Sunday we had large congregations in all our services. In the morning Sarah traveled to Bjorelvnes (Lenvik Church), whilst Susanna and I went to Gibostad. We had requests for Sarah to play at both services because she has a much better singing voice than me, so we compensated Gibostad by having Susanna provide the vocal lead. The two buildings are less than a mile apart across the sea, but about an hours drive! Local confirmands were heavily involved in both services and the clergy had selected a good mix of traditional and contemporary music, so there was a real ‘buzz’ about worship and people seemed much more engaged than usual. The organ at Gibostad currently has a sticky note, rendering it unusable, so I used a ‘sampled’ organ (every note is a recording of a real pipe) on my computer, linked to a digital keyboard, and afterwards a number of people commented that ‘the organ sounded good today’ – don’t tell the pipe organ lobby!
In the afternoon we had a family service in Finnsnes. All local four year olds were invited to come to church and receive a book, and barnekor (childrens’ choir) sang, so again we had a lot of people with us. I was slightly alarmed to learn that despite a church full of 4 year olds, the preacher intended using the set texts for the day, first dramatising, then read again in it’s entirety! My concern was Acts 8: 26 – 37, entitled Filip og den Etiopiske Hoffmannen. ‘Hoffman’ is not an everyday word (even the mighty google translate doesn’t have it), nor is it a subject for discussion over middag (evening meal), so I was imagining the scene when after church 25 inquisitive 4 year olds get home, sit down for family supper with grandma, and pop the question, ‘Mummy, what’s a hoffman?’. Worse still was my apprehension over what might be found in the skattekiste (a treasure chest which the children open in church to give clues about the readings and sermon subject).
The service passed off without incident, and in the joyful chaos I don’t think most of the younger children picked up the details. We’ve had no feedback from the parents, so I guess no news is good news!
Pictures from Gibostad Kappel, the view from Gibostad to Bjorelvnes (Lenvik church), and family worship in Finnsnes: