Life at Church, in Law, and at Home
December 13, 1999
“To look at the [photo] album,
you would imagine that these people enjoyed an endless stream
Here it is December, and the last entry in these Chronicles was made in August!! It was fun making that entry, getting the pictures to illustrate it, and fine-tuning the narrative so it might be a good read... although making it took a lot of time. In fact, I had enough time to make it simply because I was on vacation... and fooling with web pages is my idea of a good vacation.
But a big risk looms. Anne Tyler’s novel, Morgan’s Passing, describes a phenomenon which you can see in our home and which might start to happen in this webspace: the photo album seems to have nothing but Christmas and holidays! The result is the portrait of a family which is always celebrating something, or entirely on vacation!
“NO!” was the resounding, spontaneous, and unanimous shout of the folks present at the meeting. One of them explained, “The time for consulting is done; the time for talk is done; now we must act. Press on regardless. If the plan doesn’t work, we’ll regroup!”
So a weekly Sunday event called Welcome to Faith & Prayer was announced, and eventually began on October 31.
Sandwiched between the two regular Sunday services we now have a full-featured parish Sunday School. It has a 20 minute worship service (in which we can try experimental worship, and learn about it), then children go off to Sunday School, teenagers go to Confirmation class (run by my wife, Heather), and I lead a class of adults.
For a parish which is ageing, and where Sunday attendance has been steadily diminishing over the years, it has been exciting to see fifty or sixty people turn out week by week for Sunday School!
The point of the exercise is to give new members a user-friendly environment in which to enter St. George’s. The parish is a bit of an extreme experience if you just show up for the main service: formal liturgy, exquisite music, and enough complex moves of standing, sitting, kneeling, and group recitation to be totally confusing to a newcomer. So the Sunday school makes it easy, and may well build an interest in, and a tolerance for the more solemn and mysterious liturgy.
The preparation time for me, however, is enormous. The amount of time I spend in sermon and lecture preparation is almost six times greater than it was in September.
Not much time for doing websites. But the work is gratifying.
There has been so much variety that most days Heather comes home alive, alert, and full of energy. In this whole year, I don’t remember her dragging herself off to work once.
Things are looking pretty good!
I had to change my “A Priest and his Powerbook” page, because the claims I once made there are no longer valid. I had said, “Everything you see in this website has been done on a greyscale Powerbook 180... ,” and “...my software is totally primitive.” This is no longer true. Making HTML on this computer – using nothing more sophisticated than Netscape Communicator and BBEdit Lite – is a breeze! As for this amazing colour screen.... well, no more wild guesses as to what colour I might be chosing for either text or background!
And the speed – even connecting with an ordinary dialup ISP – is such a relief that I can once again enjoy going out on the web (with my “glacial” 9600 bps modem in the old machine, I had finally given up surfing altogether; too many sites were graphic- and java-intensive)!
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