I attended the Parish Eucharist at the Church of the Resurrection in Ely this morning, prior to conducting a service of infant baptism, as a stand in for Vicar Jan who needed to preside over a festive event in the church hall booked at the same time, celebrating 75 years as a chorister by one of her most regular and faithful men in church.
I sat next to Jan's husband Peter, Principal of St Michael's College Llandaff. After the service he shared his enthusiasm for the Abbazio di Boze near Turin, from whence he had recently returned. It was the venue a meeting he was attending of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), an ecumenical religious community living the Benedictine life with a special emphasis on excellence in creative arts and theological study. His praise for the place made me wish that I'd made the effort to go there when I lived close by in Switzerland, or on one of my many visits. Well, maybe I could manage a day trip this summer - who knows?
There were two families for the baptism, one presenting children of 2, 4 and 6, the other with a babe in arms. I've been coping with catarrhy congestion since our lost few days in Nerja, and it affects my voice, making it deep and gravelly, on half power. I wondered if I'd be able to make myself heard, but the church acoustics were kind, and I managed to hold the service together.
Family baptism services and chaos often walk hand in hand. The babe in arms plus mother didn't arrive until I was about to start, but apart from that, everything went well until the moment I was handing out baptismal certificates afterwards, when a high speed toddler collided with the Paschal Candle. A diving catch by one of the godparents prevented the candlestick and content from hitting the ground and breaking, but warm wax went everywhere. One good reason not to have carpet in the chancel!