wordsout by godfrey rust
< st john's ealing >

St Mellitus' Dance

for John Hereward, on the occasion of his leaving St John's in
1995 to be vicar of St Mellitus down the road. To a calypso tune

Well I just came in from my allotment
'cause I hear the news and got to find out 
     what meant—
we got a new vicar so I came to see
just what kind of person he might be.
Well I know St John's has got a lot of style
and all the people are smart and the clergy smile
so two things are sure: one is he’ll preach
     with passion
and the other is he’ll be a leader of fashion.
Well down at St Mellitus
perhaps we haven’t always been too righteous
so I guess it must be our fair reward
that our vicar’s going to be John Hereward.

I heard that Janet & John lived in Hong Kong
till they called one day said we’ve been here
     too long
we want a job to work in healing
but the line was bad so they were sent to Ealing
They came to St John and did their time—
they thought the doctor could curate and he
     turned out fine—
and he must have had a lot of souls to save
because never quite found time to shave.
Now he’s coming to St Mellitus
with a mission to unite us.
I’m sure St John's will get by somehow
although there’s something quite fishy about
     it now.

Well everybody’s got a gift or two
and brings to a church something special
     and new
but this vicar’s style is a great sensation—
he comes complete with his own congregation!
And just like Joshua marchin’ round Jericho
he’s led by musicians wherever he go.
It goes to show you’re never alone
with 7 worship leaders 6 singers 5 guitars 4
pianists 3 basses 2 drummers and someone who
     occasionally plays the saxophone.
Down at St Mellitus
all the harmony will delight us
while back at St John's the church is full
led by a music group playing the triangle.

Well I know its nice to have a pet or two
and a dog or a cat can be good for you
but I think it taking things a bit too far
to have your afternoon with a tarantula.
They’ve got hamsters mice and budgies
     and rabbits
and lots of insects with un-Anglican habits
and the vicarage has been renamed the Ark
and they’re holding Communions in the
     Bunny Park<.
He’s coming to St Mellitus—
I hope his visual aids dont fright us—
he can keep the congregation wide awake
when he illustrate the Fall with a real live snake.

At St Mellitus we don’t mind preachin’
to reach the parts that other vicars ain’t reachin’:
a seven point sermon is a piece of cake
and to miss out exegesis is a big mistake.
So we’re all prepared for bible learnin’
with the notebooks out and the pages turnin’
trying to solve the greatest mystery of the day
of why every point always begins with J.
When he speaks at St Mellitus
we’re expecting him to excite us—
they say that Mr Hereward is the clearest
     of blokes
as long as somebody else can explain his jokes.

So it’s a mixture of earth and heaven
in this little patch of W7—
you’ll get a bit of Toronto Blessing around
with a lot of Hanwell Messing around.
We’re not expecting miracles or tongues of fire
(even though this vicar looks a bit like Isaiah)
just say the prayer and light the candles
and walk on water in a pair of sandals.
He’s coming to St Mellitus—
we’re thinking that he’ll ignite us—
but most of all I hope secretly
he’ll be a normal person—just like me!

Performed in the lounge at St John's, West Ealing on May 5, 1995. John had been curate at St John's, and then in charge during an interregnum after Stan Dakin's departure, before he left to become vicar of nearby St Mellitus. Both John and his wife Janet are medical doctors, and their four children all have names beginning with "J".