In prison this afternoon for the final rehearsal and preparation for the carol service, which happens this evening and tomorrow. Each night there'll be about 100 in the congregation/audience including the Lord Mayor, important people associated with the local prison service, volunteers and inmates. Most of the five men taking part haven't read in public before and particularly not in front of such a large number. They're not professional actors - one, in his thirties, only learned to read while in prison a couple of years ago -so it's a huge thing they're doing. Especially because the audience will include their peers.
I know they'll be wonderful and I'll be so proud of 'my boys', but say a prayer for them, please, for assurance, loud voices, a good reception. And that they don't rush through the words so that no-one hears what they're reading!
The last two carol services with which I've been involved have been funny; this one is much more from the heart of the men involved. It's poignant and speaks of loss and regret. (I'll post some of the pieces later.) I pray it shouts into the hearts of those who'll be listening.