Well, all my worries were for naught. Things calmed down and the lights stayed on, though as Fr. Daniel notes on his blog
, Douglas Firs, High Winds & Power Lines: Do Not Mix
. Things were so bad that on the way home Christmas Eve I saw a power crew out in the dark working to restore power, and Sunday I saw trucks from Alaska ("Arctic Power") and Pennsylvania(!!) in our area. Say a prayer for those who gave up their Christmas to bring an, um, brighter Christmas to many others.
In any event, one big feature of last night's services was "all the visitors!" People invited friends, others found us through the website, and one soul called trying to find an REC (Reformed Episcopal) church in the area. I am pretty sure the church he was looking for is gone; one of its members has been worshipping with us for... months? A year? We finally figured out that St. Bartholomew's was not the church he'd visited last Christmas, but we fit the bill as far as being a church that uses the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. If this fellow came last night I hope he wasn't disappointed; our service is not as "protestant" as my understanding of the REC suggests, though it is solidly 1928 BCP.
Interestingly, it appears we had a couple of visitors at Midnight Mass who are REC. (One of them I know is not the aforementioned fellow, but I didn't have a chance to talk with the other.)
Beyond that we had three persons/families make the drive up from Kent, WA. It's a bit of a drive from Kent to get here, even on a Sunday morning, though we've had members come from further and we have faithful regulars driving down a similar or greater distance from Marysville.
But above all that were the utterances "It's just like..." we heard last evening.
One such came from a member of a group who attended the 11 P.M. service. I am told they group looked a little surprised at first, then a little teary (or maybe just very jet-lagged), but they quickly got into the program. For example, the response to "The Lord be with you" is not the modern "And also with you" but the more Cranmerian "And with thy spirit"; I am told only one used the former, and that only once. Asked after the service, this member of the group said, "It's just like our church at home." "And where is home?" "England." Your tradition lives on, even here in the strange land called the Pacific Northwest...
Another came from an Episcopalian visiting from the Dakotas. She remarked, "It's just like it used to be," referring to our 1928 BCP service. Many of us who grew up with the 1928 BCP and then used the Episcopal 1979 book stumble when we first re-encounter the 1928, but then it brings back old memories and some of us become aware that the two books are not the same at all. And as regards the beauty of the service, I remember two visitors from Pennsylvania last Christmas Eve: one had visited the previous week, and she told her friend, "Didn't I tell you? It's just like the service used to be."
The final "It's just like..." surprised me, but chalk this up to my ignorance. One of our parishioners brought a boarder to the service. I wasn't sure sure what it was, but his face was beaming by the end of the service. Somebody was told he is Syrian and he reportedly said It's a lot like our liturgy," referring to the service. Maybe somebody who knows more can comment.
For my part I will say Fr. Daniel arranged a splendid series of four services within 24 hours, and anyone who missed out on any one of these missed out on a lot. We've had other wonderful and memorable Christmases in the past but this one, it's nothing like them.
Thank you, Fr. Daniel, and please take some well-deserved rest!
Other thanks go to Josephine for the excellent organ (and this morning's service's postlude fireworks -- WOW!!) and to Kathy for the gentle harp.