The Bishop's Visit
I was prepared and honored to serve as Bishop's Chaplain (assisting him as needed with his Crozier, Miter, Cope and so on), I knew the Girls' Choir would be singing, and of course there would be the Confirmations and Receptions (into the church), but somehow all my anticipation fell short of the reality.
In a way I was disappointed at the small turnout for the Meet With the Bishop session after Matins, starting at 9 AM, but it meant there was more time for my questions. I asked a little question about thuribles with bells (prompted by a Greek Orthodox friend) and got back quite an education discourse about Orthodoxy, and the closeness between Anglicanism and Orthodoxy. I was only sad there wasn't more time for him to expound further.
At 9:45 it was time to head up to the Sacristy and vest, and it was there I ran into George (or was it Matt?), who asked how I'd managed to dodge the Mens' Choir. Mens' Choir? That explained his being vested, but I hadn't heard a thing about it. "Probably my voice," I told him -- and in truth I've been having trouble singing lately; trying to reach for the high notes causes me to choke somewhat. On the other hand, I already had an appointed task.
Then, when we were crowded into the Narthex ready to process --Crucifer, Lucifers, Girls' Choir, Mens' Choir, Fr. Daniel, myself and Bishop Provence -- I got my next surprise. Instead of us all singing a hymn, we processed with the choirs singing Veni, Creator Spiritus. (If I remember correctly, Ruby led it off; she has a wonderful voice.)
Then it was The Order of Confirmation, and wonderful to see so many confirmands, including a mother and daughter. Then Bishop Provence received new members into the church; he had a small book with the order of service for this, though I don't know what book it is.
Then, before entering into The Order for Holy Communion, we sang the first of only three hymns appointed for the service -- the Hymn Board looked almost bare.
Ranjit was Epistler for the day (usually my job for the fifth Sunday of the month as well as the first), which was superb. I love listening to his reading.
Bishop Provence preached a great sermon about preparing ourselves NOW, for we do not know when the Lord will return. (I was amused by his lead-off using vacuum tubes, probably as the only parishioner as familiar as he with them -- I learned to design vacuum-tube circuits well before transistor circuits, and still have my old Sylvania vacuum tube handbook in the library downstairs.)
For all our preparations, we still ended up punting from time to time. At one point Fr. Daniel, on the Epistle side with the Choirs and Joe (who was serving as Acolyte), noticed that the Sanctus Bells were over there and I was on the Gospel side. (Joe hasn't been trained with the bells yet.) So he had Joe bring them to me through the Sacristy, which fortunately opens on both side of the Sanctuary. Small things...
In any event a beautiful service, and a good thing we put the folding chairs out. They weren't all filled but we had an over-normal capacity crowd.
It all ended way too soon, but Bishop Provence needed to return to prepare for the annual Synod which starts Thursday in Napa Valley. Next year it's our turn to be host!