If you live in the village you'll have heard the church bells ringing a lot this summer for weddings. It will happen even more in 2012 when no less than 37 bookings have been made! The pressure is now easing off with only about nine more to go in 2011. I say 'pressure' because there is quite a team of people involved in providing a memorable day for the couples. Carolyne Gregory and Jim deal with the bookings side; Mike Wood writes up the registers; Richard, the choir and Chris are on duty on the day itself; Geoff has quite a bit of work to allocate the fees; Vicky Hunton and the bell ringers are usually called upon of course; Wendy Lomas and her colleague sometimes provide flowers; and Sharon, our cleaner, gets the place neat ands tidy both before and after. I hope I haven't forgotten anybody! Except me, of course.
Is all this work worth it? Quite apart from anything else, it is if the bride and groom have a great day. But there are longer term benefits as well. Social research indicates that children living with married parents have, on average, happier and more secure childhoods than those that don't. One must be careful with both averages and individuals of course. Not every marriage is happy and by means all children with a divorce in the background or brought up by single parents do worse. But overall, marriage seems to work. As Christians, we also believe it to be God's will. So it is surely right for our church to work hard to bring this about.
It is also true that the income derived from the weddings is of benefit to Holy Trinity and we are grateful to couples for 'voting with their feet' and choosing us. For a number of years now, church rules have made it much easier for them to choose their venue, this partly being a response to the growing popularity of weddings in hotels etc. Being faced with a lot of Victorian rules doesn't write 'Welcome' on the mat.
However, at bottom, the church's purpose is neither to turn a profit nor social engineering. It is to encourage belief in God. Most couples have to attend church prior to their wedding and, apart from it being nice to have some younger people with us, one also hopes that they will leave with slightly more knowledge of what the Christian faith is and the difference it might make to one's life. 30, or rather 60, conversions a year are not practical politics! But, who knows, some of them might wish later on to join a church and the grounding we offer will give them a better start. And, the icing on the cake, every year some of those who come to marry stay to pray. That is wonderful and, for me, it makes it all worthwhile.
During September another series of events will bring many people to Holy Trinity. This is the Music Festival from Tuesday 20th to Saturday 24th. See what's on, and maybe come yourself. And, the usual problem I'm afraid, we could do with some people prepared to volunteer to come and serve tea and biscuits at each event. If you feel able to help, please sign the list in church or have a word with Richard Taylor or me.
Richard tells me that Roy Sagar, who often plays the organ when he is away, has kindly donated a piano stool to the church. He has recovered it in fine leather and it is very nice addition. We are very grateful.
Otherwise, towards the end of this month, look out for the Harvest Supper. It is always a jolly occasion and Wendy will be selling tickets as usual.
It has been very nice to see Jean Oliver in church again and also at other events, such as the Trinity Ladies tea at the garden centre. She has now perfected the art of sliding from wheelchair to car and vice versa and, thanks to kind people, is able to come out and pick up a bit of normal life, which must be very nice for her. Jean is also much happier now she has moved to a new and smaller home on the outskirts of Brampton. Maybe there's a lesson for us all here. When something goes wrong, it isn't the end, just a change of life.