1968, here we come!

As years go, 1968 was a biggie. Bobby Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King were assassinated. There was rioting in the streets at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and poor people marched on Washington. In Vietnam, there was the My Lai massacre and the Tet Offensive. Dr. Christian Barnard performed the first successful heart transplant. The first Big Mac was served, and it cost 49 cents. The Beatles released the White Album. 

And here at St. James, we installed a new pipe organ in our 1-year-old worship space. 

Now, 50 years later, we want to celebrate that anniversary, and that remarkable year.  

Thus, we are declaring Sunday, Oct. 14, to be “Throwback Sunday.” On that day, we will celebrate like it’s 1968 once again. For our worship service that morning, we’re going to re-create, as best we can, what a worship service at St. James would have been like in 1968. That means we’ll be using the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, and singing songs from the 1940 Hymnal. And I am so in hopes people will dress the way you did in 1968. Mini-skirts and bell bottoms are totally welcome that day! 

I confess, not being a cradle Episcopalian myself, I don’t believe I have ever seen a service from the 1928 Prayer Book, and have only the vaguest of memories of hearing a priest announce the “Banns of Marriage” between so-and-so and so-and-so, back when I was in college. As I began putting the service together last week, I kept stifling gasp after gasp:


“Why on earth are the announcements between the gospel and the sermon?” 

“Where’s the Old Testament lesson?”

“When do I break the bread???” 

I DO sort of remember seeing the priest turn his back to me a lot, and wondering what was causing all the arm-flapping underneath the chasuble. I guess what I’m saying is, there are no guarantees we’ll get this exactly right, but we’re going to try. And whether seeing a service from the old Prayer Book will bring back fond memories for you or will just be a strange and confusing experiment, I hope you’ll enter into this with an open mind and joyful heart.

After our very old-fashioned worship service, we’ll adjourn to the Parish Hall for our monthly potluck breakfast, and have as our guest speaker someone who would have been here in 1968. Hazel Heckers is the daughter of John Heckers, a former Senior Warden of St. James. She’s now a Victim Advocate for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, and she’s accepted our invitation to come and talk to us about Identity Theft, a problem far more acute today than it ever was in 1968, I suspect. Hazel can offer us some valuable advice on how to avoid this scourge. 

Finally, at 4 in the afternoon on the 14th, we’ll have an anniversary organ concert, and will bring back some of our former organists to show us what that baby can still do when the right fingers are tickling her keys. In addition, Rick Morel, president of the company that installed the organ, will share his memories of accompanying his father to St. James, to watch while our organ went it. The concert will be followed by a wine and cheese reception in our parish hall. 

And if anybody has a lava lamp or a bean bag chair, please bring it. 1968, here we come!