We were all quite fond of vicar Bob. He was a friendly and non-demanding presence in the life of
St Luke’s parish and Dad appreciated Bob’s enjoyment of a small glass of sherry whenever they met. And we all valued Bob’s carefully timed seven minute sermons; never more, never less.
This happy relationship endured for some years before Bob was transferred to another parish. The replacement vicar, Colin, was very much different from Bob. We were shocked to find that our new vicar thought that any drinking of alcohol was a sin. He discouraged parents from bringing any small children to services and his wife swiftly escorted mothers and their offspring to the back of the church building where there was a ‘crying room’ sectioned off.
This new vicar delivered the longest and most boring of sermons imaginable.
Although Dad continued to serve on the vestry, he soon became disgruntled. The crunch came
one Sunday morning, when, owing to the extreme length of the sermon, the Sunday school classes had been dismissed and there were children playing and chattering outside the church.
Colin, the vicar, stopped his preaching and ordered a church official to go outside and order the children to be quiet and, in fact, to move right away from the church building.
At the next vestry meeting, Dad asked to speak. He spoke of children and how one of the most
beautiful sounds in the world was the sound of children happily playing. He then handed in his letter of resignation from the vestry and the church, saying that any church that found the laughter and chatter of children to be offensive was no church of his.
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