Serpents of the Sanctuary

Just back from the Scottish Guild of Servers AGM at St Michael & All Saints in Edinburgh and what a glorious affair it was. Lots of smoke, lots of lace and impressive gliding about the sanctuary. Five of my little flocks came too and were admitted as members of the Guild. The Bishop of Edinburgh preached a wonderful sermon at the Mass about the merits of serving at the altar. And Basil Fawlty was mentioned too! I think if I was still a server (well I am still one I suppose) I would have found it very affirming.

There were about 100 people there and that included 70 servers. Brother Barry gave a speech about the growth in the Guild – 53 new members in the past year. When I first joined the Guild I don’t think there were 53 members in total. Certainly the turnout was about half what we saw today. I think its good that it is having a revival – however I do feel that it could be brought a bit more up to date. If we want to encourage more young people to join then we need to do something with the liturgy. I wonder how many of those present today regularly use the 1970 liturgy at an eastward facing altar and sing the Office (full of ‘he’s thee’s and thou’s, not to mention the linen ephod) in plainsong. New blood! That’s what’s needed.

Now I have to write an article for Inspires on the whole event. Hmm. What were the highlights? Who had the longest lace? Who had the blackest shoes? Who managed a deep genuflection and sprang back like a tightly coiled spring? Who managed not to cough as the incense passed by? Oh so much to consider.

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