With football season upon us (Go Ravens!) we return to one of the stranger NFL rituals: the coach's post-game press conferences. These can be so comical that even Coors Light has parodied them in a series of ads featuring actual head coaches. This naturally led me to wonder why rectors don't have post-liturgical press conferences.
For your reading pleasure, I have imagined one below. The setting is, of course, the parish hall, preferably at a table set up on the stage (it's not a real Episcopal Church if it doesn't have a stage -- and 1950s-vintage partitions -- but that's another matter altogether). The rector looks a bit harried with a warm glow of sweat across the brow. There's a styrofoam cup on the table holding tepid coffee brewed in the undercroft. A group of parishioners is gathered around the stage eating donut holes and calling out questions.
Question: Father, overall how would you rate this morning's performance?
Rector: It was a bit sloppy at times but as a worship team we stayed within ourselves and left it all out in the sanctuary. We're still in rebuilding mode with the acolytes and we have a lot of rookies out there this year. Right now I'm just worried about the liturgical chemistry.
Question: Some might question your focus upon the Epistle during the sermon. What would you say to your critics?
Rector: I worked hard all week on that sermon, it went well during practice, and while the execution wasn't as smooth as I'd like, I stand by it theologically.
Question: But, Father, don't you think the transition between your second and third points could have been smoother?
Rector: If one of you lay people think you could do a better job, go ahead. Next question.
Question: The ushers did nice work taking up the collection but there seemed to be a bit of confusion with people coming up to communion. Would you comment on that?
Rector: With the depth chart, we're still looking at a lot of guys and gals at different spots. It didn't go precisely as we drew it up but I really like our schemes. I don't know when we'll have it all exactly the way we want it but we're headed in the right direction in my opinion.
Question: What did you think when the organist went up a fifth on the third verse of "Amazing Grace?"
Rector: Well that, frankly, came as a surprise. We'll deal with that issue internally. We just need to make sure everyone's on the same sheet of music, as it were.
Question: There seemed to be an unusual number of typos in the bulletin. Do you foresee any changes in this area?
Rector: We plan to stick with what we've got but omitting the last line of the Post-Communion Prayer is unacceptable. Believe me, I noticed this as well and I can assure you it won't happen again. There will be fines handed down, I'll tell you that.
Question: How ready do you think you'll be for next week.
Rector: Well, the propers are tough ones but we'll just take it one Sunday at a time and evaluate at the end of the Program Year. The expectations are high but to a person, everyone in this sacristy is geared to successfully praise the Lord each and every week.
Rector: That's all I have time for, folks. I have to get back to coffee hour and be ready to watch the 1:00 o'clock game in the comfort of the rectory family room.