Last semester I wrote that I had visited an Anglican church, but I didn't update to say that since that point in time, the people there have stopped considering me a guest and have pointedly looked at me from the pulpit when they announce that it's the last Sunday to put your name on the volunteer list. Granted, I had made my desire to volunteer known on several occasions previously and just somehow hadn't signed up yet.
So I signed up along with three of my friends. They all specified what they would like to help with but I just wrote, "Whatever, but not preaching." Yeah, I'm on the schedule as often as the rest of them combined.
First task: last Sunday I was given a quick walk-through on how to be a "server" and this Sunday I actually got to do it! I arrived, got dressed, and promptly broke the ceremonial candles. Oops. Somebody replaced them and after that I didn't let go of them until they were safely back in their proper stands.
There were a few times Timothy and I were casting lost, questioning looks at each other, but for the most part, things went smoothly. The fact that someone else had forgotten to get a pitcher of water with which to cut the wine, which forced a semi-panicked last moment substitution with the priest's hand washing water, was not our fault. Near the close of the Eucharist, I stood by my seat sharing one of these aforementioned looks with Timothy, wondering if we were supposed to be helping clear the table of the elements.
The pastor, Father Dean, sidled up next to me. "Hey, Carla," he said with the ever-present twinkle in his eye, "How are you doing?" I might point out that this was not yet socializing time - the service was still in full swing.
"Uh," I replied, "Are we supposed to be helping with that?"
"Naw," he said. "She'll let you know if-"
At that point the deacon let us know with a look that yes, we should be helping. So we helped. And then everything else proceeded as planned.
I was too enthralled with the ceremonial gowns to get changed immediately, and Father Dean had agreed to pose for a picture with me after the service, so I darted downstairs to get my camera. When I got back, Father Dean was in a disheveled state, twisted up and generally entangled in his microphone cord.
"I thought I'd take my microphone off for your picture," he laughed, "but usually I take my robes off first. I don't know how to do this." Eventually the assistant reverend, who is also the chaplain of my school, stepped in to help. It was nearly scandalous, with how much he had to get himself twisted up in Father Dean's robes to figure out the cord, but fear not, there was no hanky-panky and everything got sorted out in due time. And we got our picture.
"If you only repent of your sins, of your bad things, ok. Well done. That makes you a Pharisee. You must also change how you relate to your good things to be a disciple of Christ." Rev. Dean