The last twenty four hours have been catchup. Apart from a Skype call to NZ, (ain’t Skype wonderful, especially when it’s legal), an old friend from the Friends was in town in transit to San Francisco and we snatched a fast cafe or two together in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower before I headed for Bobino and he for Brussels.
The new churches don’t often do Christmas very well. Anglicans – especially Anglo-Catholics can get into the groove of welcoming the annual churchgoer who shows up at Christmastime. They get to sing a few carols while sober and listen to Nine Lessons which is as efficient a way of evangelising the heathen as any, I suppose, since they get the whole panorama of prophecy and fulfilment in a few easily digestible bitesize chunks, accompanied by choirs, candles and christingles. OK then. What about the New Churches? For them, doing stuff out of the book is a bit like asking Herod to babysit. It doesn’t sit comfortably with them, since carol singing is quite a traditional art form and that’s usually the last item on their agenda. Fetching up at Bobino earlier than usual, the sight of a full orchestra – with a drummer – playing the old faves, came as something of a surprise. The meeting started proper half an hour earlier than normal, miraculously on time and was billed as the Christmas Service. For once, I didn’t feel like the Oldest Member – some of the congregation had brought parents with them, I suppose. It was instructive to listen to what a group of creative people can do with some quite traditional music. ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful” rebranded as “O Come Let Us Adore Him” was, to be honest, quite breathtaking. Have a listen…Search on the site for the track. Yeah, OK, I bought the album. new this year, called ‘Born To Be King”. Brendan White was on fire and the crowd loved it. Including me. The place was tricked out with fake snow and big polystyrene snowflakes which surprisingly enough didn’t look at all tacky. The final set finished off with a group of clearly professional dancers, topped out by a Billy Elliott type with some spectacular classical ballet moves. As Christmas services go, this one was right up there…Lovely.