in the series I'm attending "learning how to lead worship".
A more realistic title would be "learning about the history and mechanics of leading a Church of England service", but that's obviously not how things appear to those on the inside. In truth, it makes me feel hideously uncomfortable at times, some of which is due to the mismatch between my understanding of worship and theirs.
One of the things Chris and I are discussing is the whole issue of communion, and the rules surrounding it. There is a lot of tradition that may be present for a good reason, but which seems distinctly extra-biblical to us. There's a degree in which 'if you want to be in the club then you need to follow club rules', but we wonder if the club is fundamentally wrong in it's application of those rules. I suspect it's due to lots of left-over bits from a doctrine of transubstantiation which were never really tidied away or sorted out. But, to quote our friend Eddie, that's a conversation to have over a pint.
Another interesting thing was the statement that a primary Sunday CofE service was, in it's entirety, to be about worshipping God. Not necessarily bad, but it may go some way to explaining why the church of England seems to produce a lot of church-goers that have little understanding of either their faith or the bible. I did ask how people are taught, and there was a bit of a sucking in of breath through teeth, together with a comment wishing people were 'twicers' (going Sunday morning and evening) or went to housegroups and biblestudies midweek.
It may be a little presumptuous, but this has made me step back and try to think through how, if I were God, I might wish to interact with those who were the church. Having walked with God more than 30 years, my feeling is He's very tolerant of the ridiculous mummery and words we use toward Him, whether it involves dressing in strange clothes or trying to find an infinite number of ways to mix the words glory, worship, Spirit, bless, honour, Holy, Baby*, praise and Jesus into our songs. Or, sometimes, both.
This is not to throw stones, really, but we're both still having to think about what we're doing where we are.
Did we do the right thing moving? Yes, we're sure of that. Should we still be here after ore than 3 years? At the moment I think we're in this for the long haul, and not just missionaries who flit in for a couple of years, create mayhem and then leave as it reaches it's peak. But I can't tell what the future is, and anything can happen.
* I made that one up, but sometime it feels like a song should have baby in it.