This Sunday we thought we'd try going to one of the area churches, since we'd spent most of last Sunday sleeping off the time change :-) We haven't done any proper research regarding regional denominations, except that there's a C-of-E across from our new house, a Catholic church and school behind us, and a lovely little Methodist church downtown past which we walk several times a day. Since we'll surely visit the C-of-E later, we thought we'd start with the Methodists since we're always passing by.
This turned out to be a truly serendipitous turn, as we had an absolutely delightful time and met a number of helpful new friends. However, the highlight of the morning was surely Minister Philip Morse, who proved a trip and a half. He was a right old codger, wispy white hair and watery blue eyes conjuring an elderly John Gielgud peering whimsically over his spectacles like a mischevious Oxford don. He had Jonathan and Laura in stitches from the get-go, especially during the christening of a young boy. Typical of his eccentricities, Rev. Morse seemingly regarded the front pews as a free-for-all "splash zone" during the doctrinaire sprinkling, an effect that he achieved by cupping a handful of bless'd water from the basin and then sweeping it up past the bemused child's face, reserving the greater part for the guests and family adorning the front rows :-)
Belying his frail appearance and aged stoop, he decided to "wake up" the congregation by incorporating a full video of The Traveling Wilburys' Handle With Care into his sermon. When afterward he told me that he'd really wanted to use The Who, and I suggested that next time he could play Quadrophenia, he gripped my arm with such excitement I thought he was going to drag us back to the vicarage to go through his stack of old LP's right then and there :-)
After the service, a throng of helpful church ladies swooped down on us as soon as they realized we were "from out of town," and it turned out nearly all of them were current or former teachers, board members, or "school marms" (whatever that is). They interviewed Jonathan and Christopher on the spot, then suggested a list of appropriate schools by location and age level. Honestly we would have been pressed to find a more helpful group to help us sort through the maze of available schooling options.
The church diary (British for "calendar") is just packed with little teas, scout meetings, bake sales, sewing events, and basically everything you might imagine occupies the denizens of a village parish -- all of which will prove wonderful opportunities for us to get to know more families, especially ones with children, as we continue to try to make new friends and contacts in the area.
All told, a bright and wonderful morning, in spite of the chill and damp (it was a two-umbrella walk to the chapel).
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