Letters from 29 June to
5 July 2009
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The simple explanations are never
as much fun
My suspicion about
only" switch is that it turns on a light so the organist knows the procession is ready. I
do, however, like your more imaginative suggestions.
Watch my work on ISSUES
2009 at General Convention. Will any of you be there?
The Reverend Ronald
Retired, currently between part-time interim assignments
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
29 June 2009
(Editor: AO staff member Helen Gordon will be in Anaheim as part of a diocesan
deputation. The rest of us will be counting on the video feeds and on-the-spot reporting.)
Or risk the wrath-o-God
The photograph of the electrical
switch on your front page immediately brought to mind a scene from "No Fond Return of Love",
by Barbara Pym, a novelist who looked at the foibles of Anglican clergy with both amusement
and compassion. The main character, someone who is not a regular churchgoer, encounters a
sign in a choir vestry which reads: 'Nobody, repeat NOBODY, is to tamper with the electric
heating apparatus in here.'
As rector of a small church with
only a part-time sexton and a rectory next door to the church, I am frequently the one who
flips the switch, and can sympathize with the - admittedly, inappropriate - imperiousness
of such clerical commands. I recall the occasion when the organ tuner had asked me to turn
up the heat in the church, so that it would be as warm as it is on Sunday mornings. A well-intentioned
parishioner, thinking that the thermostat had been inadvertently ignored after the service
the previous Sunday, turned it back to the weekday temperature, causing the tuner unnecessary
Since then, I have found that
a little note saying 'Please leave the thermostat at its current setting - organ being tuned'
works very nicely, while avoiding any appearance of clerical tyranny.
Thank you for all that you do
for us in the Anglican Communion.
St. Paul's CHurch
Marinette, Wisconsin, USA
29 June 2009
Not a moment sooner
the switch is for, either, in the cathedral you visited, but as for "clergy switches," we
used to have one. It was located high on a wall in an area underneath our choir loft (I'm
sure that area has an official name, but d***ed if I know what it is — maybe subloftus?)
that would flash a bright green light that was affixed to the organ console. That was the
cue to begin the processional hymn, as choir and clergy were out of the organist's sight
up in the loft. As I'm in the choir, it used to be amusing to watch someone (either clergy
or chalice-bearer) flash away on that thing while the organist was in the middle of her
final prelude — some folks just don't understand that, with music, it's over when
it's over and not a moment sooner!
I think the wiring is still there,
but it connects to nothing as the old console was replaced a few years ago with a new organ.
Now, the rector usually invites everyone to stand and give praise to God with the opening
hymn, from the front of the church. No switches necessary.
St. Andrew's Episcopal ç
Panama City, Florida, USA
30 June 2009
direct your attention to
of the Right Reverend Robert Miller, former bishop of Alabama.
dona ei, Domine.
Clark D. Myers
Saint Thomas Episcopal Church
Huntsville, Alabama, USA
2 July 2009
(Editor: Thank you for drawing this to our attention. We've made a note in
our News Centre.)
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