I had a spiritual awakening last Sunday. Or, at least, I awoke early enough to attend my local church.
We have visited St. Paul’s in Great Marton before but mainly for musical evenings, or pancakes on Shrove Tuesday.
Our last service was for Carols at Christmas. We’re ‘C of E’, you understand, but a little lazy about it. Regular Sunday service was a bit too early for us.
“Then you’ll just have to get up sooner!” had been the vicar’s reasoned response.
So there I was, to the surprise of some.
“What’re you doing here?” exclaimed one white-robed church-warden.
Well, it turned out not to be a ‘normal’ service at all. Instead, it marked the end of Easter and included baptism.
“There’s not usually as many kids!” muttered a neighbour and church regular.
Still, we all warmed to the little fellow being baptised.
This large but comfortable church has been modernised. However, there remains a sense of history, as well as reverence. An echo of tradition was heightened by the baby being christened Alexander Fleming, while the minister presiding was named Christopher Wren.
Like the rest of our large congregation, I was sprinkled by holy baptism water, given “peace-be-with-you” handshakes and, for my first time, received the ‘body’ and ‘blood’ (actually sweet sherry) of Christ.
It was all higher church than the Baptist chapel reluctantly attended as a child. Back then I was dragged along by its Sunday school teacher, a neighbour, and remember hiding from her under our kitchen table.
Fortunately, all the ceremony at St Paul’s was lightened by an easy manner and humour from the vicar, a former school teacher.
“Pleased you could join us!” he beamed later by the exit. I was the first to leave but definitely felt a lighter step in my stride.
It may be a while before my next visit but, at least, I won’t have to be dragged.
n For Roy’s books and muses visit www.royedmonds-blackpool.com