowed the sound system from Arthur Sykes down at the Spit and Sawdust. He says they don’t use it for carry ok (or something like that) on Sundays and she might as well use it at church. She’s got the choir singing hip hop versions of Gregorian chant and apparently some of the girls from a dance troupe over in Swindon are putting together a little routine to be used instead of the Scripture reading. They’ve even taken a name for their group: Salome’s Sisters.
Sounds jolly attractive to me! I’m sure the boys will be there in droves. Now some people are naysaying the whole enterprise, but that’s always been the case. They say it’s just another gimmick that will be here today and gone tomorrow. Some have even said the new services will be all form and no content. Imagine anyone accusing the Church of England of such a thing! Well, I must say I’m not one of the spoil sports. I’m always in favor of giving the young a chance. I’ve run the odd youth club in my day, and even won the skittles tournament one year!
Lavinia and her friend Georgie are doing a smashing job reaching out to the young. I must admit they’ve got some unusual ideas about politics and keep talking about ‘gender equality’ whatever that is, but can it do any harm if they happen to understand the current lingo? Not in my book. Daphne grumbled that they never mention the ‘Father, Son and Holy Spirit over at St Etheldreda’s anymore, but what harm can it do if the youth want to experiment with the words of worship a bit? We used to sing ‘Bind Us Together’ and ‘Kumbayah’ and it didn’t do anyone any harm.
Josephine wanted Daphne to help with the ‘flower’ arrangement. Apparently it’s meant to be made not of flowers but soft drink cans cut up and wired together. Supposed to be supporting re-cycling and other good causes. I can’t see that there’s any harm in it, as long as Daphne wears gloves. I must say, I do think Canon Huffington-Post was right to discourage Lavinia’s idea of him going up in a hot air balloon to celebrate Ascension.
The idea sounds jolly good fun, but there would be too many jokes about Vicars and hot air, and the Canon already endures a fair bit of ribbing about being ‘a ‘big shot’.