I’m not sure how best to describe it. Words like “plague” or “ infestation” don’t seem quite appropriate, and anyway, are probably sacrilegious. “Visitation” is probably safest if I want to avoid divine retribution.
Basically, St Mark’s is full of angels.
It all began a couple of months ago. We had our mini arts and music festival (“Arts at St Marks”) in October. After this was cleared away, the church looked a bit bare. Lesley S then came up with the idea of filling the place with angels during Advent. Shortly after that, Alison R hit upon “Realms of Glory” as a title for the theme. I announced it for a few weeks during November and then it happened. The angels started to fly in…
The first ones to arrive were a trio from Margaret. I’d previously announced that I’d like some to be flying above us, suspended from the cross ties below the ceiling. These seemed perfect for the job, so on the Monday morning, with the ladder firmly secured in place, I draped my old climbing rope over the tie and hauled the first angel up. This produced a certain silence from Lesley and Margaret. It really didn’t look like an angel. It looked quite scary. The juxtaposition of the ladder, rope and body also looked like we’d just lynched our first victim.
Just then, one of the mothers from Surrey slings came in and said, quite accurately, that it looked like one of Harry Potter’s dementors. A certain amount of hysterical laughter followed.
As we didn’t want people to go away with nightmares, we found a more benign location, on the wall behind the keyboard, where they look suitably angelic and not at all threatening.
However, this was just the start. We had a whole load more angels arrive from Hale Beavers and then the floodgates opened. They’re everywhere. Each time I go up to the church more have arrived. They’re on windowsills, dangling from the projector screen and almost everywhere else. We’ve even got a life-size (?) one standing by the entrance to welcome visitors to the church.
The overall effect is quite remarkable. Combined with the wall hangings, the Amnesty “Candles of Hope” paintings around the chancel and the traditional Christmas decorations, the place looks vibrant and an exciting place, where things are happening. Our thanks and congratulations to everyone who has contributed. It has turned out to be an exceptional tribute to people’s creativity, sense of belonging and pride in the church.
There is much nonsense talked about the spirit of Christmas. However, in some small way I think we can see an example of it here.