Tuesday, April 10, 2007

From the Tiber to the Thames

A small Episcopal Church near my recently departed parish gave me a call. Their director, a colleague of mine, is leaving for warmer climes, and they're considering replacing her with me. I've done some reading up on Episcopal worship - as usual, the de jure doesn't exactly marry up with the de facto - the transition won't be too tough. It's aided, of course, by my 40 years as a Presbyterian: I could sing their Lesser Doxology in my sleep.

At any rate, I've attended a mass there, and sat in; and then accompanied a mass the following week. I guess, from what I heard later, that they enjoyed my style, despite an awful schoolhouse piano and an anemic parlor organ. Apparently it helped me get an "in" there when I recommended a GEM pRP-800 digital piano to replace their Wurlitzer Firewood Edition (TM) spinet. Reverend Stacy had already looked at much more expensive Kawais and Rolands and been unsatisfied, but she wrote me a few days ago to say they had bought the GEM. Hopefully with some sound reinforcement - the built in speakers are a bit anemic.

We have not come to terms on salary yet, but given their generous sub fee, I'm not worried. It will be interesting (a) working with a female priest, (b) working collaboratively for a change, rather than the loose-leash approach that I've come to loathe, (c) working with a priest without that built-in altar rail of arrogance I loathe even more, (d) playing a mass typically attended by 30 people or so, (e) working without amplification, except the new digital piano, and (f) returning to my Dad's church - he was born and died Episcopalian, though he did a lot of wandering in between.

I love their open communion table, and the ready participation from the pews - no coaxing required. Hate speaking the psalm, but maybe I can do something about that. I'd like to introduce them to responsorials, too. Part of their heritage, but apparently unexplored at this parish.

Best part is - mass is over at 11, so I can make it to St. Elizabeth's for noon mass. St. E's is okay with an occasional late arrival: traffic is out of my control, of course.

And THIS is going to be a real useful planning site, though I'll have to also do some digging. They/we have the old Cursillo Songs of Praise in the pews, plus a homegrown supplement, in addition to Hymnal 1982. Funny, I was part of Oremus' mail list for years, but never used the website before.

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