Carnage at Diocesan Synod!
Nasty minister causes GBH to defenceless lady!
Blood spilt at church gathering!
The headlines kinda write themselves… let me explain. Today was my chance to share the vision for The Dock at Diocesan Synod, a yearly gathering of clergy and church leaders from Down and Dromore Diocese (of which The Dock is part). All was going swimmingly until I put into action a cunning new part of the vision presentation: using actual vegetables to illustrate the idea of a medley (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzZaF5tWgjs).
With my customary dexterity and physical co-ordination, I chucked sample vegetables to members of the audience; carrots, cauliflowers, onions and broccoli flew through the air with the greatest of ease. But, in agonising slow-mo (or at least that’s the way I remember it), the final vegetable – a parsnip – flew through the air only to smack into the glasses of a lady sitting near the back of the hall. Confusion reigned and for the second half of the presentation I was dimly aware of people clustering around the stricken lady, looking distressed; sure enough, after Synod was over, my poor victim came up to show me an impressive shiner and a little cut sustained as a result of my efforts.
I am so, so sorry.
To my deep and lasting relief, the lady in question was lovely, and even assured me that she was taking the parsnip home to cook it for dinner tonight. But nothing can change the fact that (as far as I am aware) I am the first person to cause actual physical harm to another member of a Synod gathering; today might also go down in history as the first-ever Synod involving injury and bloodshed. I am clearly mad, bad and dangerous to know.
It was all the more humbling then, and profoundly moving, to be prayed for in person at the end of Synod by the whole gathering – a real moment of encouragement. But somehow I have a sneaking feeling that The Parsnip Incident will be my abiding memory of the day for years to come…