Guest blogger, The Rev’d Humphrey Blytherington is Vicar of St Hilda’s, Little Snoring with All Saints, Great Snoring. He is a graduate of Plymouth University. He completed his studies for the ministry at Latimer Hall, Durham. He is married to Daphne and enjoys home brewing, model railroading and is an avid member of the Great Snoring Morris Dancers.

Well, thank you very much indeed Nigel, how very kind of you to remember my favorite tipple is a half of lager shandy. I don’t mind if I do. Very kind. Very kind. Thank you so much. You know I rather missed you chaps too don’t you know? I am sorry that you didn’t get on so very well with Lavinia. She’s not all bad you know; a bit passionate about her various causes of course, but not a bad egg.

Yes, it was rather splendid to be back in the parish for Easter Day, and wasn’t the Sunday School good to lay on such a delightful welcome back party for myself and Daphne? Splendid, just splendid, and an Easter egg hunt in the churchyard to top it all! I’m rather partial to the odd Cadbury’s cream egg myself you know, and it’s not unknown for quite a few of them to go down the hatch in the vicarage once Lent’s over.

Yes, it was difficult being away for those weeks, but I’m sure Lavinia held the fort in my absence. I understand she experimented with a few things, but don’t you worry– Mr Thornton has agreed to return as Vicar’s Warden and we’ll be putting the lady chapel back as it was. I think Lavinia’s display on wimmin’s issues in the third world has just about reached the end of it’s usefulness don’t you? I understand one of the cacti in the Lenten desert scene injured Mrs. Higginbottom in a sensitive place when she bent over to clean the floor, so happily the whole thing has been put out for the dustman.

What’s that Ian? News of Mrs Vicar? I’m pleased to say that Daphne’s cousin in Lancashire has made a full recovery, and one of the reasons we arrived last minute is that I was honored to attend a delightful service in the Roman Catholic Church there in Lancashire on Saturday night. They call it the Easter Vigil and I believe Fr. Giles  over at St Barnabas often observes similar rituals.

I hadn’t been to a service like this before, and I must say I found it all rather moving. They light a fire outside the church, then process into the darkened church with a jolly huge candle while one of the fellows sing out, “The Light of Christ!” Jolly impressive I’d say! The whole thing goes on much longer than our usual Evensong, and they have a couple of baptisms and bring folks into their church who want to join. Not dis similar I think from the way they did it in the early church if my memory of Canon Farnsworth’s church history lectures serves me well.

You probably heard by now that Daphne was one of the ones being ‘received into full communion’ as they like to call it these days. Of course, I was upset with her decision to start with, but once I thought it through I realized that we’re all Catholics anyway, and if it’s important to her to be a Roman Catholic why should I worry?

Of course I have to admit I took it all rather personally at first, but dear old Daff explained it quite simply and said it wasn’t a matter of her not liking my sermons. She has always been fond of my sermons and she said there was an awful lot about the C of E she’d miss, but my sermons were top of the list. She also said that although she’d have to go to Mass down at Immaculate Conception with Fr. McGready she’d always make it a point to attend Evensong at All Saints with all of us, and she can still run the Mother’s Union and organize the flower arranging rota, and of course she’ll remain captain of the bell ringers.

So all’s not quite so dramatic as some of the folks have been putting about the parish. End of the story is that I rather respect Daphne for sticking up for herself. She’s always had quite a bit of ‘oomph’ if you know what I mean, and if she wants to worship the Lord in her way I don’t want to stand in her way. I still don’t see why she has to kiss the Pope’s toe and worship Mary and all that pagan palaver, but if it pleases her, I can’t see there’s any harm in it.

Who knows, she might just convince a few more of us to light some extra candles now and again.