|St Alban's Abbey basking in the sunlight welcomes me home|
Walking in to the building and up to the Library (more later) I happened to see a couple of the St Francis' faithful with David (AKA the ordinand):
There was an air of uruffled preparedness that only seems to exist in such settings as these; that calm that tells you that somewhere below us (in the basement) the webbed feet that propel such services would have been flapping madly.
Meanwhile upstairs there was an ordered and professional calm as the clergy robed, the scene much like that before any big game:
Those who seek silence and a moments contemplation before the kick-off,
Those who have to dress in the right order so that all is mentally and spiritually in the right place,
Those who, having got into their kit, feel the need to chat or kick their studs against the wall, and of course,
Those who Maradona-like put on their kit and stretch, kick the walls and make a hubbub with their studs before crossing themselves as they run our (sorry, process) onto the pitch (err, I mean Abbey).
Then we were off - into the service which, as ever, featured the splendid choir doing wonderful things with old musical notes that had lingered in that place to bring forth a splendid Sanctus and Benedictus - The Litany (always a joy) and then a sublime sermon from Angela Tilby set the scene for Lichfield escapee, Bishop Alan Smith, to do the deed and like a magician pulling rabbits from a hat, present us with twelve brand new and shiny deacons!
Hallelujah for those who offer themselves to the Church in its service and praise to the Lord for each one of us who fulfils whatever calling it is that we have as believers. This was a time to celebrate new ministries begun and to give thanks for the ministry of the whole church (for we are one - we are family - we work to the one, same, calling).
And then it was over and as I processed out the congregation cheered and clapped (they tend to do that a lot) and I realised the exit of the gladiators was occurring somewhere behind me (phew - getting paranoid there for a moment).
Then it was time for photographs and laughter and relief that it was all over with no deacons harmed in the making of the film. St Francis' had given the Church it's first offering in terms of ordained ministry and we could smile and get off to the party.
And so we were done and after a time of mixing with friends and families (and meeting some I knew from days long gone) we set off for david's new church, a setting somewhat different from the UPA he left:
I'm sure the sun won't always shine there and the skies may not always be blue - but I trust and pray that David, Catherine and the children will find their new home to be a place of blessing and growth, happiness and joy.
And a message to the faithful of Chorleywood - take care of them for they are extremely special people :-)
ps. One of the deepest moments of joy I found in this service was to be in the company of a man whose life and ministry, cutting comments and insightful observation I treasured and valued greatly in my time in the diocese. Thank you Revd Michael Sansom for the many you have guided as DDO and for the many that you still mentor and care for.