Time: 1:45, 20 minutes of which was Communion
Congregation: 105 according to Fr T (including choir and altar). All sorts. Beards, headscarves, people who come only a few times a year, people we’d never seen, babies, toddlers, teenagers, an old woman with a face lined by a lifetime of disapproving (who would have made me very insecure if there hadn’t been a great crowd of people between her and me most of the time).
Crew: Altar: Fr T and Fr W; 2 men and 1 boy as acolytes Choir: 7 (3 sopranos, 1 alternating S and A, 1 alto, 1 tenor, 1 bass)
Coordination: it’s hard to get a note from Fr W, but we managed most of the time. Lots of talking in the church too, which made it hard to listen.
Unexpectedly crowded– we’re used to Palm Sunday being well attended but this was amazing. Not that it even made a noticeable dent in the enormous supply of palm (well, box, clipped from someone’s hedge) fronds that we had this year because last year we were really short; most of the never-seen and few-times-a-year people apparently didn’t take any. And about 80% went to Communion, which made it a lengthy affair. Convenient for the choir, as there never needed to be more than one person absent.
At the consecration, so many people knelt that a choir-mate said “it’s like a mosque!” There’s officially no kneeling on Sundays because every Sunday we celebrate the Resurrection, but it’s done anyway; some people who come to church only on Sundays tend to do it. There’s one such woman who reaches out to Eastern European people (who usually haven’t had easy access to church, or to teaching about church things, in their native country) a lot, so they follow her example, and I think lots of people who come to church very infrequently thought “oh, the natives kneel, that’s what’s done” and followed their example, hence the domino effect.
I don’t know what the coming Holy Week will be about for me — that’s different every year — but this felt like the prologue for the enactment of high cosmic drama, more than any previous Palm Sunday that I can remember.