wordsout by godfrey rust
< st john's ealing >

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 John 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
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
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
You gotta do your homework when you preach
     the word
cos there’s not many sermons that they haven’t 
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 
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 

There's Café Church, and I go there,
and there's 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.