A complex and challenging day at church today. It was the Daycare's 30th Anniversary, so we celebrated by inviting all the parents and having special refreshments. We were supposed to have a bouncy castle, as well, but they never showed. I know that both the Daycare Manager and the President of the Daycare Board spoke to the bouncy-castle company, so I'm at a loss to explain the no-show. Ah well, I still called up the Daycare Staff and blessed them and thanked them for their work.
Another complicating factor today was a new liturgical arrangement. The chairs we arranged in a kind of U configuration. The bottom of the "U" included the Presider's Chair. Just in font on that (heading "liturgically East") was the Ambo (lectern). In font of that was a small Credence Table. In the centre of the assembly stood a square altar with a minimum of hardware. At the top of the U stood another square table with the tabernacle, icon, and menorah. The purpose of the Menorah is to make a nod towards the Jewish heritage that we share with our Abrahamic brethren.
We also changed the music all around, substituting a modern translation of the Advent Prose for the Gloria and changing the Lord's Prayer and the Sanctus and other bits and pieces.
All in all, it went quite well. I just wish I could have spent some more time exploring the reasoning and implications of this set-up with the congregation. Alas, there was way too much going on today to do much of that. Just as well, liturgy should really be able to stand on its own without a frame.
There were a dozen or more visitors, which was great to see, plus the usual Messiah crowd. So attendance was up today. I really try not to let the attendance matter too much, as it is one of the surest ways to make yourself insane as a pastor, but it's hard not to notice.
Short meeting with two of the Wardens after church (the other is out of town) to discuss various matters, some of which weigh heavily on my mind when I allow them. Right now, heading into Christmas, is one of the most stressful times of the year for most priests and ministers I know. This is a tough job, and I'm uncertain that most people understand why. Any one piece of it--the pastoral care, preaching and liturgy, administration, strategic planning/ops, dilegent study of "such matters as promote the spreading of the Gospel"--could easily be a full-time responsibility. It's the breadth of the responsibilities which is the hardest part to deal with!
Anyway, 'nough complaining. I've got some important recreation to do now! If I don't get some serious football time in, I'll be useless on Tuesday.