Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

Britain's rarest scheduled bus service runs on just three occasions in 2013. The 113 from Tavistock to Dawlish is a timetable rarity. If you miss the bus on 31 August 2013, you'll have to wait seven months for the next one.

article summary —

The rarity of a month with five Saturdays or five Sundays, typically no more than four in a year, offers exceptional opportunities to those who draw up timetables. Churches have been quick to exploit the fifth-Sunday opportunity, with many reserving these rare occasions to have a joint service with a neighbouring Christian community. Churches that compete for souls most of the time are overcome with ecumenical spirit when there is a fifth Sunday in a month.

In some parts of England where amalgamated Anglican parishes have many churches, there are instances of a Sabbath service being celebrated in one of the smaller churches only on a fifth Sunday of the month. Whether God intended the psalms to be recited so rarely is quite another matter. The Maronite community in Germany has a complicated schedule of services that relies on there being four Sundays in a month. When there is a fifth Sunday in the month, the entire church just takes sabbatical leave and enjoys a day off. The Almighty, we hope, looks benignly on this ‘fifth-week syndrome’ that afflicts the Maronites.

Bus services can also be affected by this rare syndrome.

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About the authors

hidden europe

and manage hidden europe, a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine. Nicky and Susanne are dedicated slow travellers. They delight in discovering the exotic in the everyday.

This article was published in hidden europe 40.