Thursday, March 29, 2007

Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Bitchiness

As if Grace Church-St. Stephens in CO didn't already have enough trouble, their choir director has jumped into the fray as well. I'll say right out, I tend to hold church musicians in a certain disesteem. I like their work, but I don't much like THEM. Our last anglo-catholic parish in Ottawa was committed to music over anything else, and severely handicapped children were not considered much of an asset under those circumstances, so we left. So I'm used to church musicians who tend to think the sun shines out of their...larynx. I do have to say, though, that at such a time, when a man's reputation and possibly even freedom are at stake, to descend to querelous kvetching about sheet music and choir robes is self-absorbed prima donnaship of an exceptional degree. I hope the rest of the parish functionaries have a better sense of priorities, or we will be reading the following:

Letter from the Head of the Altar Guild to all Brass-Polishers and Linen-Menders

I have just been in contact with Bishop O'Neill about the shocking events at our beloved parish. Thanks to the precipitate action of the Vestry to hijack the parish and follow the renegade Fr. Armstrong all the way to Nigeria, the locks on the sacristy cupboards have been changed! And so I regret to say that I have been unable to retrieve the church linens and chalices, which I intended to turn over to Bishop O'Neill for safekeeping. All I was able to find were a can of Brasso from under the sink, and 3 wrinkled corporals and a very sweaty amice, which had been left in the washing-basket.

Letter from the Flower Co-ordinator

I was completely shocked by the actions of the Vestry, and immediately got on the phone to Bishop O'Neill to ask him what I should do about the Easter flower arrangements. As a lifelong Episcopalian, who intends to remain that way, I told him I don't know nuthin' about no Nigerian flower arranging, and asked if it would be more appropriate under the circumstances to decorate the altar with an arrangement of cacti.

Letter from the Coffee Hour Coordinator

As soon as I heard the news, I called Bishop O'Neill to tell him that two salt-shakers were missing from the church kitchen, and nobody had washed the coffee urn last Sunday, so I ended up having to scrub it with baking soda to get it presentable. If this is the way they do things in Nigeria, they can HAVE IT! I look forward to enjoying good, honest Episcopalian coffee with the rest of you before long.

UPDATE: Oof. Once again, reality trumps fiction.
The candlesticks, most of the vestry and the flock (an estimated 850 attended the three services there Sunday), and associate rector the Rev. Eric Zolner went with Armstrong....

Carolyn Bassett joyfully hugged an old friend that she discovered also had stayed with the Armstrong camp: "At least we won't be sent to the lions," she kidded. Later, Bassett mourned that half the altar guild had sided with the Episcopal Church.



Blogger Nasty, Brutish & Short said...

Another instant classic!

4:46 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A masterpiece, simply a masterpiece!

With the exception of the Anglican situation, I could see the very same comments generated by the various committees, etc at my ELCA congregation.

Speaking of which... oh, did you ever hit the target on church musicians. Only in my case, I happen to work as the administrative assistant for our music minister (I know, I know... increasingly, I feel as though I've gone over to the dark side). Talented woman, but wow. If Jesus Christ Himself were to walk into our congregation, I have no doubt that she would immediately a) ask Him what part He sings; b) hand Him a music practice/performance schedule; and c) sign Him up to bring snack to one of the children's choir rehearsals. If He politely declined, then she would question His committment to the congregation.

Dr. Mabuse, you have also brought up another point, that of severely handicapped children at church. Long story short, that has been a huge struggle for us with my Angelman's Syndrome daughter. Failing to find an adequate solution, we just don't bring her to church anymore and my husband & I just switch off going. I noticed that our synod had established a "disabilities task force" to help incorporate people with disabilities in worship. I contacted them saying I was looking for ideas & support on including people with cognitive disabilities into worship. Can you believe they referred me to social services, because they thought I was looking for financial assistance? It was obvious that this ever-so enlightened group of people had not even considered people with cognitive disabilities... that disabilities awareness consisted of putting in wheelchair ramps and a sign language interpreter, and then sitting back to congratulate themselves on a job well done.

Have you found a friendlier place for your family to worship?

Karen in Kenosha

6:21 pm  
Anonymous WannabeAnglican said...

Wonderful spoof!

11:27 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Karen: I'll confess that we were defeated by the problem. We never took our kids back to ANY church after that bad experience. We tried the same thing, alternating weekly, but it was hard for one to be left at home with all 3 kids. Besides, I didn't see that as a permanent solution, especially when somebody at church suggested it to US! To say, "We want you - we DON'T want your kids" just made me balk. We're a FAMILY; you can't just detach the kids and pretend they don't exist, especially when it comes to church, which is supposed to be real. So all in all, we didn't feel we wanted to take on more work, at a time when we were already reeling from having just got the second diagnosis - and especially not in order to improve other people's aesthetic experience every Sunday. We no longer belonged in such a place.

5:15 pm  
Anonymous Mrs.Falstaff said...

Oh, come on, doctor, we aren't all primma donnas! ;-)

Seriously, if you are still looking for a church home, email me privately and I will tell you where I worship in Ottawa. We are low church, but we love kids (pastor has a large family, so do many other couples), and we have had autism spectrum children around before. Please contact me!

Mrs. Falstaff

7:46 pm  
Anonymous captainyips said...

That's good, fair trade Episcopalian coffee!

5:24 am  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Mrs. F - that's very good of you, but it isn't really a problem anymore. I converted to the Roman Catholic church last Easter, and now I go to Holy Cross on Walkley. Believe me, that is not a place where you have to worry too much about elaborate liturgies or extreme musicianship! And I know that it's not the case that all church musicians are egoists - I've known some nice singers. We just had a bad experience in a church where we ended up changing, so that we were no longer a good match anymore.

10:39 am  
Anonymous Mrs. Falstaff said...

I have a good friend who goes there-I attended her wedding last summer. I like the kids room that they have where you can still see into the sanctuary.

4:10 pm  

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