Back Off, Church Wine Lady!

Yesterday I did something that was, for me, extraordinary… I went to Church. If you have been reading this blog for a while, you will know that I recently decided to start going to Church – but of course, “deciding” to do something and actually getting around to it, don’t always go hand in hand.

 This time though, I followed up on my decision. I felt a really odd need to express my spirituality. Plus, the Dalai Lama had impressed me with his advice that everyone should embrace the religions of their own culture. Plus, a Muslim taxi driver had told me that “People should go to Church, no matter what their religion. Following a faith is what separates us from the animals – if you do not go to Church, you will become vile”. Wow.  I can’t help thinking though, that only *I* could be convinced to attend a Christian Church by a Buddhist and a Muslim.

Anyway… I chose the Church I went to by a very modern means  – I saw their website and liked it. Hahaha! It all seemed very welcoming and well thought out. The Church was Anglican and a bit “High Church” (in the “modern catholic” tradition), which means it isn’t Roman Catholic but it IS full of ritual, symbolism and formality. Which I want in a Church, I like old-fashioned services. Luckily (is that the word?) I was also baptised into the Church of England – so no conflict there then.

I turned up at Church absolutely terrified. I haven’t been to Church under my own steam before – I’ve always had an ulterior motive (like hearing my Banns called, or attending a funeral, or a wedding). I felt an absolute fraud walking in – I wasn’t really a “proper” Christian, because I hadn’t made my mind up about it at all. And I didn’t know what to do, half the time, whereas everyone else seemed to be crossing themselves and picking up books and stuff automatically. I was impressed that there were so many people there though and they did seem friendly.

I’m not going to bang on about the whole service… Suffice to say, I enjoyed it, Father Stephen was wonderful, I spent a lot of the time like a rabbit caught in the headlights – and holding a large Hymn book, an Order of Service booklet and a lit candle all at the same time, is very bloody difficult.

There was one funny moment during the service though and that was during Holy Communion (not traditionally thought of as a time for comedy, but still). The thing is, I may have been baptised into the C of E but I’ve never been Confirmed. People who haven’t been Confirmed don’t really receive Holy Communion but can go up for a Blessing . I went up for a Blessing and (as the rules dictate) I carried my Order of Service booklet (which is a secret signal that means “Sorry, no Holy Communion for me”). Father Stephen was a bit slow to notice the booklet (until I pulled a face) and almost gave me some wafer. But the lady who followed him with the wine positively IGNORED the booklet, until (in my panic) I thrust it out between us, slightly aloft. By which I mean, I literally drove her back, in the manner of someone repelling a vampire with a crucifix. Hahaha! It must have looked very bizarre.

The congregation had a cup of tea together, after the service, and I apologised to the poor wine lady (who laughed heartily). Somehow I also seem to have agreed to climb up ladders and clean the Church rafters, next Thursday morning…

Hallelujah.

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15 responses to “Back Off, Church Wine Lady!

  1. whatigotsofar

    Some animals have church-like practices. Ever seen a praying mantis?

  2. I thought that you could have the wine if you hadn’t been confirmed, but not if (like me) you hadn’t been baptised?

    I also thought the Sekrit Signal was keeping your hands below the rail. But I haven’t done any of this stuff since I was at boarding-school, and come to think of it I never actually bothered to go up and get blessed…

  3. Driving back the wine lady – how funny! LOL

    I would say, don’t feel like a fraud when you go. Church isn’t only about the already saved – it’s also for the seeking. If you think of it like a doctor’s office, you’ll find that filled with more sick people than well ones. Well one’s don’t usually go to the doctor. ;)

    Good for you for following through on your goal of going. It’s a hard thing to break that inertia!

    • Thanks, it was a bit daunting but the people were very nice. Father Stephen was so kind and really funny too. He had us giggling a few times during the service!

  4. Having grown up in a Methodist church there were no rules as to who can and can’t receive communion.

    It was freely given to anyone who sought it.

    There are a lot of things about these older more formal churches that puzzle me.

    • My religious upbringing is a bit complicated – because I was baptised in a C 0f E church but my Mother was actually a Methodist. My Mum’s Great Uncle was a popular Methodist lay preacher and my Mum was a Sunday School teacher too (before she got married)… But she hated how much time her parents had made her spend in Church and she decided that HER kids were never going to Sunday School, or Church. Heh.

    • splodgenoodles

      Ditto.

      And as an adult, I like the Methodist approach with communion (it’s inclusive and friendly), but I prefer more formal ceremonies otherwise.

      I need to find Methos who wave lots of stuff about.

      I think that taxi driver should get a Nobel Prize.

      • He was a nice bloke. We were discussing religion, because the Mosques around here are so full and the way people dress shows that they observe their religion in daily life. I was bemoaning the fact that Christianity didn’t seem to be having an equivalent effect.

        For me, living in a community who are so actively religious (albeit a different religion to mine) has made me want to express my spiritual side more. So that’s all good.

        And yeah, waving stuff around is cool! Except – when the preist throws water and it goes all over your glasses, is it rude to clean them off?

  5. Don’t feel like a fraud, it’s great that you are going even if you don’t do the right thing at the right time.

    There’s a little old lady at my church. She’s 102 years old and she’s a cradle Catholic, yet she has her book out every week. My guess is she’s trying to keep the priest on his toes.

    • Haha! I met the organist’s Mother, after the servic. She was an ancient Carribbean lady, who introduced herself as MRS (something) – no first names for her. She was immaculately dressed, leaning on a walking stick and informed me that she liked to know what was going on and who was coming to Church. She didn’t actually look at me, apart from a small glance. It was like meeting the Queen!

  6. Cat pictures AND church! Sweet Jesus Apple Pants, when did you become an American?

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