Vicars make the news for all sorts of reasons but rarely so stylishly. The Reverend Kate Bottley of Blyth, Scrooby and Ranskill made national news this week for her wedding dance flash mob. If you haven’t already seen the video, it’s a must > Wedding Flash Dance Mob . As she also happens to be my Vicar I got her on speed dial and she was only too happy to give Ultimate Wedding Magazine an interview –
How did the idea for the flash mob come about?
I always say to couples ‘If you want to personalise your service let me know’ – most people have very simple ways of personalising the service, it might be that their Granny died last year and they would like to light a candle for her. Gary and Tracy Richardson really liked the idea of personalising their service and asked what I suggested, I reeled off ideas and jokingly suggested a ‘flash mob’ – I didn’t believe she would take it as enthusiastically as she did! The routine was choreographed and they practised in the village hall. They support a charity called Bluebell Wood Hospice and the choir in the church sing to raise money for the hospice. It was a joy and delight.
Honestly, why do the two ladies leave half way through?
Aunty Betty needed the ladies room. People in my church know the exit is the other way!
Has all the response been positive?
Mostly. I am really serious about what I do – I don’t take it lightly. It’s been cut from the video but at the end of the dance I say ‘Let us pray’, the dancing stopped and we prayed – you could have heard a pin drop. The bits of a service that are solemn and serious are no less joyful or happy. These are the commitments people are making for the rest of their lives it’s not a joke but doesn’t mean it can’t be an expression of joy. People are only seeing a short snippet of a beautiful hour and a quarter service, people haven’t seen Gary lighting a candle for his Mum and Dad and the sentiment of the service. Jesus’ first miracle was at a wedding turning water into wine so he set the tone!
(Reverend Kate bringing some humour to my Church blessing)
What’s your earliest memory of church?
Being taken to a boring Sunday school. I only started going to church because I fancied the Vicar’s son – it worked well, we’ve been married for 15 years! When I started going to church later on, there were a group of peers that embraced me – I was gobby and opinionated and they guided me along. That group of women are still my friends. Church works when you feel like you’re part of a family and thats what I hope was communicated in the flash mob video – people being part of something. People say they don’t come to church because of religion but church is a place of discovery, spirituality and friendship. It’s a place for conversation. I don’t expect everyone who comes to my church to be fully formed in their beliefs that’s like being a French teacher and expecting all your students to already speak French.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the weight of responsibility that goes with your job?
Yes. On any given day you’re expected to go from a funeral to a hospital to a school assembly and be everything that those different occasions require you to be. It feels like someone handing you a delicate glass ball – be it their wedding, christening or feelings – and you have to take the best care of it that you can – but 30 other people have given you their glass balls to hold and that person needs to feel that theirs is the only ball you’re holding. I represent God – thats a big role, one grumpy Vicar can put people off church for good. A collar can weigh really heavy.
What was your own wedding like?
It was FAB! We had fish and chips at the wedding reception and we ended up with about 350 people there. My wedding dress was £30, my friend made it – it was very simple but beautiful. We always have fish and chips on our wedding anniversary and a bottle of champagne. I got to marry my best friend, it was enormous fun.
What’s the secret to a long, happy marriage – is there one?
Wine, good food, plenty of time together and laughing a lot – mostly at each other.
So, we know you like to dance but what song always gets you up on the dance floor?
I have a passion for early 90s hip hop and rap so I take it from there.
(Note – this is true, she did the ‘running man’ to Run-DMC at my blessing!)
Intelligent, open minded, loves a dance, is on a hot line to God and is changing religious perceptions one day at a time- is there anything not to love about the power house that is, Reverend Kate Bottley.
Reverend Kate Bottley is on twitter @revkatebottley