Once a month a group of our wrinklies meet on a Tuesday afternoon and listen to a speaker, socialise and have a cuppa. They call themselves the Tuesday Fellowship. Quite. Yesterday was the first meeting of the season and usually we have a Eucharist and I give a wee talk. Of course, I couldn’t do either so the lovely Fr A got their hearts a-fluttering again by presiding at mass. There is something about a powerful deep voice which commands attention, right enough.
As I couldn’t give a talk, I asked them to tell me the stories of how they first came to church. At the end of the month we will be taking part in Back To Church Sunday so I wanted to find out how they all came to church. Because of the age profile of the group (all past retirement except for one other and me) their stories were mostly of family expectations of going to church, not always with parents. I couldn’t find one example of someone who had been invited to church by a friend. (Although J who is not a member or even Pisky was invited to the Tuesday Fellowship by her friend, so that must count.) But I suspect if I asked a group of younger people I may find a different story. Oh, and I was delighted to hear that A only joined the Piskies because there were good looking boys in the choir. You just never know what lurks beneath those schoolma’am exteriors!
They then got on to talking about being perceived as the ‘English Church’ and how some hated that but for others that was how they found us. Some saw us as a link between the Prots and Catholics and thought that was a good thing, something to be proud of.
Then the conversation moved on to Evacuation, this being the anniversary of the first evacuation during WW2. Many were evacuated away from Portobello because there was a perceived danger living near the Power Station. They didn’t go far, however, mostly just being sent a few miles down the coast and mostly with mum. Most of the stories were of positive experiences living on a farm or a big house, but walking a few miles to school didn’t go down quite so well. But it got me thinking, with Child Protection regulations and Health & Safety and all that jazz, would evacuation happen today? Can you imagine young children being put on to a train with no knowledge of where they’d end up? And who checked the adults who took them in? Often they were treated as cheap labour and surely there would be a hue and cry if that happened today. How times have changed.
Sometimes its good when you lose your voice and can’t speak. Then you have to listen to the stories and there was enough material in there to preach a good few sermons. Thank you, Tuesday Fellowship.