• Everyone survived the start of the Christmas season.
  • The Christmas pageant was a roaring success. Some parent helpers jumped in and everything went just fine. We only had one little clash—someone wanted to remove all of the identifying names out of the Luke 2 passage as being “too difficult for children”. Fortunately I had a couple of days between hearing about this and seeing the cast again so I could think of a more polite and tactful way to respond than my initial reaction. I explained that if we took out the names we might as well start it with “Once upon a time in a kingdom far, far away” and that the whole point of the names is that it happened in a very particular time and place and that matters. They didn’t like it, but the names stayed in and the kids did great with them.
  • (I found it odd that my reader had more trouble pronouncing “Syria” than “Quirinius”…)
  • Most memorable exchange—Parent: “Well, what matters most is that the kids feel good about what they did.” Me: “Hmmm. I think that what matters most is that the kids learn the Gospel…” Parent: [unconvinced] “Oh—right…”
  • We had a wonderful trip south to the ordination of Chris (aka the Lutheran Zephyr) and he’s got a nice photo with M up too.
  • M read the prayers, my role was sitting with three PKs (only one of which was mine)—all girls under the age of 6, all perfectly behaved.
  • About halfway through Lil’ G turned to me and said, “So, Daddy—when are you gonna get ordained?” I was a little stunned by that but mumbled that I was working on it…
  • For Christmas 1 we had a Lessons and Carols service at M’s parish that was quite nice. But in the midst of Von Himmel Hoch Lil’ H started singing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” at the top of her lungs. And continued with it whenever we started singing another carol. Several peopled noticed her singing; thankfully no one noticed what she was singing.
  • While you’re rounding up nice Christmas messages as the season continues, don’t miss the sermon here from friend-of-the-blog Fr. McCoy, OHC.
  • Dissertation progress has bogged down in Chapter 3. Trying to condense some 15 years of study of monastic liturgy into twice that many pages isn’t as easy as it sounds… I’m trying an ultra-minimalist approach but I have to keep reminding myself of that every sentence or two.
  • (And if anyone happens to have  copy of David Knowles’ The Monastic Order in England handy, could you tell me when [on p. 714 or so] he starts Matins and Lauds in the summer? I’m missing that page…)
  • For the SBB alpha-testers, I’ll have a new kalendar up before Jan. 1 with, hopefully, a choice of two…
  • I’ve got a few pieces for the Cafe in the pipeline, but blogging will continue to be light…

7 thoughts on “Updates

  1. Annie

    We haven’t had our pageant yet. Ours occurs on Epiphany. Traditionally, very traditionally in our Church.

    One thought: You said, “Most memorable exchange—Parent: “Well, what matters most is that the kids feel good about what they did.” Me: “Hmmm. I think that what matters most is that the kids learn the Gospel…” Parent: [unconvinced] “Oh—right…””

    I just want to make the point that both are important. The children absorb the Gospel when they are most happy. They absorb the Gospel the way that St. Francis wants them to absorb it–by seeing it lived, by feeling it. When my son was struggling a few years ago, I kept saying that a church is where the love of Christ is shown and every child should always feel welcomed. So Both!

    It’s a good thing to have to consolidate 15 years of learning into 30 pages! It shows what you understand.


  2. backrowbass

    We had our pageant on Christmas Eve. Our youth minister’s wife was present helping with all the kids. 24 hours later she had their second child – Alice Frances. The whole family is well.

    Since I happen to be in the library today, I do have Knowles handy.
    In summer, Matins begins at “3.30 or 4.0”. The length of the office is variable so there’s an option for sleep if it’s still dark.

  3. Joe Rawls

    Re: “Most memorable exchange”–this is one reason the Episcopal Church is in deep doo-doo and is rapidly sinking more deeply in same. Not your remarks, of course; those of the clueless parent.

  4. Erika

    Why can’t the parishes in my area be populated with parents/people like you?! :) (More on the “most memorable.”)

    Why do we think that taking all the beauty, mystery, and, yes, challenge of Christianity away from children will make them love God more? I took my 2 year old to a Christmas Eve “family” service where we walked through a beautifully decorated, historic church with amazing stained glass, imposing high altar, and delicate creche, to get to where the Eucharist was taking place–a brightly-lit, white room with a bunch of chairs that looked like they were from a bank reception area (in the ’70s) arranged “in the round” around the altar. (Then we left the service after she broke down during a verrry long children’s homily where no eye contact was made, and spent time looking at the windows and creche and retelling the nativity story…but I digress.)

    And as far as pronunciation goes, my 2 y.o. looked at a picture of the three kings the other day and said, out of the blue, “frankincense and myhrr,” after hearing me say those words, like, three times in her life. Children know when things are being dumbed down, and they want the real thing instead. When the real thing is the Gospel, we really can’t afford to give them any less. Three cheers, you!

  5. Derek the Ænglican

    Hi Annie—yes, both are important. Kids having fun while they learn the Gospel is near and dear to my heart. What concerned me in that interchange is that the Gospel seemed not to be on the radar screen at all.

    We—well, M—radically revised the script this year from whatever they were using in the past; this year it came entire from the text of Scripture with just a lead in and conclusion on sin and redemption (yes, our pageant talked about human sin and our need to be saved from it…) Some folks seemed confused that we had no “Innkeeper” or “Doves” (???). In light of that, tinkering with the script meant more than making some editorial choices so we protected it and the theology in it as needed. I didn’t argue over changing the angels’ line to “Glory to God in the highest heaven and peace on earth”—especially since only two of our angels could read. Cutting the historicizing elements that Luke includes for a reason did warrant it.

    THANK YOU, backrowbass–that’s exactly what I was looking for!

    YF, Joe—just doin’ my job… :-D

    I don’t think it’s just the Episcopal Church, though. I think pageants sometimes get categorized as a “play/drama thing” in any church and not as “a Christian education experience”. Since M is charge of Christian Ed, she tried to make it as clear as possible which of the two it was—I was just the enforcer…

    Hi Erika—I just don’t get that preference for the “spare ‘n’ bare” when there’s a beautiful sanctuary to be used instead… That’s precisely what the windows, statues, etc. are for!!

  6. Annie

    Good! Of course, we’ve never had the dumbing down business in ours and so that just did not sink in. Ours is straight from the Gospel, as it should be. After all these years, I do believe I know it by heart because I have heard the very same program delivered the same way for . . . 48 years? I love it.

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