I have spoken little of our incumbent youth worker Millie for some time and finally, when the opportunity arises, I fear that it is one that I would now rather avoid.
Having been charged with holding on to the reins at St Cliff’s a little too tightly of late (by some in my congregation who had obviously been absent the particular Sunday I preached on the subject of submission to leadership) I decided to prove my critics wrong.
With that in mind, young Millie was more than up for my suggestion of her doing my monthly children’s talk. Mustering all my best efforts not to meddle (and thus give my accusers further ammunition), I gave her carte blanche to ‘do as she willed’.
As Sunday arrived my heart was cheered as Millie launched into what I believed to be an illustration on faith and reliance upon God. As far as I could see she appeared to have gone one better than the oft-used ‘fall backwards and I will catch you’ example.
Having selected four couples (each with a young child in tow) she proceeded to ask that they hold their offspring above their heads, the husband holding the upper body end and the wife the lower limbs. What faith indeed that these little ones so fully trusted their parents not to drop them, I mused.
O that my musings had not been so naive. What happened next not only surprised me but also Mr Dowsett our visiting preacher who had come to venture forth on the rise of paganism in our fair isles.
It had not occurred to me that Millie had so arranged the parents and their children that they resembled (as it soon became apparent) a mini version of Stonehenge, no less. It had also not occurred to me that the summer solstice was but two days hence, (it not being a date that the Anglican church calendar chooses to pay homage to) nor that Millie’s theology might have strayed a little from the straight and narrow since I first interviewed her for the position.
I do not believe that the incantation Millie proceeded to chant was taken in any shape or form from our beloved Book of Common Prayer. Neither was the unfamiliar song (uttered by a group of hoody-wearing teenagers who joined her in this charade) one which our perplexed organist, Mrs Higginbottom, could find anywhere in Songs of Fellowship.
Their druid-like appearance did not escape me, nor for that matter Mr Dowsett who hastily gathered his notes in disgust and exited our sanctuary without so much as a by-your-leave.
With hindsight I wish that I had given more consideration as to how to redeem the situation. Stepping onto the platform in my flustered state I was unwise to ask Mrs Higginbottom to launch forth into a song which I had hoped would swiftly rid us of the unfortunate pagan influence.
Perhaps if I had been a bit less hasty I might not have selected ‘From the Rising of the Sun’ as my song of choice and thus given the appearance of my approval to the proceedings.
Onward and upward