Sherry & Schwartz

Sherry – as in the alcoholic beverage usually served pre-dinner. Never drunk it myself, being more of a Gin and Slim kind of girl.

Schwartz – the award-winning composer of fabulous musicals, most specifically Wicked.

Neither, if I’m honest, are things I’d expect to find at church on a Sunday morning.

This month, I’ve got to spend my Sundays visiting a church that’s somewhat different to my usual place of worship. The Church of England is a spectrum of worship styles and theological traditions – my church exists at one end of it. Therefore I’ve been tasked with exploring a church that’s towards the opposite end of the spectrum.

There was nothing particularly alien about the church – it was harvest festival, there were small children dressed up as vegetables (don’t get me started on the child wearing a pumpkin mask…), there were smells but no bells and lots of robes.

Browsing through the order of service while waiting for it to kick off, I made a surprising discovery. The anthem (during which the harvest gifts would be brought forward) was written by Stephen Schwartz. What on earth was a piece by a musical theatre legend doing in the middle of a High Church service?

Ok, so it was from Godspell and it was a version of the harvest classic ‘We Plough the Fields and Scatter’ – so it possibly was apt, but let’s just also say that it was perhaps indicative of the inclusive nature of the church.

The order of service also mentioned the post-service refreshments. Regular church attenders will be familiar with the standard of beverage usually available – over-brewed tea, coffee of a dubious nature and intensely strong squash. There’ll usually be some biscuits, but the zealous children of the parish will have swiped the plate as soon as it appears.

It’s not often that there’s booze on offer. Wine at the abbey last Easter – fair enough; post-evening service welcome drinks seem logical; and carol services wouldn’t be complete without mulled wine. But sherry, at 11am? That’s a new one on me – oh, and there were two varieties (sweet or dry) on offer.

Still, that’s notched up another 2010 First. Not sure that sherry will become a regular fixture on my alcoholic beverages list, but who knows – maybe I’ll grow accustomed to it over the next three Sundays? 


  1. Don’t tell anyone okay, because I’m not THAT old, but I quite like a dry sherry.

    (When we go to Bangkok Nursing Home to sing carols they always give us sherry and mince pies… and I rather enjoy the sherry. Not the mince pies as they are REPULSIVE.)

  2. Tells you something about hte company I keep that, when its requested, I ask my friends if they wish ‘church strength’ squash and they know what I mean..

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