We can always count on the Church of England to come up with an exciting new wheeze to stave off the final throes of bankruptcy. So they have got Rev’d Canon Dr Sandra Millar, head of projects and development for the Archbishop’s Council, to produce an exciting new order of service to help facilitate this exciting new wheeze to put bums on seats and tenners in the collecting plate. This takes the form of an order of service for a freshly invented and exciting occasion in the liturgical calendar called Godparents’ Sunday
The new and exciting order of service aims to bring God’s people together and empower them to reflect and rejoice through many exciting activities.
I hope those who turn up will be enabled to cope with all the excitement.
Dr Millar is eminently qualified for her role as contemporary liturgist for, before she was ordained in 2000, she had a career in marketing with the Co-op and Boots.
Her exciting new service stands squarely in the imaginative tradition of modern rites and it reminds us of the luminously creative project of a few years ago called Love Life, Live Lent in which congregations were invited to stick little bits of yellow paper on larger bits of blue paper and perform a loving line dance for the Lord.
If the Lord enjoyed that, I’m sure he will enjoy the form for Godparents’ Sunday too.
If you promise not to laugh too loudly or for too long, I’ll tell you about it. But first, let me discipline my tongue and my pen and adjure the temptation to wax satirical. Here it is straight then, in all its infantilised glory, from the Church of England website
“You will need large sheets of paper eg lining paper on a roll or a large sheet with the heading ‘Memory Wall.’
“Felt pens for directly writing on paper/fabric OR post-it notes and pins.
“A large sheet of paper, flip chart or projector with ten words written on Eat, Talk, Listen, Read, Watch something; Drink; Look around; Stop for a rest; Play Games, Meet people.
“Ten smaller cards and Blutak so that words can be covered up and easily revealed..
“Four large cards each with one of these phrases: Being There; Part of the family; Good choices; Sharing faith
“Yellow and white ribbons and two ‘prayer trees’ eg places where ribbons can be tied [optional]
“Heart shaped chocolates or godparent/godchild badges [available from www.churchprinthub.org] to give away [optional]”
What immediately strikes us about Dr Millar’s modern masterpiece is that it is deeply rooted in philosophical theology. That phrase we are asked to write on one of our four large cards, “Being there” is of course a translation for Godparents of Martin Heidegger’s phrase Dasein and represents the inauthentic condition of humankind “thrown” into the world and obliged to discover the courage “to be towards death.” ***
(Best not make too much of that if their are any godchildren present).
As you can see, Godparents’ Sunday belongs to the scholarly tradition of Playschool and Blue Peter. And I needn’t have worried about the temptation to satire, as this latest offering renders satire impossible.
I confess I’m a bit worried about the chocolates, given that we’re informed daily we’re suffering an obesity epidemic. But I needn’t have worried about this either, for Dr Millar suggests that congregations follow up their chocolate-scoffing festivities with a “Fun and Sports Day.”
Completely in character and true to form, the Church of England gets this bit wrong. They say this exciting “Fun and Sports Day” should be held on Bank Holiday Monday 2nd May
But Bank Holiday Monday falls on 1st May.
Suffer the little godchildren…
*** Sein und Zeit by M.Heidegger, in association with Noddy and Big Ears say “Let’s Play Church!” by Enid Blyton and Justin Welby