Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Church Fault-finding guide

Everyone's good at finding fault with their church.

But how often does anybody come up with some solutions? If you want to know how to adjust the vertical hold on your pastor, you may have come to just the right place...

You are drinking an unaccountably awful alcoholic drink after Evensong.You are at the vicar's Sherry Party.Accept that you're in the Church of England now, and you'd better get used to it.
You can hear sounds but can't see the words on the OHP or the leader.You are facing the wrong wayTurn round.
Your house is full of strange small people you don't recognise. You are spending too much time at church events. You have forgotten who your children are.Go home more often.
You seem to be laying, face down, on a carpet. A man is shouting "Last Orders, Please". People are treading on your fingers.You've gone out for a "swift half" with the bell ringers again, haven't you? Curl up into the foetal position and pray nobody treads on your ears.
Everybody else has disappeared suddenly.The Rapture has occurred, and you've been left behind.Nick the offering plate. Let's face it, there's nothing to lose now, is there?
The bishop is bald with a large beard and a deep voice. The vicar is a woman with four degrees and a resentful look.You are a member of the Church of England.Give it another ten years, maybe?
The coffee is awful, and served in a Woods Ware "Beryl" Cup.Situation normal for a Methodist.Grin and bear it.
People are dancing naked in the woods.You've really got carried away with the church-hopping this time.Frankly, you're on your own with this one.
The sermon is starting to make some sense.The sermon has entered its third hour. You have fallen asleep, and are hallucinating that it makes some sense.Stick with it. You're getting quality nap time, and it's all good for your soul.
Feathers and eggs are flying through the air.Birds nesting in the organ pipes again,.Put up your umbrella.
For the 754th week running, you are singing "Shine, Jesus Shine."Against all the evidence, the vicar still thinks it's trendy.After the service, detune the church guitar. Nobody will know how to get it back in.
An embarrassed lack of singing during the first hymn.They've forgotten how to switch on the OHP again.Lecture the OHP operator on the principles of electricity. Then lecture the pastor on the benefits of laptops and data projectors. Stop when you realise everyone's looking at you strangely.
It is Advent 3. The nearest member of congregation to you has turned blue.Hypothermia.Chop up a pew (not Mrs Hargrave's) and light a fire.
Small puddles are forming around you.You're running the creche.Alert the parents.
Small puddles are forming around you. The water is falling from a low height.Leaky font.Join the Baptists.
Small puddles are forming around you. The water is falling from a great height.Another hole in the roof.Put a bucket down. Sit somewhere else. Not in Mrs Hargrave's pew.
Large puddles around you. Water and tiles are falling from a great height.Freak tornado.Wait for the wind to die down. Then erect a thermometer outside the church.
Everyone is looking at you.You're the minister.Get a grip, and preach the sermon.
Despite the festive time of year, you are unaccountably very annoyed during the sermon.The vicar is telling the story (s)he has told every Christmas for the last thirty years. The one about the little boy who didn't want to be the inn-keeper.Resist the urge to shout out "Plenty of room, come on in!"
You are standing behind a table covered in old bits of household junk that nobody wants to buy.Against all common sense, you've joined the fund-raising committee.Give the treasurer some money and burn the table. It's worth 20 quid just to get the morning back.
You are surrounded by tea lights and pebbles. Somewhere in the darkness you hear the sound of a balalaika.It's the "5th Sunday of the Month Creative Liturgy Special".Watch out for inflatable dinosaurs and Chinese Lanterns.
The vicar is hovering sixteen feet in the air.Vertical hold on the blink.Bang the right-hand-side of the pulpit.
Four men, riding horses in assorted colours, are galloping round the churchyard.The visiting Adventist preacher was right then.Offer sugar lumps.
All the other people in your congregation seem extremely frail. You are a member of the Church of England.Pray for revival.
Sun is beating down on your head. Wind is blowing your hair around. Rabbits are nibbling your shoelaces.The fund-raising didn't work.Have a picnic.
Just before the service starts, an embarrassed silence has fallen. Everybody is looking at you.You are sitting in some-one else's designated spot.Let Mrs Hargrave have her seat, wait until five minutes into the first hymn, then sit down somewhere else in the knowledge that you're in neutral territory,
Your "Beetle Drive" is interrupted by a group of people clutching knives and chickens.The Property Steward has double-booked again.Suggest they move to the vestry.
The organist is playing the 65th verse of "Just as I am, without one plea".Another altar call has received no response.For the good of everyone, declare yourself saved (for the sixth time) and go forward. The bell ringers have invited you out for a quick half.
The Church Committee Meeting is entering its seventh hour.There's another light bulb gone in the gents, and they're not sure what wattage to buy.Just buy the blessed light bulb yourself. Alternatively, tweet amusing reflections on the ironic nature of your situation.


  1. I'm sure you must have attended church in this part of the world> Next time, do introduce yourself.

    A few minor additions:

    Another reason for being unable to see the OHP is because you are sitting behind one of the many pillars that holds the roof up, and possibly anchors the whole building to the rock underneath. These pillars are more important than your convenience because the entire building nearly blew over in the big storm of 18 something or other, and if we move the pillars it might happen again. Move to a seat that isn't behind a pillar. And that isn't occupied by Mrs. H.

    (What is it with OHP?? I had drifted away from church for many years. When I left, there weren't any, and when I came back, they infested the place. I see quite enough of them at work.)

    And the number 1 reason for EVERYONE not singing (not just the resolute non-singers) is that they don't know the tune, or they know the tune but the words are new and don't quite fit the tune. Such pieces should be introduced slowly.

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  3. Like, very much.

  4. I shall recall this with great thanksgiving when I attend PCC on Monday night. Thank you, Archdruid!

    love Mags B x


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