Tuesday 16 February 2010

Valentines Service In The Lakes

On Sunday morning I attended the 10:30am service at Holy Trinity, Chapel Stile. A beautiful church in the Lake District.

The service was attended by approximately 40 people, mostly in middle-age or later and it was one of the most profound church experiences I've had in years. The service was mainstream yet contemporary, aimed at an older generation yet relevant to most people present. Care and attention had gone into the preparation of the service and what could have been a mundane Sunday morning was transformed into beautiful and articulate worship. The Priest in charge, George Wrigley led the service beautifully and the warmth between him and the congregation was clear.

The service challenged my understandings of alternative worship and contemporary worship. It's easy to presume that contemporary worship must mean 'contemporary' to those in the 15-25 age group and not 'contemporary' to those in the 50-85 age group. It's also easy to presume that alternative worship only has a place at a festival, a fresh expression or a church reaching those in the 15-30 age group. The Valentine's Day Service at Holy Trinity showed such notions to be false.

The service made use of The Seekers, Turn Turn Turn whilst those who had lost spouses (unfortunately not partners) were able to take flowers and lay them before the cross.

The service also included intercessions that were beautifully led and cut to the heart of so many issues.

Thom Meredith, a singer from Harrogate sang a beautiful version of Love Changes Everything that was incredibly appropriate to the congregation.

After this there was 'An Act Of Recommitment To All Our Relationships' which addressed husbands and wives, parents and children and spoke more of commitment to each other than any liturgy I have heard in a long time.

The whole service spoke of community; of a priest who knows his congregation and their needs and interests; of a priest who was taking the opportunity to turn what could have been an everyday act of worship and push forward something that was really challenging.

An incredible service and an incredible privilege to worship with a community longing to meet God.

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