I had to tell the 9.00 a.m. congregation that someone had died today. Since the person had died relatively recently it was information that hadn't yet filtered through to most people. There was a bit of a gasp and some corporate shock. We prayed and moved on.
It took me back to Wishaw, a little country parish in the Midlands, where I found myself officiating at an early communion the Sunday Princess Diana had died (in the early hours of that morning, you may recall). Those who had come to church without switching on a radio or TV first were completely shaken.
But it also does us good to remember times before TV, radio and telephone. Times when most of our church buildings were constructed. I imagine much news of the local community was passed on when people gathered for church. News of recent deaths would have been the minister's task to communicate - and this in an age when the infant mortality rate was much higher.
Every now and again we can get in touch not just with what life must have been like 200 years ago, but what it felt like. This morning's gasp was one such moment.