Well they were queueing to get in at Trendlewood Church on Christmas Day as we hastily added more and more chairs to our usual 90 or so. Eventually, with a watchful eye to emergency potential, we crammed 131 into Golden Valley School Hall. Nothing makes things go well like a crowd.
There were some new or irregular guests, for which we give thanks, but mostly, like those cicadas that time their breeding cycle for prime numbers of years so they hatch when the food is plentiful and, from time to time, all coincide, all our families came home at once.
The thing that is great though is that this bunch of people returning to families for Christmas lunch, were raised by the informal Anglicanism of Trendlewood Church's ministry. They don't bat an eyelid that instead of a sermon on Christmas Day the children have made a Lego video of the nativity. They willingly accept the vicar wearing a VW badge around his neck and encouraging them to make clay bling. They share communion around tables and include the children who enjoy running for a grape when the wine comes around. They end with another nativity video which is poignant, funny and not a little South Park edgy.
Everyone is encouraged by a crowd. Re-union conversations are going on long after we have finished at a service where we offer no refreshments because we expect people will want to get home.
I was encouraged by our little crib service on Christmas Eve, started last year so that we now have two, simultaneous, crib services in the parish. This year we advertised in the school newspaper and picked up a fair few local families who came for our short telling of the Christmas story, in its simplest form, with some carols, prayers and mince pies. Our numbers were up on last year so that we had over 50 in attendance.
Today we are meeting as a church but not so much to worship (we will a bit) as to chill together. We will have coffee and croissants, Sunday papers, a break for carols and prayers and then mulled wine and nibbles. You can come for the whole morning or just for a bit.