The Victorians (that is, the era – not the state) had a reputation for being a bit strait-laced. A bit like the Church.
But like any culture – including that of the Church! – they were great at food, music, fellowship and celebration. And architecture.
In the beautiful 1837 Hall of our Church, on Saturday 3rd March, we enjoyed what could only be described as a ‘slap-up’ High Tea (and it was high: tier upon tier of scones and cakes and fancies and finger sandwiches).
An extraordinary group of hostesses – appropriately consumed – served around 100 people with delicacies, and an appropriately Victorian mix of both ‘improving’ and ‘enjoyable’ conversation.
In the background, Rev. Claire performed – in a succession of fabulous period gowns – some of the pop hits of the era, including pianoforte pieces by Mendelssohn and Scott Joplin, arias by Gilbert and Sullivan and Verdi, and a few rousing choruses of ‘Come into the garden, Maud,’ ‘Goodbye, Dolly Grey’, ‘Cockles and Mussels’, the Londonderry Air, ‘Rule, Brittania’ and the like…
This was a fundraiser for the church – and we are very grateful for all who cooked, served, decorated, set-up and broke-down – and for all who came and joined in in such good spirits.
But it was also a way of celebrating what it is to be ‘church’: to be a community of participation, and a community of hospitality, and a community of joyous celebration.
All are important to who we are.