Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Easter Vestry

The Vestry, who look after SMR's investments, meet on the Tuesday after Easter. Normally, the Vestry meetings are like any other committee meeting. But the Easter Vestry is different - much more funny. I'm probably breaking the official secrets act (or SMR's equivalent) by blogging about this, but what the heck ...

We all went up to a special room in the rafters of the church, only ever used for the Vestry at their Easter meeting. The Vestrymen, some of whom are women, sit in strict order of seniority. Vestrymen who have been churchwardens are Senior Vestrymen, and consequently out-rank those who have not been churchwarden. I was done up in a certain amount of finery - cassock, gown and hood (which didn't match, not that anyone noticed!).

At a small table to one end of the room sits the current churchwarden, with the vicar (or priest in charge) on her left and the Vestry Clerk on her right. The churchwarden then turns over an hour glass and the Vestry Clerk reads out the names of those on the Vestry, a bit like the register at primary school. I resisted the urge to reply 'Yes, Miss' and just said 'Aye'. (There are apparently fines for those who do not attend but noone can remember when a fine was last levied.)

The motions of the meeting all go through on the nod (and indeed were written in the minute book before the meeting started). About half-way down the list of resolutions, the churchwarden got up and took her place as the junior Senior Vestryman and the Junior Warden (who is expected to become churchwarden at the annual Parish Meeting next week) took her place as the chair of the Vestry. All of the other Vestrymen shuffled up in order to accomodate this change to the ranking order.

The new churchwarden took the chair until the meeting finished. Then we all signed the minute book (in order of seniority), went back down into church and stood in line at the back. Still in order of seniority, of course. The National Anthem was then played. No-one sang. A second verse of the National Anthem was played. Even those mouthing the words stopped. A third verse of the National Anthem was played. I managed not to giggle. Then we turned and I bowed to the head Verger who led us all, still in order of seniority, around the church in procession. At least one man by the bus-stop across the road waved at us (presumably he thought we were on day release and had sympathy). Once we arrived back in church, we had lunch.

The thing is, I can understand it all except the three verses of the National Anthem. Answers on a postcard please ...

11 comments:

Howard said...

Perhaps it was only one verse three times. Maybe the organist had been on a course about charismatic worship, but his "first verse again" was drowned out by the trumpetty bits.

It could happen...

Gareth said...

Easy.

Verse 4 is xenophobic, verse 5 is imperialist and verse 6 is anti-Scottish.

Trust me - I'm a qualified sociologist.

charity said...

Why...?!!

Anonymous said...

I think it quite disgraceful that these long treasured traditions are mocked in this way especially by some-one who should be his office know better.

charity said...

Ah the anonymous commenter. I suspect you mistake mocking for observation. And you also appear unable to construct a sentance.

Steve Tunnicliff said...

are you sure you have not joined the Masons?!!
intriguing ritual?

Nikki said...

wow... I didn't read anything about that in the 'how to be an anglican' book!

Why?

Nikki said...

doh... and that'll teach me not to read everyone elses comments before writing my own... I could just have amen'd Charities 'Why'!

Anonymous said...

I remember our last conversation about the masons.... better start reinforcing your pants for that greasy slope....

Nikki said...

well... having asked around even my most hardened Anglican Friends don't know why!

Anonymous said...

Dear Charity,

I am a different anonymous, but I have to agree with the sentiments of the last one.
Also, I have to pick you up on your spelling - it's sentence.
You would do well to remember the adage about glass-houses.