Christmas dinner in church

I know where I should be grazing this Christmas, thanks to the Archbishop of York:

We are so lucky in this country to have churches that are nearer our homes than most supermarkets. I encourage you to take advantage of that this Christmas.

Unfortunately there’s no way he can be referring to the Queen’s churches, which take more food than they give, and the Catholics are just as bad. The best Christmas meal I’ve ever had in a church was in North Philly, where I had gone wandering one December Sunday afternoon. The sun disappeared quite quickly while I was in a neighbourhood I didn’t know, and some of the attention I was getting convinced me that it was time to get out.

Unfortunately I lost my bearings, and the future was looking distinctly gloomy when I came on a wooden church from which I could hear singing. I scuttled up the steps and inside (“That’ll be $2, please”) and found a large congregation engaged in their annual jamboree. I was ushered into the back row, along with the mentally handicapped and everyone else who it was assumed would be unable to clap rhythmically. Lots of people got up and sang solos, most of them very badly–I got the impression the choir director didn’t know what he was up to–but the octogenarian star of the show gave three spectacular performances of My Way (not Moo Way), taking it up a tone each time. At the end there was fried chicken for all and a lift back to town from a slightly nonplussed parishioner.

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