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11 October 2020: Rallying roundA group of people pulling on a rope

In these days of restricted numbers in church we ask people to book in advance if they intend to attend a service. This paid off in an unexpected way this morning. One of our fellow lay ministers fell ill last night and had to pull out of his participation in the service. Since the Rector knew who was coming, she asked our Authorised Lay Preacher to control the sound and me to act as steward and lead the intercessions, using the prayers my colleague had already prepared.

It’s the first time I have acted as steward during the lockdown. Actually, it’s the first time I have acted as steward since we held our Crib Services just before Christmas. Since becoming a lay minister in 1979 I have only acted as steward for the Crib Services and for the occasional funeral.

I had a list of those who had booked. As each person or couple arrived I ticked them off the list and showed them to an appropriate seat where they could maintain social distancing. Two people, including my ill colleague, failed to turn up and three people came without having booked. As it happens, we had plenty of room. I recognised everyone despite the masks they were wearing.

My wife preached. One of the readings was from 2 Timothy. Since it is the start of Prisons Week, she mentioned her time as a volunteer in the prison and the occasion when she heard the prison chaplain say during a service there that the “residents” should appreciate the New Testament as more than half of it had been written from prison!