An Alcestrain's Prayer
OH LORD,thou knowest where I live, in the Warwickshire Town of Alcester, the bottom left-hand corner bit, where the two rivers meet in the green bowl between the Ridgeway and Primrose Hill. Thou knowest that people have been living here since long before Thy Son walked the Earth, and we hope to remain here for Millennia to come, if Thou permit it. Look kindly upon us as we go about our daily affairs, and judge us not too harshly, as Thou hast blessed us in the past. Forgive us our worldliness and our impatience with our neighbours, for some of them are truly annoying in the extreme, especially those that have only just come to live in the Town and want to tell the rest of us what we are doing wrong, so why did they come here in the first place if they find so much fault?
DELIVER US,Oh Lord from the intrusion of busybodies from our Neighbouring Towns, in particular those from Stratford-upon-Avon, and their pernicious Councillors. May those from Studley, Bidford-on-Avon and Salford Priors keep their distance too, except when they wish us well. As we do them, of course, Oh Lord. And if we must have tourists, then let them spend their money plentifully in the shops of Alcester, and let them not clutter up the Town with their cars and endlessly clicking cameras, and let us make them welcome, but not so welcome that they decide to live here. And please, Lord, let those that retire here from Birmingham learn to say “Alster” and not “Al-cest-er”, as Thou knowest which is correct and proper in Thy sight.
BLESS THOU our Church, and make it flourish without too much expense, especially upon the roof and the central heating. Bring harmony to Thy servants, and let there be no more rows about trivial matters, like the lighting and such, except that Thou knowest how important we think things like that are, and how some people get things all out of proportion and lose their sense of humour. Let all Thy Churches work together in Thy sight, but could You bring back the old hymns, please? Help us to remember those that come not to Church regularly, if at all, and make us mindful that they are as much in Thy sight as all of us, even if they contribute hardly anything to the upkeep. Keep Thou our Rector on the right path, lighten his burden, and make his best sermons also his shortest. And Thou knowest that he does a lovely funeral, but not mine just yet, please Lord.
LORD, WE THANK THEE for making our small Town such a lovely place, and open our eyes to the beauty around us in its streets. Remind us that not all of us are wealthy, and help those that have much give freely to those that have little. Bring us together in one community, Lord, rich and poor, Conway Estate and Captain’s Hill, even possibly those from Oversley, if that isn’t asking too much. And could you have a word amongst Your Saints with Saint Chad, and ask him if he can find it in his heart to lift the curse he put upon our Town that nothing should thrive (unless it belong to Bunting ), and may we hope that prosperity descend upon the High Street, and keep Mr. Bowen’s beautiful shop exactly as it is, and has been for years. Deliver us from Thy wrath if we should make mistakes, as from the wrath of those that are in charge of Thy shop in Thy Church, and from those in charge of Alcester in Bloom if we fail to water flowers in hot weather.
LASTLY, LORD, if change should come, as come it must, let it be slow. Thou hast provided for us here in this small corner of Thy Great Universe a most marvellous Town of which we are justly proud. Help us to recognise that it is Thou that has made it, through the agency of generations of ordinary people like us, and make us humbly grateful. Help us to continue the work that they have started, and prevent us from being too ambitious and vain, except about the things we have done really rather well, like the Globe. Keep us always safe in the palm of Thy hand, but let us not forget that we live in a wider world too. We know there is a place in Heaven that is forever ALCESTER. AMEN.