Yesterday attended/participated in our Diocesan 150th celebration service for the Diocese and Nelson as a 'City' being simultaneously promulgated by Queen Victoria. Outstanding. Why?
(1) Coherent - music, readings, drama, sermon, prayers all worked together around the central (and obvious) theme for the day
(2) Depth - the sermon (preached by +Richard) gathered the feelings and thinkings generated by the occasion and the different parts of it and drew our minds into a deeper appreciation of the most significant common theme for church and city, "community"
(3) Both/and - the service did not rely on one element being outstanding, it grew its quality from doing all things well
(4) Connection - there was lots in the service for the varied and diverse congregation (regular Anglican worshippers, non-Anglicans, irregular worshippers, and - presumably - with various civic authorities there, agnostics, and atheists also present) to connect with. Among the connection possibilities were some deft touches of humour.
(5) A lovely touch or too - my two favourites, make that three ... an anthem by Elgar (Ave Verum), Taize responses to the prayers ("O Lord hear my prayer" - always wonderful when sung by a large congregation), and God Save Our Gracious Queen - felt like I was at the last night of the Proms!!
This morning another service with some 'key' elements to success present in it. Will post about that soon.