wordsout by Godfrey Rust                                       Occasional pieces for St Johns  HOME   

Welcome Reverend Pete

on the occasion of Peter McKenzie’s Collation, May 2008, to a calypso tune of generic structure

Well I had to come when I heard the news,
they said get to St Johns cos they’re filling the pews,
they said the Bishop’s going to do some collating and then
I said “Oh no the photocopier’s not broken again?” 
They said no we got to tell you confidentially
they’re wearing robes for the first time this century—
all the diocese is in a total frenzy
cos today is the induction of Peter MacKenzie! 

Oh welcome Reverend Pete!
You know the word is on the street
we got a surplice of clergy from the chancel to the ceiling.
You’ve come a long way here for your ministry
from beyond the Hangar Lane gyratory:
you’ve had a Harrowing time but now its time for Healing.

Well the search for a vicar went far and wide
we combed the streets and the countryside—
you could tell that the hunt was getting desperate when
we even put an ad in the CEN.  
Cos when a church like this has lost its Will
it's hard to find a man or a woman to fit the bill:
there’s two things you need, and here’s the truth—
that’s a Scottish surname and a wife called Ruth.
So welcome Reverend Pete,
our search is now complete
because you’ve come to save our souls and cure our ills den.
And the St John church got a brand new boss
but tho his name is Sterling he won’t gather no moss
because he knows you got to answer for that to the man from Willesden. 

You’ll find your staff so loyal and they know your worth
and they’ll follow you to the ends of the earth
(in fact they’ve put into practice immediately
one's going to live in New Zealand and one in Frinton-on-Sea).
Oh yes we’re running out of clergy and I’m feeling sick
I thought I’d missed the rapture cos they’re leaving so quick
but you and Mark and Dave will get along just fine
and you should meet Tom—he’ll turn up sometime
You gotta do your homework when you preach the word
cos there’s not many sermons that they haven’t heard
I don’t say you need to have a lot of knowledge
but when the last one left they sent him back to college.—
So keep a cool cool head is my advice—
this church is so fiery that it burn down twice—
but the people want to grow spiritually.
They want to hear the word of God from you
the lay preachers are fine and their teaching’s true
And Mark Sheard sometimes finishes as early as half past three.

Well now you got a congregation or two—
not so much a flock, more a farmyard or zoo—
St John’s got a fellowship or three
and there’s the church of St James of Sainsbury.
Well the Burmese fellowship meet downstair,
and the Arabic church with their singing and prayer—
we’re a Pentecostal place you see,
you gotta speak in tongues to get a cup of tea 

Theres Café Church, and I go there,
and theres a place called the Maze but I ain’t got enough hair,
all the fresh expressions they rolling on and on.
So Welcome Reverend Pete,
you know we think it’s really neat
that you should leave the Church of England and come here to St John.

Well nine vicars have been the prime minister here
so we say welcome to Number 10 its clear
you’ve been induced and collated to the ministry
in this corner of postmodernity.
We don’t expect miracles all the time
we’re OK with water and we’re fine with wine
we just want to see Jesus is alive
in W7 13 and 5.

Welcome to you and your family
Abigail and Anna and Ruth makes three—
and what I say I say for all of us with feeling:
Welcome Reverend Pete,
take up the Mercy and the Judgment Seat

you’ve done the Harrowing, so let’s get on with Healing!

Performed during the Collation of the Rev Peter Mackenzie as vicar of St Johns, West Ealing by Bishop Pete of Willesden, 12 May 2008.