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Saturday, 16 May 2009

Moving on

Last night I formally handed over the position of Church Warden to my successor. The Archdeacon's "Visitation" saw several hundred other Church Wardens, PCC members and Sidesmen make their "Declaration" and receive the Archdeacon's Charge. Unfortunately for some as yet unknown reason, the sound system failed to make this audible to everyone present and I can only put this down to the user and operator.

The irony is that they didn't use the pulpit microphone, instead choosing to use the lapel microphone, which I suspect was clipped to his robes on the side away from the direction he addressed. If you aren't speaking more or less across the mike - it is hardly fair to blame the equipment. The second problem is that the pulpit has a different acoustic to the floor level. For one thing you are roughly ten feet above the congregation and most visitors try to "speak up' - causing the operator to lower the microphone volume, which means that the echo and the speakers fight each other. And that raises another problem - looking at the average age of those whoc complained they couldn't hear the Archdeacon, and where they were sat, I would suspect that many of them are having hearing difficulties and don't want to admit it. You learn to recognse the symptoms, that slight turning of the head so the 'good' ear is toward the speaker, the watching of the speakers lips, the lean toward the speaker and the slightly raised voice. Wish we could hand out some sort of personal earpiece as they came in ....

The battle to edumacate the users and operators continues....

The Charge apart, the service went very well indeed, superb music, some good singing and good hymns. It always fascinates me to watch a group like this in the Abbey, some are obviously intimidated by the space, some obviously love it, the evangelicals do their thing irrespective and the rest try to follow whichever tradition they think is expected in such services. OK, so that's a bit naughty, I should focus on the service and not the people.

Being Church Warden has been a bit of an education in many ways, some things I have enjoyed and some not. I don't enjoy playing the political games that some people seem to live for. It irritates me to have some individuals on any committee who have entirely their own agenda and try to run it against everyone else. Frequently, when they don't get their way, they adopt tactics intended to undermine everyone and everything they regard as standing in the way of their objectives. And sometimes it gets quite unpleasant. On the upside, having access to the Abbey's hidden spaces and having charge of its maintenance has been a huge privilege, one I will miss. As I will miss the ability to meet visitors and show them some of the little hidden things that bring the past and the builders to life.

But its time to move on, to find a new ministry I can exercise in this place. I can't believe the last four years have passed so swiftly. Tempus does indeed fugit .....

1 comment:

  1. Sorry to have missed you on Saturday. Plans changed and that brought the GF to Tewkesbury... but GF enjoyed his time wandering around the Abbey (and having dinner at Aubergine)