We’ve been in the new-to-us vicarage now for just over a month, and I’m into week two of being the vicar. (And have already taken one funeral, received a wedding enquiry and three baptism requests!)

My new role as vicar here began with a formal church service,  – a service of induction, collation and installation. It was a formal occasion, yet also a relaxed and joyous celebration. There were many words of welcome. I was taken on a journey around the church, where representatives from the five parishes in the benefice presented me with symbols of ministry: a jug of water by the font; oil of healing; a bible; a prayer book; bread and wine.

The final hymn was ‘Lord of the Dance’, accompanied by the irrepressible Old Mettle Dance Band.

It was wonderful, and sad, with friends old and new, more goodbyes and fare-wells, more thank-yous and smiles, more introductions and ‘three cheers for the vicar’! More tea and cake and wine.

A great way to begin, as another door opens.

Cropredy Vicarage

Cropredy Vicarage

They cut me down and I leapt up high;
I am the life that’ll never, never die.
I’ll live in you if you’ll live in me:
I am the Lord of the dance, said he.

Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the dance, said he,
And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be,
And I’ll lead you all in the dance, said he.

(words written by Sydney Carter in 1963)

Sydney Carter wrote:

I see Christ as the incarnation of the piper who is calling us. He dances that shape and pattern which is at the heart of our reality… I sing of the dancing pattern in the life and words of Jesus. ..Sometimes, for a change I sing the whole song in the present tense. ‘I dance in the morning when the world is begun…’. It’s worth a try.