So, another year since the last carol service. Time flies by… and other cliches.
Yesterday evening we staged our Carols by Candlelight service.
- About 10 zillion candelas of tealights around the church.
- Extra seats humped and lumped from church hall into church.
- Crucifix and candlesticks Brasso’ed to oblivion
- Four brand new lighters tested and then used in order to light all the candles.
(It takes four people twenty minutes to light all the candles. Doubtless by having all the candles and standing room only, we are in breach of German fire regulations.) Last year we had 150 people turn up. Yesterday… 232. Result! Where two (hundred and thirty-two) or more are gathered…
This year Schatz came along, together with her parents. To use a British Army expression, rank has its privilege. I had placed handwritten “Reserved” signs on the seats in the first two rows, including three for Schatz and her parents. Being German, they arrived rechtzeitig . I showed them to their seats an hour before the service was due to start. They sit and listen to the choir rehearsing, while various church members whizz around, lighting candles, folding service sheets, setting up PowerPoint slides, checking the lectern light and much, mouch more.
(Think of the webbed feet under a duck floating across a pond, and you have the right idea.) Or the Seven P’s…
- and Planning
Nine carols, nine readings, one of which of each is in German. I look over my shoulder. The first verse in English, the rest in German. Schatz, Mamalein and Papi are all singing in German. They look reasonably happy.
Phew! Praaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaise yeeeeeeeeeeee the Lord! (It is right to give thanks and praise.)
The pre-service briefing for Germans not used to the Anglican tradition had worked.
Points to note for first-timers to an Anglican service.
- Anglicans stand to sing. It’s better for projection. The German sit to sing.
- Anglicans sit or kneel to pray. The Germans stand to pray.
- As a rule of thumb, most Anglicans don’t genuflect, although some do.
- No, the crucifix is not back to front. Generally, Protestant crucifixes tend not to have the body of Christ on it. Protestantism tends to emphasise the resurrection over the death on the cross.
In fact, come to think of it, I think all Brits, regardless of denomication stand and sit/kneel like Anglicans. (But British Catholics genuflect quite a lot.)
One interesting observation came from Schatz’ mum, was how impressed she was that the congregation in Anglicanism takes a much more active part in a service than would be the case in Roman Catholicism. (Now, why did my voice automatically put on a Belfast accent?) All the nine lessons were read by members of the congregation. The chaplain preached and blessed and the “vicary” things.
Afterwards abundant relief that Schatz and her parents enjoyed the service.
Come to church. The food is delicious, the service is even better!
Have festive day, won’t you!