I enter Clayfield Uniting Church and the minister regards me with slight suspicion. A flutter of nervousness crosses his face.
You see the minister of this church is my father, Chris Holden.
I had slept in (reoccurring theme for me on Sundays) and I hadn’t made it to the 9:30 am service I was planning to attend at another church. So at the last minute I tracked down Dad – “I’m coming to your service this morning – hope that’s ok!”
I can imagine his thought process at that moment – mentally reviewing his choice of music and order of service. He seemed to give himself a mental nod of approval and a “no worries” to me.
Of course Dad loves it when I attend his service, but I think when your daughter starts a blog reviewing church services then you can’t help but view the visit in a slightly different light.
A Small, Authentic Group
Clayfield Uniting has one service in the mornings at 10 am (perfect for me) and since it starts later it never runs for too long, often around one hour or just over.
It’s a small congregation comprised mostly of over 50s. Today there are around 25 people present including two young families with small children.
As usual, the service offers a mix of ‘modern’ Christian songs (think post 1960s) and traditional hymns. The first is a classic: “Today I Awake” (Iona Community).
An organist and pianist provide the music and mostly complement one another. Though I get the sense that a small battle for tempo occurs each Sunday.
I realise that I’m in my early 30s and I’m supposed to like the music designed for young people – you know, the Hillsong stuff. But honestly, I have a very big soft spot for the traditional hymns.
I do have the music for “How Great Thou Art” tattooed on my back, after all.