If you’ve never watched the programme, do start. Rev is now in it’s third series, and is about a priest, Adam Smallbone, a meek and somewhat apathetic soul, working in a tiny inner-city parish in London.
The first episode of the first series, began with a close-up of him talking into camera about how glad he was to take up the appointment to join this vibrant, enthusiastic, if perhaps small community in North London.
It then showed the congregation. All seven of them.
Throughout each episode Rev dealt with things deeply familiar to clergy: the toughness of turning a church into a “successful” parish; the often seeming insignificance and smallness of what we are called to do on a daily basis; the moments where the urgent gets done at the expense of the important; the fleeting moments where small, tiny things can change someone’s life for the better; the huge burden which is put on the spouse; the uneasy relationship between a private life and never being off duty; and occasionally the joy of real things and real people married with the love of God.
It’s deeply sympathetic to clergy without engaging in apologetics, but more than anything, exaggerated as it is, and full of incident as it is, there is a truth about the life of a priest in there, especially one in an inner-city parish, in a tiny church. Which is the balance between being utterly powerless, and strangely powerful at the same time. The custodian of big things in a small parish, RS Thomas said, and for a comedy series to be able to get anywhere near that, is a miracle in itself.