Did you see the Royal Wedding? I only saw the edited highlights myself. While the wedding was happening, I was with another couple celebrating their ‘big day.’ Along with clergy up and down the country I was officiating at a wedding which had been planned long before the royal couple were engaged. Later on I baptised a little boy
so it was early evening before I was able to catch up with the big news of the day. As a Scot, the FA Cup final passed me by completely. During the week that led up to the Royal Wedding my diary shows that I was involved with three couples planning their wedding, four families preparing to lay a loved one to rest and two families planning their child’s baptism. All in all, an average week for a priest in the Church of England. It is one of the deep joys of my life that I have the privilege of being with the people of this village throughout their lives; in times of joy and in times of sorrow. Many years ago there was a documentary about the Church called ‘For Weddings and Funerals,’ a word play on the popular comedy film ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral.’ The documentary suggested that was really all the Church had to offer our modern society; a nice backdrop for the pictures of our ‘big day’ and a place where we
could say goodbye to those we loved. Saltwood Church is lovely, and I would be more than happy to be laid to rest in the churchyard myself, but you know that we offer so much more. For hundreds of years the men, women and children of this village have gathered Sunday by Sunday in the parish church to praise God and to be refreshed and restored after a busy working week. They have prayed within its walls day after day, for their own needs and
the needs of those they love. That tradition continues today. The church is open each and every day of the year, and day in and day out the people of this village come in to find a few moments of peace with God amidst the bustle of our modern life. And on Sunday many of us meet together to worship God and be refreshed, just as our parents, grandparents and all those who came before us did. You are always welcome in church, whether it is to mark a moment in your life or the life of your family or to find peace and quiet, or just to be with your friends and neighbours. Whatever your reason for coming you’ll be very welcome in your parish church. We might even be able to help you with some of the big questions of life. Just don’t ask me what I thought of Meghan’s dress!