Saturday night I made a decision I regretted today. The decision was not to print out an emergency service and not to produce its public domain hymn music and put some before and after music to CD for the Unitarians.
Then today the reverend preacher from West Yorkshire didn't turn up. However, people who know me enough also know that iconically I carry around with me a coloured basket, the sort you might see in a supermarket (actually I have three in one size and two in a larger size). The basket usually has excess matter in it: today books on liturgies, a Sheffield Unitarian Orders of Worship, two old services, and a CD from last week's across the congregation service where there were excess hymn tune items on it as well as my actual contributions, and my illustrative 1 to 20 hymns CD (where the 9th has been replaced since).
So I went forward and took the service. Using the service before last of mine I did the chalice lighting, and it was also the basis of the 'sorry' and 'thanks' prayers. But I switched to Unitarian Orders of Worship 3rd service for some material then, and later. The hymn tunes came from my made CDs, the advantage of the 1 to 20 used later being that the track numbers are the same as the hymn numbers. So the first hymn was from last week's CD (from me) but a different hymn. I also did extempore intercessions. One congregation member came forward with a favourite hymn about the inclusive church to read out that he knew was also on a standard CD to sing. The sermon was equally off the top of my head, and was about what the In Depth Group in Barton had been discussing, with an emphasis on Lux Mundi's type of Anglo-Catholicism being the ethos of the main church, though the In Depth is like a liberal corner of that church in discussion. I also referred to discussed Anglican controversies from 1860 and Essays and Reviews and the 'failure' of liberal leaning controversies since. I referred to the current 'Anglican Wars' that wrongly or at least simplistically places the Lux Mundi type of Catholicism as 'liberal' but that is how it is exposed in the evangelical push against it. I finished by saying that with the Internet and this battle, who knows what the future of institutional religion now is - and it is not what might have been predicted ten or twenty years ago. That third service in Unitarian Orders of Worship provided the benediction.
And it all went pretty smoothly. Which just goes to show, to you Anglicans who only need to open the book - it can be done.
And it is my service next week anyway, but it will take some preparation. I might do the radical emergency service to join the traditional feel emergency service and build in enough choices to have it as mine and to give it a road testing. The sermon will be on a theological topic. I am still writing the next In Depth on Aquinas, Aristotle and Augustine of Hippo, all of whom have to be considered together.
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