Sunday, 31 May 2009

Pretentious Pentecost?

St Davids Cathedral
Originally uploaded by Pembroke Dave
I just heard a man describe balloons as pretentious. It was Pentecost Sunday and he was referring to the
way that some congregations dress up their building to add to the air of celebration as they mark The Church’s birthday. He didn’t approve of the practice.

The man made these observations from a pulpit box four feet above his congregation while wearing a get up comprising a white gown topped with a crimson cape featuring a front panel that can only be described as a riot of gothic green paisley. He was the preacher for the parish eucharist in St. David’s Cathedral. The Cathedral is a monumental building on the outskirts of an average sized village. It is truly imposing, ornate and no doubt eye-wateringly expensive to maintain.

The service tried to stay in keeping with its setting, it sought to be impressive. But no matter how poetic the liturgy, and no matter how accomplished the organ-playing, it’s hard to do impressive with a congregation of barely fifty, ninety percent of whom don’t seem to like singing. Shame really. If you attempt impressive, it’s best to pull it off, otherwise you end up looking silly and, even worse, pretentious.

1 comment:

Catriona said...

He'd have hated our open air service then - especially when we let off our party poppers as our 'Amen' at the end!

Alas (not) we didn't run to frilly pinnies and red capes with gothic green paisley patterns - though the vicar had a black denim clerical shirt and I wore red if that counts as adequately pretentious!

We mustered 53 people and had lots of fun - and dear of Ruach kept blowing our papers away which all made for more entertainment!!