Paul and Marian travelled as a combination, complete with Suzuki Hayabusa hearse combination, to take the ‘Silver Jubilee Club’ service this afternoon. Despite this name I can safely say no one who came looked 25 years old to me.
St. Wilfred’s Church of England church was opened in 1290AD and is a truly beautiful well-kept building that has a lively bunch of enthusiastic folk ready to meet. As you look around at the well-preserved paintings and artefacts it’s humbling as it sinks in you are just a spec in history rather than the star preacher they have all being waiting for. This is where the Anglicans and other long-standing denominations beat the new churches hands down, it is simply impossible to be some sort of star celebrity speaker in an environment that makes it clear you are but one stroke in a massive painting that has been painstakingly worked on for the best part of a thousand years. Personally I think it is a healthy paradox to stand before people with a dynamic talk that will inspire and encourage, while privately being struck in awe at just how little you are.
The Silver Jubilee Club was set up for the over sixties in 1977, the year of The Queen’s Silver Jubilee and kept the name due to the colour of their hair! What is amazing to watch is just how focused and businesslike these folk are, they take what they do seriously and yet do so with so much fun. When I was invited I was asked to talk about Motorcycle Funerals rather than my book or anything else, which admittedly I wasn’t too keen on, but how was I to know so many of them rode combinations when they were younger? I did however suspect a certain sadistic tone in some of these old boys as they hit me with sidecar related technical questions. Just as well I know my stuff.
Marian finished by singing Jesus Loves Me acapella and once again that 1290AD structure beat the best of the Charismaniac Gymnasium meeting places hands down. When it comes to unaccompanied singing you really can’t beat the acoustics of a well seasoned church building that was purpose-built for chanting and song. With this in mind I can’t help but reflect on the differences between Anglicanism and Pentecostalism. Perhaps the most amusing difference is the concept and scale of the church split. In Pentecostalism this is usually some assistant pastor or elder setting up on his own for good, bad or highly embarrassing reasons. Occasionally it is a bit bigger with a whole denomination breaking up for either sound biblical reasons or some highly questionable fad getting established as a movement, but no matter how big or serious we consider these, do they really compare to Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth 1st or Cromwell? Nope, you can say what you want about the Anglicans, but when they do things they really do them in style, even splits!
To end on a high note I think the funny thing about the old folks at St Wilfred’s Silver Jubilee Club is that they are so full of life they make you feel young again! Perhaps getting on is not so bad after all.