Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Sunday

Barring a visit to S’s new place last time I stayed, I can’t remember the last time I darkened the doorstep of a church. Today however, I felt prompted for some reason to do some God Bothering in a more traditional manner and ventured forth to my nearest CofE.

The building is beautiful, the priest seemed lovely enough, the service generally pretty good (though I’d have preferred a bit more meditative ‘space’ and the gender exclusive language in the intercessions wasn’t a thrill, but that was perhaps down to the seemingly rather pompous individual concerned) and there was clear warmth between the good sized congregation. Heck there were even hot-crossed-cookies that the junior church had baked, passed round.

But (and you knew there was one coming right?), whilst it would horrify me to be pounced on and interrogated as is the habit in some places, is a smile of welcome, or a simple hello too much to hope for?

On arrival, I walked in the door and couldn’t at first see where I was supposed to head. Anxious of the potential top-of-the-escalator phenomena with people coming in behind me, I spotted a table with the service sheets and books on, which had been obscured by two women with their backs to the door. I made my way across and after a slightly awkward moment, was handed a set of books, but little in the way of acknowledgement or greeting.

During the exchanging of the Peace, those immediately around me shook my hand (though in some cases without eye contact), but then I stood like a lemon as the rest of the church milled around for 5 minutes or so greeting each other enthusiastically. Outside of the priest and one other person, I was universally ignored as people passed this way and that to reach each other.

Similarly after the service, no one spoke to me and after a few minutes of loitering by the notice boards I decided to escape. It’s a very strange feeling to be in the midst of a friendly crowd and feel so completely separated from it.

I don’t think I’ll be rushing back to St Cliquey’s anytime soon.


sally said...

Oh why, oh why oh why, do Christians behave like this? You should have left with the names of at least 12 new friends and several invitations to Sunday lunch...I give up...

Kathryn said...

Oh it so shouldn't be that way...
I am sorry.
Not sure you'd have done that much better here (though we do have official welcomers, at least!) but wish it had been a happy experience.
Sometimes I wonder if the church has noticed that the resurrection happened - let alone anything else to do with God, love, community...errrmmm

Giles said...

The strange thing is, that seems to be the thing I enjoy most about church... As a rule I like to be left on my own - hence for instance my refusal to go anywhere near the rest of my family any more.

But then I am a naturally weird customer ;-)