Attempts previously to do some reconnaissance regarding the local C of E have been met by shut doors. Unable to get the car out of its parking spot, I thus went local into the C of E and found a small group slightly down on its numbers. This was eighteen including everyone, mainly elderly, in the largest parish population in England - used to 80,000 in the 1980s and will be more now.
Not only was it evangelical, it was stupid. We were told that God chooses eccentrics, which is fair enough, and this included Noah who built his ark without evidence half way up a mountain. We were also told, by this priest, that God uses ordinary everyday people, such as a boy who came along this morning so that the priest could get her car moving as the wheels had been moving around. This is a variation, I take it, on the God who provides ministers of religion with parking spaces.
On top of this the reader stumbled and made many mistakes, and the priest started the eucharistic prayer, got so far, said "Oh I haven't said it's Prayer A," and then said to herself and everyone, "Start again!" Which she did. It said "or" in between two parts, but we had both. Apparently she is filling in during an interregnum, and is otherwise retired.
She and others might have wondered why I didn't stand up at the Gospel or stand and say the creed, especially as one called me "young man" (hey, I'm 51!) and another remarked on how warm my hands are. Yes, I do the peace, but then stay sat and silent while the rest do the Eucharistic Prayer. One though didn't go to the rail, who I realised was another's carer.
This presentation, this superstitious biblicalism is just crap. The whole thing is a nonsense. She went on how we were all to go and preach this stuff to everyone else, who obviously fail to turn up in their tens of thousands. I ought to be fair. There are five Anglican churches within the parish - one other should have been operating in the morning.
Within ten years the gathering will be finished: after all, the youngest person there wasn't even participating, never mind my selectivity. Anyway, I've done my spying and it confirmed what I suspected in both style and content and support. It also shows that there is no automatic connection between being 'evangelical' and drawing in numbers. After all there is no attraction in stupidity.
Of course I told people afterwards that I go to the Unitarian church. The priest asked me what do Unitarians believe, other than not believing in the Trinity. I said they can believe in the Trinity if they want, it is a matter of individual decision - it is creedless. I said we have a Muslim who is attending before she moves away. So there we are. I went out and preached my gospel of difference together to the world. She had said Jesus told them to go out and preach in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Yeah, of course he did. They were all ears when he said it.
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