A view backstage at Beverley Minster

A Rose by any other name

Beverley Minster virger Neil Pickford makes a few changes.
Right, first of all, hands up everyone who noticed that my moniker has changed. Yes, I, Neil Pickford, nee ‘Mister Minster’ am now ‘A View from the Vestry’ This was because we feared that some people would think my views on subjects such as stacking chairs in the Minster, cleaning the toilets or the shallowness of a Google-ised view of the world were actually official pronouncements instead of wry observations from someone clearly in the category of ‘downstairs’ in the Church of England. Hopefully all ambiguity is now banished and you can continue to read this column in the certain knowledge that it is not officially approved in any way.
Actually, before I get to the theme of this weeks sermon (sorry, sorry, I got carried away there), I’d just like to share one example of downstairs-related madness with you. I had to buy some new sponge mop heads for we virgers to use (oh, can’t you just picture the incredible glamour of my job) and so I did. £2.99 each – fair enough. But then I looked along the row and saw complete mops (including apparently identical sponge heads) for only £1.99. What should I do? Buy three of the cheaper complete mops and save the Minster £3, knowing that the handles will have to be chucked out with the sponge, or save the planet and lose £3.
There, you see, it’s not only the vicar who has to grapple with major moral dilemmas. Luckily, however, I don’t have to admit which course of action I followed and so, like the coward that I am, I won’t.
However, back to my theme of change – and to illustrate my point I must tell you that the editions of Songs of Praise and Antiques Roadshow which were filmed in Beverley Minster in May are now scheduled for 10th October, not this coming Sunday as first announced. Naturally this information arrived from the BBC a mere 30 seconds after a previous Beverley Advertiser had gone to press with the old date but, hey, that’s life. I shall just have to work out how to reprogramme my DVD recorder for the new one.
Anyway, ‘moving on’, as they say in TV land, or at least that bit of it populated by Top Gear presenters.
By the time you read this the school summer holidays will have just one more weekend to go and the pattern of life will be, in very subtle ways, starting to change as millions of people prepare to plough new academic fields.
Whether it’s merely moving up a class along with all the other classmates from the previous year, or changing schools/academic institution (delete which is appropriate) the theme is change. But, while the focus is on those making the transition from one to the next please spare a thought for those of us on the receiving end – if you like, the passive recipients.
Look, for example, at our youth group for teens, Emmaus. Intended for schoolchildren in Year 9 and upwards we’ve obviously just seen a whole year group vanish as most move on to different universities or other post-school roles  – which means that an entire generation who had grown used to helping out with things such as the Youth and Night Cafes (and on whom Youth Minster Lee Kirkby had grown used to relying) has vanished. Maybe some will still be around but, in effect, the old days are over.
It’s always fascinating to see who from the next year group will be ready to step up to the frame and take over – possibly even improve on what’s been done before. A vacuum of responsibilities has been created into which the next generation can grow. And seeing young people develop and mature as individuals, taking on responsibilities and learning about leadership – changing for the better, in other words, what could be better?
Still, that’s only my personal view.
First published August 2010 


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