Sunday, 8 April 2007

Back to normality

The frenzy of Holy Week and Easter Day is now over and done, and now it's time for a more considered appraisal of how it all went. I think that clergy view such major celebrations differently from how congregations perceive them. From my point of view I attempt to provide a sequence of services throughout the week that culminate in the traditional liturgies, but for those in the parishes who tend not to move out of their own parochial settings, they see them as simply "we have such and such a service this week". So there is minimal attendance at most of the Holy Week liturgies since they are "not held in our church". The numbers at the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday Compline services can be counted on one hand. Just the officiant and a churchwarden at one church. The Maundy Thursday evening communion - a major feast - saw just 7 people. Good Friday was variable - 7 at the Stations of the Cross, but reasonable numbers at the second and third services, a "free hour" and BCP Evensong respectively. The Easter Ceremonies on Holy Saturday saw about a dozen for the new fire, paschal candle and renewal of baptismal vows liturgies. Yet today, Easter Sunday, saw 40+ at the BCP Holy Communion, and 30+ at the Common Worship Eucharist. This evening's first trial of a "Stations of the Resurrection" attracted just 6 to walk the "Via Lucis".

So over this next week I shall reflect on all this and consider what it is that people want from their Holy Week experience, and what I believe that I, as the parish priest, should be offering.

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