Monday, 5 July 2010

Tottenham Party

Quite a weekend. The morning was spent at the Ascension, Portsmouth in interregnum. They have completed a project creating a separate meeting room at the back of church, with some veryelegant glass screens. The head server was a bit frazzled being short of two of the pillars of his team, but still we managed a pretty good solemn Mass. It is good for me to have to do everything by way of setting the Altar &c. It was a good, full-throated morning; bit a bit of a trip down memory lane for me, having been in Portsmouth as a curate fifty years ago- and we even sang one of the Modern Church Music Group's setting for 'O Jesus I have promised' - which even with organ accompaniment soundy like something Henry Hall and his band might have knocked up on a bad day. Its the tum, tum, tum-titty tum' between verses that still slays me.

St Paul' Tottenham occupies the lower two floors of an apartment block which replaces the former Victorian church on the site.

We drove up to Tottenham in the afternoon; thought it would be a doddle going through central London. It was not, and we arrived very hot and tetchy an hour after we expected. But all was well once we were started. St Paul's was keeping one of its Feasts of Title (SS Peter and Paul) and there was a good band of priests sitting birettaed in quire. I should not have mentioned the name of the Patron so often, for it entailed much removal and replacing of hats. I am glad mitres are permitted to remain firmly on the preacher's head.

[l-r] Fr (Deacon) Christopher Trundle, Fr Mark Elliott-Smith, and intruder and Fr James Hill

In this case, everything was done for me, even the removal and replacing of the mitre by a very helpful Priest MC (the senior curate). The deacon was the very newest possible, fresh minted from his ordination in St Paul's Cathedral - where he was the sole traditionalist among a sea of liberals and evangelicals, many of them ladies of a certain age who have decided to give up macrame in favour of church.

Parishioners and Parish Priest at the Party after Mass

We took the image of St Paul for a walk round Tottenham(under the very Spurs South Stand) and concluded with Benediction. Then it was over the road to the school for an amazing buffet - terrific goat curry, and huge numbers of other goodies provided by a parish team. The new Deacon struggled gamely with a dish of Tripe a la mode de Caen, before giving up. His Vicar was on hand to advise on the most tactful and expeditious way of dealing with such difficult situations.
We were entertained by a Steel Band, after which Jane and I headed off round the North Circular and by way of M25 to the M3 and home.... a very long day, but hugely enjoyable. What will become of parishes like these two after the decisions (or non-decisions) which Synod may take, or fail to take, in York next weekend? Keep the prayer wheels turning.

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