Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Anniversary of something we take for granted

I was grateful to our Reader, Rosie Junemann, who pointed out to me that women were admitted to the office of Reader in the Church of England only as recently as 1969 - and last weekend was the actual anniversary of the event. So Rosie got to preach - read her sermon here as she seeks to do the occasion justice, while also taking in lectionary readings about the baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch and the Vine of which we are the branches.

I say "as recently as 1969" - and then have to recognise that I'm showing my age. 1969 is now as far off today as 1929 was in 1969. And in 1929 my parents were still in nappies. Everything before the late 1950s seems to me a very long time ago. Maybe it was the coincidence of my birth and the dawning of the age of Rock and Roll that's led to my notion of what is "modern." Though of course what is "modern" now dates rapidly - and all the rounds of liturgical revision we've been through in the Church of England show that once "radically-new" liturgies rapidly tire.

I thought of this yesterday at our Archdeaconry Visitation, when our Wardens, Linda and Carol were sworn in. Our Archdeacon first gave a presentation on the up-dated Durham Diocesan Website - very adept too in his use of PowerPoint! Visitation articles which had enquired after parish's use of the Internet had revealed a definite divide between those who used the Web all the time, and those who had no access even to a computer. And there I was thinking that Facebook was out of date except for the over-50s. Archdeacon Ian then went on to give his Charge (and used as its basis the story of the Ethiopian eunuch - aargh!!! twice in two days!). Anyway it was a brave attempt to move people on, and unusually for a Visitation, people seemed to come away stimulated and enthused. Between sending in our own responses to the layout of the diocesan website and the meeting, I've found that already some changes have been made which correspond with comments we'd made. There's responsiveness (if it was a response to us).

But I'm not the best person to comment on state of the art technology. Our Parish Website looks in some respects distinctly old and creaky (one of the reasons why we now use the Blog and links on the right to archived material). Nevertheless it does the business. Even as I've been typing this post up, I've been rung up by The Times, asking me if there are any couples preparing for marriage we'd like to feature on their Register page. I thought you had to live in Knightsbridge for that - and said I wasn't sure we'd fit their socio-economic profile. Ah, but we're trying to widen our reach, was the response. So, I'm thinking about it... "How did you find my contact details?" I asked. "Through your website," was the reply. So... some old things do work.

And if you wonder about the picture at the top of this post, it was taken at the re-launch event of our Drama Group, One in Seven," (named after the average gradient of Church Bank). It was a loving re-visiting (and re-writing) of old radio shows like Round the Horne - barely remembering some from my childhood, I was struck by how much tongue in cheek and innuendo there was... really quite modern!

Our organist, Bill, brought things to a finale with a rendering of old theme tunes. Here he is just before discovering that we really should have had the piano tuned.

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