A warden's life

I've been a church warden for over two years now. Before that I was deputy warden for so long I've forgotten when I first started - certainly over ten years. It has been a privilege and an honour, and also a real headache at times.

The privilege includes the extra services you get involved with. At weddings you help, in a small way, to ensure that it’s a special day - by going over what the ushers need to do; by fetching a glass of water when the groom faints (it doesn't happen often!); by making sure visiting organists know how to turn the organ on; by letting nervous friends or relatives go through the reading they are doing with the sound system.

 

And at funerals - though they're not cheerful, they are still celebrations of the departeds' lives - you hear some amazing eulogies for people who were 'just' mothers, fathers, brothers or sisters.

 

As I said there are headaches too.  Like when the organ packs up and has to be rewired, and you have to make sure the electricians replace like for like, not neccessarily what they would want to do. Or like when the heating packs up - as it did a couple of weekends ago.

 

The job isn't just about church services. As church warden I must remember I have responsiblity to the whole parish not just the congregation! And there are the meetings PCC and Standing Committee as well as the other committees I sit on - no-one likes meetings, but they are there for a reason, all for the good of the church and parish.

 

During services it can be difficult to take part as a normal member of the congregation, because I am constantly wondering: are all communion assistants here; is the person due to do the reading here; is the person doing the intercessions here, is the volume okay on the microphones, are there enough communion wafers out, are the sidepersons counting the congregation, should I count them just in case.

 

Last weekend was the Remembrance Service, the largest service in the year when every seat in church is taken. As with most things it brings a headache and a privilege. The headache comes with the logistics: getting everyone in and seated where they should be, in a very short time. The privilege is in receieving the support of so many others from the congregation in setting things up, and in knowing I've helped the people of Sutton to mark the day in an appropriate, thoughtful way.

 

Colin