I was thinking the other day about a day in a life of a children's worker and Sunday 11th July probably summed it up totally and utterly. It was a normal all age service Sunday, you know putting things out in pews - related to things that would happen later in the service - making sure all the children were welcomed and that the children that were doing stuff in the service knew what they were doing and when. Then I led the service.
Now this is a new found role even though I've been in this church for 9 years it is only in recent months that the privilege has been left to me. Think of when you were a child and you were absolutely terrified of doing performances and the butterflies tornadoed around your stomach, well it's like that but you have the added bonus of if you actually do something wrong you probably will have it pointed out to you and made to feel like a small child who has just called an old relative batty, not realising that it was offensive or wrong and KABOOM. It will be remembered for the rest of your time at church. You will be know as Hannah, the one who swore whilst leading the service. That has to be my worst fear, but you'll be pleased to know that I didn't. Despite not remembering much of the service because I was nervous it went relatively smoothly.
This was promptly followed by the good ol' tea and coffee rota. Someone had a fantastic idea that the children and youth could serve the church on the Sunday's they were in church by clearing up cups AND washing them after the service - think it might have been my idea - whoops! So after much arm twisting and hair pulling - not literally - I managed to scrape the good old faithfuls from under the pews and encourage a servant heart whilst mean while I found myself banished to the kitchen surrounded by a sea of lovely black mugs, filled with coffee dregs and ingrained with sugar granuals. Boldly I set to work with the fairy in one hand and the cloth in the other. Thankfully before I was swollowed by 250 mugs I was rescued by a lovely lady. I emerged from the kitchen as gracefully as I could only to find most of the congregation gone.
Nearly everyone except for a small cluster hanging around a rather flustered looking fellow staff member who was exclaiming "You'll never guess what, the toilet is blocked!". In the back of my head I heard a voice "Go home you've got guests for dinner" "Go home, you've been here since 9" "Go home you were on night light last night and have serious lack of sleep issues". But I found my legs carrying me towards the toilets and inside I'm screaming "WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU IDIOT, YOU'RE NOT A PLUMBER!" and out of my mouth I heard "Well, we can't just leave it, we only have two toilets and there's the evening service and..."
So, I found myself standing by the toilet, staring at the bowl and the pile of obligatory toilet paper people feel they should put in the water whenever a toilet is blocked. I mean what are they thinking? Do they think that toilet paper has this magical power that can make what ever was under there disintegrate? Do they think if they hide what ever is under there no one will ever notice? Well they are wrong! I did the flush test. Yup, it was blocked and I was ready to run if it was to over flow but you'll be please to know I didn't have to - my bargain French Connection sandals were also please! Now my fellow staff member was brandishing a toilet brush at me and the toilet like it was a light saber here to save the day. Now I just need to take a moment to say I have a serious dislike for toilet brushes, they harbour germs, people do not keep them clean and they create an unsavoury stench! Back to my story, as I predicted the toilet brush did not help in the slightest so there was only one thing for it I was going to have to stick my hand down the toilet! So I armed myself with the marigolds, took a deep breath and stuck my hand down the toilet. I found a deposit in there, that you would expect to find, broke it down and flushed... The problem was not solved so after holding my breath and ignoring my wreching stomach I removed the deposit and delved deeper into the unknown of the church toilet. I was eventually struck with a sheer concern for the bowels of one unknown member of our congregation, who obviously needed serious prayer. What I could feel stuck in the U-bend was a very large and extremely hard object that was not going to move without some force. After some wiggling and yanking, some tut's of frustration and sighs of exasperation the object was released by the viscous toilet monster. I stood there like the statue of liberty holding her torch, like the winning world cup team parading their cup around, but instead I held in my hand and bitten apple. Yes you heard right, an apple! Some intelligent person obviously thought that this was a good idea even though there was a bin sat right next to the toilet.
After scrubbing my hand, retrieving my items that were scattered around the church I returned home to prepare a meal for a visiting drama company and some friends. Now the chicken had been in the oven since 9, so this made my timing perfect. It was 1 and the bird would be ready all I needed to do was remove it from the oven and replace it with my legendary yorkshire puddings. I pulled down the oven door only to be met by an uncooked bird, rather anaemic roast potatoes, whilst behind there's the rumbling stomachs of three flamboyant actors...and another, one house mate and one brother. 2 hours later, one struggling dead bird, twelve failed yorkshires, serveral pale potatoes and not quite cooked stuffing I think I can safely say that our cooker is broken.
What follows becomes a blur, I remember crunching some rather crunchy carrots, swigging a glass of Marks and Spencers house white, practising in the music group, hearing the service pass me by...
So my conclusion, I actually really love working for a church, who else gets such a varied job? Better to be a door keeper in the house of the Lord, what do you say?