Here at MHU (Most Holy and Undivided), we are blessed with very nice acoustics, a good pipe organ, and an exceptionally fine grand piano (IN the sanctuary. This is important). We live and move and have our being in reasonable proximity to Major Provincial University...and its Music Department. We also, here in Prairie Metropolis, enjoy what we like to think is a disproportionate abundance of other musical activity, interest, energy, and so on.
Not surprisingly, then, MHU hears a lot of music. Not just on Sunday morning, not just liturgical music and hymns, but concerts and recitals. Some of them we actually sponsor, as part of our community outreach. Some of them we co-host with other music-loving groups. And some of them we just "house"...making space and instruments available for a nominal donation (and sometimes support "in kind" -- "Yes, you may have your recital here, and would you come next summer a couple of times and provide some music for our services while the choir's on break?")
A nice, cheerful, above board kind of symbiosis between church and musicians.
Now (cue scary minor chords)...some weeks back we got a request to use our sanctuary for a "piano workshop and concert." IN THOSE PRECISE TERMS. Permission granted, although the person making the enquiry was not previously known to us.
A little potential awkwardness as we will have Boy Scouts (and all that that entails) in our Lower Hall, right under the nave, doing-what-they-do in honour of Baden-Powell, until about 3 p.m. But the workshop/concert would take place upstairs, after all, so if the Boy Scouts could keep all the grand-howling within limits, there shouldn't be a problem, right?
Earlier this week, alas, their poster, large, elaborate, expensively produced, appears on our narthex bulletin board. Aha -- this is a piano workshop only in a very limited sense. This is actually an ARCHANGEL WORKSHOP, in which the presenter will give out with the message she personally received from an archangel seen -- by her personally -- in the sky over Prairie Metropolis, and then will choose attendees at random, and her co-conspirator will CHANNEL a special archangel melody for the selected person. While I am still reeling from this, the woman herself arrives with friend to take publicity pics, and I find her posturing about IN THE CHANCEL, wafting her sleeves about in a presumably archangelic fashion. So I roust them from that. But I am still hoping for the best, or the least, or the most poorly attended, for the *&^%$ workshop, when I get the media release, with the details above and more besides.
So I have told them they have a choice -- workshop etc. in the Lower Hall, or ELSEWHERE altogether. They opted, with much whining, for the Lower Hall, protesting that they had been very clear about what their event was all about -- it's the MENDACITY of it that is getting to me. Just on the point of excreting pocket change from various orifices, here.
One of my colleagues found an "angel altar" set up in a parishioner's home when he visited. He knocked it over, without hesitation. I wish I had that kind of reflex!