Thank you Bath for being the setting of yet another happy family moment. Sadly it was also a farewell event as the occasion was our daughter’s graduation. After four happy years, the wider world beckons…
The day had all the necessary elements of a Bridge Family occasion. Dad: route-planning, time-keeping and weather-checking. Brother does ‘sleeping in the car’ and looking cool (if slightlycrumpled). Mum takes photographs.
(Twas always thus, we play to our strengths).
The other compulsory ingredients for a lovely day were also amply provided: strawberries and cream, marquee on the lawn, posh frocks, shoes that pinched, sunshine, great food, photographs, both official and informal, lots of smiling faces, flowers, music and beautiful, beautiful Bath Abbey.
I had commented to Emma beforehand that it would feel very strange to be in a place of worship for a completely secular ceremony. But thank you, Bath Abbey for not forgetting who you are and for not being afraid to remind your guests. With probably over a thousand people settled in their seats the vicar pastor the Reverend Claire Robson welcomed us with some house-keeping notices but then invited us into a moment of silence and prayer, reminding us of the source of all excellence and the appropriate use of all our talents. The resounding ‘Non-Amen’ (ie silence) at the end of a confidently delivered prayer revealed an audience either unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the concept. But full marks for her courage, there were at least two of us who joined her in the Amen! The rest of the ceremony followed on, completely secular as expected but, to my mind, so much richer for that reminder that we were in a place of worship.
I’m glad you appreciated the prayer, and very glad that you and your family had a day to remember. Jung had the text ‘Bidden or not bidden, God is present’ inside the front door of his home. We hope that Bath Abbey is a reminder to the city that God is indeed present. Praying in our non-liturgical events reminds us of that, and is something we feel very strongly about. We hope it never offends, and we know that it is often very much appreciated.
Crikey – Emma was only a toddler when I went off to university! I think this is the first grown-up photo I have ever seen of her! Feeling old now…