ecclesiastical footracing

From John Cheever's Bullet Park:
... Mrs. Trenchham was carrying on her particular brand of competitive churchmanship. Mrs. Trenchham was a recent convert--she had been Unitarian--and she was more than proud of her grasp of the responses and courtesies in the service; she was belicose. At the first sound of the priest's voice in the vestarium she was on her feet and she fired out her amens and her mercies in a stern and resonant voice, timed well ahead of the rest of the congregation as if she were involved in a sort of ecclesiastical footrace. ...

I can't help but giggle knowingly. (Also, I just discovered John Cheever thanks to my brother-in-law. I'm loving it!)

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