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Word from Wormingford

28 April 2017

In this archive column from 1995, Ronald Blythe has three annual church meetings to attend

TWO PREOCCUPYING matters this week are the severe spring frosts and the annual general meetings of the three PCCs. At the moment there is nothing to prove that the plum and pear blossom won’t set, and the tall old trees complement the white fields with their snowy flowers. Bitter nights but by mid-morning a burning sun. It is wintry when we go about our business at the AGMs.

Acts 6 may be said to be the inauguration of the PCC, when the disciples declared that they couldn’t preach and serve tables. Thus was church administration born. It was a diaconate and it was immediately complicated when one administrator, Stephen, found that he could preach (brilliantly) as well as help cope with the practical business of feeding and housing hundreds of people who had given all they possessed to the Church. Another headache.

Mercifully, we do not share it. Thanks be to God for the worshipping accountant, not to mention electrician. There is not much in the benefice which has to be farmed out. High drama, of course, at the elections. But first of all we must be severe with useful folk who seek to come off the PCC on the flimsy excuse that they are over 80, etc. Mrs X complains that it has worn her to the bone — a fib. Her bones are far from visible.

Chiefly, the elections are not so much to do with democracy as with ability. Mr X has served for ever, but who could — or would — do what he does? Treasurers are above rubies. There are those members who never utter, and who are advised when to put up a hand, but their brooding presence is felt.

Any Other Business can shake all that has passed on the agenda. Much is to be expected. An indrawing of breath at the Quota; the sound of fanciful notions being Christianly flattened by village common sense. Although it is ages since we had a real row, battles long ago echo in the subconscious. But on the whole our deliberations are reasonable if powerful.

The three venues are not without influence. Little Horkesley’s and Mount Bures’s are in Victorian schools which have been turned into village halls; Wormingford’s is in the cricket pavilion. At Little Horkesley there is a pound-in-the-slot meter which sets off a warm gale whose Pentecostal noise makes us speak up. At Mount Bures the windows are purpose-built high enough for the farmworkers’ children not to look out and thus daydream, a great crime. And at Wormingford cricketers creep in with sorries and pardons, looking for this or that. The respective clerks write it all down.

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