Posted by: dacalu | 7 June 2008

Um and Yang

Scrolling back to last Tuesday–I can’t believe my time here is going so fast–I wanted to share some of my experiences. Tuesday morning started at 7:30am with morning prayer at St. Faith’s Chapel in Westminster Abbey (http://www.westminster-abbey.org/visitor/plan-of-the-abbey/13617). This was a pretty typical morning service, but got me thinking about mildew, old stone buildings, and what that might do to allergies. Not a good morning for breathing, so I’ve started cutting back on visiting ancient churches. Morning prayer was followed by Eucharist in the Edward the Confessor Chapel. Totally awesome, ancient church (http://www.westminster-abbey.org/visitor/plan-of-the-abbey/136040). I also got to meet John Hall, the Dean of the Abbey.

At 12:30p, I said mass at St. Matthew’s. I think I’m getting the hang of things, but I was a bit thrown by the feast day. At morning mass, I noticed the priest had paused significantly before reading the official C of E description for the feast of the Martyrs of Uganda. I didn’t think much of it, and he gave a very nice short intro to Catholic and Anglican martyrs under the reigns of Mwanga II (late 19th c.) and Idi Amin (late 20th c.). So I assumed this is what I would be reading from the official little red book at the beginning of the service. Note to priests: Even if you think you know what it says–read it first anyway. I found myself reading something about Mwanga’s sexual preferences and the good Christian boys who refused. While this is certainly part of the story, there is a great deal more and I was unprepared to extemporize as the priest at the Abbey had done. Next time, I’ll read it first. Otherwise, it was a pretty uneventful service.

At 2p, I met with the Canon Dr. Jim Rosenthal, Director of Communications for the Anglican Communion at Lambeth Palace. It was great to hear his take on the C of E and the Communion. I’ve included a couple pictures of Lambeth. It’s not as imposing as I thought it would be. There’s a beautiful old church out front that, strangely, has been converted into a garden museum. There are also some lovely gardens and a very impressive gate.

After Lambeth, I headed for Victoria Station and then to King’s Cross Station, where I saw the famous platform 9 3/4. Okay, it’s pretty cheesy, but I had to take a picture.

From there, on to Cambridge for the original Goth Eucharist (http://www.thegotheucharist.org.uk/). I didn’t have much time to wander around the University/Town, which is unfortunate, but I snuck into Clare College for a quick look at the Cam. It would be great to go back sometime for a longer look around.

The Goth Eucharist started at 8:30p in the Church of St. Edward, King and Martyr. The church prides itself on housing the first openly Protestant Sermon of the English Reformation. (I’m not really sure how anyone could prove that.) They also had a very interesting display showing the history of the Book of Common Prayer back to 1552, which is odd since the first BCP came out in 1549. I guess they thought the first one was too Roman… We had lot’s of candles and a very nice liturgy written for the purpose; you can find it on the website. The author focuses on some of the despair common in goth circles, but has a clear, hopeful message. We had very good canned music, running from Dylan to Pink Floyd to Sex Pistols, all strangely tied in and appropriate. The sermon was on astrology, also strangely appropriate and quite orthodox. Malcolm preached on how astrological symbols could be useful in understanding human dispositions (toward both good and evil) but that they were idolatrous when they replaced human free will. Our fate is not in our stars, but in ourselves. Everyone was in all black except for the poor Kiwi Presbyterian minister. He was great for conversation though, and very interested in the service and COTA.

After the service we all went out to a pub and I thoroughly lost track of time, missing the last train back to London. After wandering in the rain for a couple hours, I figured out the bus system and caught a long trip back to St. Matthews (1:30-4:00am). The train is better.

It was a long day of very diverse experiences. More soon.

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