There was quite a large congregation in church yesterday. As well as the usual suspects, there was a christening party, two couples hearing their banns read and a man, accompanied by two friends, whose late wife’s funeral was held here a couple of weeks ago.
Before the service, we served coffee to all comers. Most people clustered in the church rooms, later arrivals took their mugs into their pew (which they are welcome to do. I do it myself. I drink coffee during the sermon.).
The banns were read at the start of the service and the baptism, of two small children, came next. One of the betrothed couples used the opportunity to slip out. After the service, I counted the collection. There were some unfamiliar items: small denomination coins of French francs, Italian lira and Russian roubles. You will observe that some of these are obsolete and have been for some time.
We don’t take a collection. There is a plate at the back of the church. This is done, in part, so as not to embarrass non-regular churchgoers who might be caught out by a bag being passed round for money to be brought in. It should be, we think, freely given and not expected.
Now, I can see that someone might not want to put any money in the plate, but also not want to be seen not to, and therefore might put in something valueless. It’s pretty cheap – better to just pass the plate on – but I can see it. But this person actually put obsolete coins in his or her pocket – you don’t just happen to have a few lira in your bag, the Euro has been around too long for that – and, when he/she found that a collection was not taken, dumped them in any case. I suppose it was a deliberate insult, but for the life of me, I can’t see who the person was trying to insult, or why.