Keys to two churches

For an hour or two yesterday (Friday 11th December) I had in my pockets the keys to our local (Anglican) parish church and our local Methodist church. This wasn’t so much an attempt to be ecumenical, admirable though such an ambition might be, as a matter of timing. Two very different commitments had chanced to coincide.

On Friday mornings I usually take one or two old people from the town to the Methodist church coffee room so they have an opportunity to socialize. The stewards of the church therefore know me. I took advantage of this when we were seeking a venue for a stage version of The Snow Queen, which has been adapted by my friend and fellow-author Pam Turton from Hans Andersen’s celebrated tale: I booked the Methodist church hall for our final rehearsals and the performances. 9We plan two performances, 22-23 January 2016, all the actors and dancers being pupils from the local secondary school. Our friend Margaret Holbrook and I will take the narrator parts.) Our first run-through in the hall with both actors and dancers will be next Wednesday, December 16th, so yesterday morning (the 11th) I borrowed the key to the church from the steward responsible for it. I’m due to return it on the 17th, the day after that rehearsal. Key number one.

Yesterday evening I was at our Glossop Concert Society Christmas Concert in the parish church – piano music and songs by Schubert and Schumann, performed by the wonderful Viv MacLean and the great soprano Claire Surman, with an all-star line-up (including Viv once again) playing Schubert’s ‘Trout’ Quintet in the second half. Along with two other trustees of the Society I had the task of ushering our Sponsors and Friends to their reserved seats and steering them round the sound recordist, whose maze of equipment will – we hope – in due course yield a CD of the concert. After the performance, a reception for the performers, Friends and Sponsors was held in the local pub, so of course most of the trustees went there immediately. I stayed behind in the church to help the sound recordist dismantle his equipment and ferry it out to his car, a task that took almost an hour, so of course I had to take charge of the key to the church so I could lock up after we’d finished. Key number two.

So when I finally made it to the reception in the local pub, at almost 11 p.m., I had the keys to two different churches in my pocket. In the pub I immediately handed over the parish church key to our artistic director, the amazing Tom Elliott, so the two-key situation was quite transient. But I was left wondering whether it was unprecedented. It’s certainly never happened to me before.

In a way, I’m sorry my pockets are now one key lighter. However, I still have the Methodist church key, so until next Thursday I won’t feel deprived.

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