|389: Shipmates' Wedding, Emmanuel, Leeds, England|
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Mystery Worshipper: Ludwig K. Tribute-Band.
The church: Emmanuel, Leeds, England.
Denomination: Church of England.
The building: Splendid and pointy with a rose window. (Stop me if I'm getting too technical.) The congregation sat around three sides of a central platform.
The church: It's Leeds University chapel.
The neighbourhood: University campus meets the outskirts of the city centre.
The cast: Rev. Dr Simon Robinson (and our own Captain Simon Jenkins was best man: this was the second-ever shipmates' wedding).
What was the name of the service?
The Wedding of Dyfrig Wyn Lewis and Catherine Jane Smith (aka frin).
How full was the building?
Did anyone welcome you personally?
Yes, Dyfrig, wearing a burgundy velvet jacket, pink cravat, and an alarmingly fertile-looking button-hole.
Was your pew comfortable?
Could have been worse.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Welcome to Emmanuel. It is actually a parish church, you might be surprised to hear, as well as the chaplaincy centre for the university." (The first of several terrible jokes followed.)
What books did the congregation use during the service?
A service sheet entitled: An Order of Marriage derived from "An Order of Marriage for Christians from Different Churches" (Joint Liturgical Group) and "Common Worship: Marriage". This was a URC/Anglican mix composed by frin and Dyfrig, including corrected hymn lyrics.
What musical instruments were played?
Organ and piano.
Did anything distract you?
A young relation of Dyfrig's explored the front of the church at length, but it wasn't the kind of occasion when anyone would mind.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
There was a lovely spirit of cheerful informality throughout the wedding. The couple walked in together rather than frin being "given away"; they faced each other sitting on stylish stools during the ceremony, saying bits of the liturgy directly to each other rather than the Priest saying them; the two dads read bits of the service; we prayed for America (the attack on New York and Washington had been only four days earlier) and gave money to the Church Campagain Against Depression and for theological training in South America. Half of "How Great Thou Art" and the two Bible readings were in Welsh, I should also mention.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
7. One of the very few times I've heard the term "projectile defecation" in a wedding sermon. Not sure if that was a plus or a minus.
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
Individual and community, and unconditional love.
Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
Blowing bubbles at the happy couple; singing in Welsh (barbarously, but with feeling); just the whole marriage thing, really.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
I think our preacher's jokes were the closest we got.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
We got ushered out for photos, and back in again when it started raining.
How would you describe the after-service coffee?
None, they gave us bubbles instead. And a wedding breakfast, of course.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
6 Difficult to tell what a service not written by frin & Dyfrig, with entirely different people and none of them getting married would be like, but it seemed a nice place.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
"I now pronounce you wife and husband." Silly that such a thing should be so memorable, but it was a nice touch. (And just as well to be realistic about the matrionial power structure from the start.)