Sunday, August 02, 2009


I've noticed a lot of assumptions today.

Firstly, a confession. I went to a different church today because my normal church is having a reduced Sunday programme during August (assumption number 1: people don't want to do church in the summer).

So, we went to an Anglican church. I say we, I mean me and Terri, a long-term friend currently residing with us. She is looking for a church. She's Anglican. So it kind of worked us both going.

We were approached by a friendly chap who turned out to be the Lay Reader who later on ran the shebang, or whatever you're supposed to call the 'please turn to page 9' thing that the Anglican church do. That, by the way, actually turned out to be pretty easy to follow, and I quite enjoyed it. Saying a proper creed is always a bonus.

But anyway, Mr Lay Reader asked us if we were the couple who were there because our banns were being read out today. Not a bad assumption. He didn't know us from Adam and Eve, so we'll let him off. But it was amusing, although Terri may well have been offended that this stranger thought she couldn't do better than me.

Then we sat through the service, which moved along at a good pace. The sermon was based on 2 Corinthians 3, and the guy speaking did a good job exegeting it, linking it in with the faded glory of the old covenant with the prophecy of a new covenant in Jeremiah.

And then we had a cup of tea afterwards, during which time a few people told Terri that this service wasn't like their normal service which was usually "much livelier". Which was unfortunate, because Terri likes the liturgy and the collects and the Anglicanism of it all, and had quite enjoyed the service which ran through the 1974 revised prayer book. So, telling her that 'normally' it was qute different wasn't really going to sell her on the church.

It's been a useful experience really. It's left me wondering what assumptions I make about people.

Also a big shout out to Roger who reads this blog and was church warden for the day when we turned up. He greeted us very warmly, despite knowing who I was. So thanks for that, Roj! (He ended up having to read out one Scripture passage too, but that's another story...)


  1. Well, we use the 1974 prayer book every 1st Sunday of the month so you can tell Terri it's not going to change that much! The structure of the service wasn't unusual, it was more just the relative emptiness of the church, the vicar being away, the fact that there weren't as many musicians, etc.

    2nd Sunday and 4th Sunday are a communion service with slightly shorter liturgy and the Nicene Creed instead of the Apostles Creed. The 3rd Sunday of the month is "Praise God Together", which is a frankly rowdy family service that Terri probably wouldn't enjoy. That is an assumption of course.

    And I think the assumption people this morning were making wasn't really unreasonable. You have to take into account the fact the church doesn't get all that many people in their 20s and 30s without kids precisely because so many people in that demographic choose "livelier" churches. And of the people in the church in their 20s and 30s who I happen to know, a large proportion of them aren't dyed in the wool Anglicans and may not even consider themselves Anglicans. So the assumption that someone our age is looking for something a bit funkier than the service this morning I think works more often than it doesn't.

    Personally I just wanted to sing "Rejoice the Lord is King" to the tune used in America. it's just a better tune. Easier to predict, allows for more gusto. Ok imagine this isn't a midi:
    The tune used in Britain is Handel, but what can I say? If it ain't baroque .... folks might be able to hit the notes.

  2. I wasn't having a go. I really enjoyed the service too.

  3. Jon, you are so predicatable. I just knew you would comment about 'assumptions'! I'm glad Johanna has defended the assumptions as being reasonable. I had reflected on exactly the same lines, having been somewhat surprised that Terri enjoyed the service. Just goes to show that we really neeed to choose our words carefully when making someone welcome or discussing a service. With Back to Church Sunday coming up in September, perhaps something all us churchgoers need to think carefully about. And Terri, you will be very welcome again - so don't let any of our assumptions put you off ever setting foot inside again.

  4. See that's the thing, assumptions can often be right. You assumed I'd comment. And I did!

    They weren't bad assumptions. But they have taught me a lot about how I assume things of people.