In response to David's question - it was great! Not sure on numbers, lower than last year as no school choir meant no parents, but considerably more Anglicans and some new faces, so definitely quality over quantity. For all that, we gave away all of our 200 angel notebooks by getting people to take extras to pass on to family and friends.
Here are my editted highlights (names have been changed) ....
- The fantastic attention to detail - hand made angel-table centres, home-cooked pastries and cakes, both rooms laid out beautifully, smiling greeters and smooth delivery of everything that we did
- Elsie, who lives literally across the road from school but who can no longer walk more than a few steps who was thrilled that I collected her by car
- Similarly, Ernest and Patience, who could not stop thanking me for booking them a taxi each way from the far side of Dibley (whilst, alas, one of their fellow passengers moaned that the taxi was 2 minutes late and, being an 8-seater, was tricky to get into!). Got a surprise Christmas kiss from Ernest who, at 92 is a rather crusty Gideon who doesn't do emotion - don't tell ministries dept!!
- The coach driver deciding to stay for tea and the service - and then helping to give away the angel notebooks (and sticking a 'fallen angel' onto his tie!)
- The presence of Mary and Ruth, both bereaved in the last few weeks, and especially Ruth's husband Tony who 'doesn't do church'
- Seeing people there who have no other church connection, some for whom I'd done funerals, some for whom Christmas is very difficult
- Seeing all three traditions participating fully in the service rather than the usual two
- People's delighted giving to the offering for the local children's hospice
Of course there were a few grumbles, some poeple love to moan it seems, but overall it was a great evening. When I said 'goodnight' to the school caretaker, handed him some home-made mince pies and left a school tidier than we'd found it, I was tired but content that we had indeed sung with the angels and passed on the message.