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.
After communion, the parishioners came down the center aisle AND the side aisles as they headed back to the pews. Do think you'll run that pattern again next week? And since you say you're going to have an interfaith service, what about interference from the other team?
Great stuff as usual!
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