for the
Family Service
St. Augustine's

2009 April 5

These are notes and comments on some of the items which appear in the Family Carol Service script. Links from the script point to these entries; clicking the links in the left hand column of the table takes you back to the corresponding link in the script - or, where more than one link from the script points to the note, back to the first such link.

The comments are typically related to features of the service which are specific to our church or the time of the service, or which for some other reason we think might require alteration for another setting.

For references to the internal geography of the church, it might be helpful to inspect the plan.

  • PALM BRANCHES : two forming arch under cross at front, two forming arch at back in front of baptistry.
  • Smaller palm branches at back for all to carry round church.
  • Palm crosses in bowl on altar for blessing, and handing out at the end of the service.
  • CLOAKS with each "family" in their pew.
  • Sheep faces mounted on stirrer sticks for sheep ready near front to stick on altar rail organ side during procession.
  • Dove pictures on barbecue sticks stuck in polystyrene ready near front to be moved onto altar rail on Hospital side during procession.
  • Whip near front for Jesus to pick up during "money changers" story.
  • Money, rattles, card table, for "money changers" story at front at Hospital side ready to put in place during procession.
  • Two chairs at Hospital side, near lectern, for reader/narrator/minister to sit on.
  • 'Reserved' notices
    • in front pew - Organ side - for Jesus and the disciples;
    • in front pew - Hospital side for Family 1;
    • in third pew - Organ side for Family 2;
    • in back pew - Organ side for Family 3.
    ( The positions listed are those which we used. They are determined by the organisation of Jesus's triumphal entry into Jerusalem; work out how you're going to manage that before settling the reserved seats. )
  • Minister at lectern;
  • Computer person at computer;
  • Organist at organ;
  • People to hand out orders of service and liturgy books at the beginning of the service ( we hand them out as the people enter the church );
  • Jesus and some disciples sit in front pew - organ side;
  • Family groups ready in Reserved seats;
  • James and John at the back.

CARD TABLE - or other smallish, light, but sturdy table. It is the money-changers' table, and must withstand being knocked over without damage.
CLOAKS These are for the "families" to lay in front of Jesus during his triumphal entry to Jerusalem. They need not be very elaborate; ours were roughly doormat-sized pieces of cloth, plausibly patterned.

COLLECTION A consequence of the change in nature of the family services on their absorption into the ordinary weekly services.

That also accounts for the baptism which follows.

CU COO Not "cuckoo". "Coo coo" might be a better way to write it. The cuckoo's sound is tuneful, with two short tones of distinct pitches; each part of the dove's ( or pigeon's ) sound is somewhat descending in pitch, comparatively drawn out - perhaps one second each - and somewhat gurgly. And some doves say "Coo coo coo".
DONKEY Our donkey was imaginary. This is not ideal; it is very hard for Jesus to act the appearance of riding a donkey without one. We considered using a small toy donkey, but we could think of no way in which Jesus could even slightly convincingly appear to be riding it; a model donkey approaching life size might work, but we didn't have one, and we thought it important to avoid any caricature which might make Jesus look silly.
DOVE PICTURES Pictures of doves mounted on sticks. The picture shows them presented ready for collection; the ends of the sticks are stuck into a polystyrene foam block.
FLAG In the left-hand corner, behind the altar. The flag is an accident; we inherited it from the navy, who administered the church for some time.
JELLY BEAN TIME A ( new and welcome ) regular feature of our morning service; anyone who's had a birthday or other significant event in the last week is rewarded with a jelly bean.
NEW ZEALAND PRAYER BOOK In fact, we use an excerpt from the New Zealand Prayer Book called "Liturgies of the Eucharist", with the same page numbers.
MONEY Coins; we don't think that banknotes were current in Jerusalem then, and anyway coins make a more impressive noise. There must be sufficient to make a noise when rattled or spilt, but not so many that they'd take too long to pick up. We used someone's collection of foreign coins.
MOSTLY PICKED UP We found it convenient for the Moneychangers to complete the picking up as the performance continues, and also to stand up the table and place the money on it; it's then ready for them to carry out when everyone returns to their seats.
PALM BRANCHES These are standard features of our Palm Sunday decoration in the church. They are good-sized ( 3-4 m ) fronds from a Phoenix palm formed into two arches, one behind the altar and one at the back of the church. The picture illustrates the idea; we usually have significantly more vigorous branches, but these were the best we could manage this year.
RATTLES The coins look pretty, but aren't noisy enough. The "rattles" are something which the moneychangers can use to make a loud noise suggestive of coins being used. We used small tambourines. ( This is for dramatic effect only - we do not suggest that the moneychangers of Jesus's time used rattles. )
RIDES THE DONKEY We had hoped that "Jesus" would be able to mime riding a donkey. We were disappointed; the best we could manage was a slow walk. We'd originally intended to have some sort of model of a donkey, but it didn't happen.
SHEEP FACES Pictures of sheep's faces, about the size of a human face, each mounted on card and glued to a short handle. The "sheep people" collect these and proceed to the back of the church holding them in front of their faces and saying "Baa". It's amusing and effective.

Each of our sheep faces had a blob of Blutack on the back to attach it to the altar rail ( as in the picture ). ( "Blutack" is the trade name of a sort of adhesive non-drying putty; it is useful for sticking light objects together temporarily. )

WHIP We used a plausible-looking whip which we had available. It isn't a "whip made of cords", as required by the text, but no one complained.