A tale of two vicars

I’m not sure about the ethics or the purpose of this story. Maybe its about making the invisible visible – in this case my experience and perception of the use of power in the everyday, micro aspects of life, and the effects it has on people (me!).

A few months ago I went to a wedding. At the start of the service the Vicar announced:

“Please don’t forget to turn your phones to silent. If you want to take photos, please do, just be mindful of those around you. There’s one condition though… please remember to send your snaps to the happy couple. I’m sure they’ll love to see them. As you can see there lots of lovely children about. Aren’t they wonderful?  Please bear with the odd commotion. Children are a blessing from God.”

More recently I was at a thanksgiving funeral service. I was asked by the family to take some photos. As I was preparing to do this outside, the Vicar of this church came running out. This was our exchange:

Vicar: What are you doing?

Me: I’ve been asked to take a few discrete photos.

Vicar: Not in the church.

Me: Okay. I’m only taking a few discrete photos outside.

Vicar: I don’t care how discrete you are, NOT in the church.

Me: I’m taking some photos outside.

Vicar: I don’t care! NOT in the church. Do you understand?

Me: Understood.

At the beginning of the service he announced “Please turn your mobile phones off and needless to say, photography is not allowed in church”.

These two encounters must have had an emotional effect on me. Otherwise, why am I still thinking about it and blogging about it now? How do I feel?

Well, I can’t wait to go back to the first church. That woman vicar was lovely and welcoming.

Conversely, I feel that I never want to step foot in this other church again… not while the current vicar is still there.

My wife, gracious as ever said “Don’t worry about it. He’s just being territorial.” All I can say is I hope God’s not territorial about heaven. If He is, me and my camera would not be welcome there.

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