It's a big thing to organise a service such as we had in Christchurch today. I imagine that the organisers (whom I know included Dean Peter Beck and Bishop Victoria Matthews but others the number, experience and Christian commitment of whom I have no idea) had quite a lot to discuss because there were quite a few parts to the service.
I guess some of the music fell into place fairly easily (Amazing Grace, Pie Jesu, Whakaria Mai (How Great Thou Art), God Save the Queen, God Defend New Zealand) and once Dave Dobbyn comes ino the picture then Loyal is the song for him to sing. Sometimes our music choices are straightforward.
Likewise the speakers were straightforward (a Maori elder, the PM, Prince William, the Mayor, the Leader of the Opposition, Bishop Victoria). Ditto for us.
Trickier, I imagine, were other elements: which readings and who to read? who to pray and how many prayers? what symbolic actions and who to perform them? How to do everything to make the service complete and how to invite a range of people so all sectors of Christchurch society were represented. Sometimes we have these challenges for parish services. The bishop is coming for an annual (combined) service ... which readers and intercessors to ask representing the different congregations, generations and genders in the parish?
Something worked really well that the organisers had no control over: the weather was brilliant for an outside service. Some parishes in Christchurch are having a few outdoor services these days and the weather hasn't always been brilliant.
Final note: something I missed at the end of today's service. There was no clear and definite signal that the service had ended. In our services these days, even our most informal ones, 'the Dismissal' is said. Not only do we leave the service with great words, we know the service has ended!
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