My first really early Sunday start forr six months took me to St Dyfrig and St Samson's church in Grangetown to celebrate the eight o'clock Eucharist this morning. Clare came too and then took the car home for breakfast, while I stayed on for the Parish Mass at nine thirty. We were just over thirty people, including several children. As with other so-called 'southern arc' (Urban priority area) parish congregations, people were very warm and friendly, obviously caring and supportive of each other. So far in retirement I've mostly been asked to help out in this sector of the city. I'm quite content with this, as it's so easy to feel at home.
There was no organist for the Parish Mass. A digital sound-track machine was used instead. The head server, in charge of the technology tried his utmost but couldn't get the timing right for the first hymn, with the result that the organ took off and stayed several bars ahead leaving the congregation lagging breathless throughout. There were several voices good enough to lead singing unaccompanied, so the question of why one should trust a machine to give the lead doesn't seem to have arisen. Nevertheless, everyone present coped admirably with the slightly comic wobbly start, and all the other hymns went well.
I walked up the river bank after the service and met Clare at Riverside Sunday Market, to shop for weekly organic vegetables and cheeses before heading home for lunch. I spent much of the afternoon asleep on the couch, making up for my early start, and despite the extra hour taken advantage of. Having to get up, prompted by the alarm clock to be sure of being there on time, meant a night of unrelaxed broken sleep, as happened each Sunday while I was working. I never was much of a morning person. So, although I'm happy to help out, I'm glad this is only the first time in six months I've been asked to do an eight o'clock. I always felt eight o'clocks were necessary and indeed beneficial to self and others, once I'd made the effort, but I wouldn't want to return to doing that, week after week, as it meant that I rarely felt I was fully at my best for the Lord's Day.