On Friday, after saying mass at St. Matthew’s and having lunch with Jon Green, I met up with the Ven Chris Lowson and got to see the inside of Church House, the C of E headquarters. Church house is conveniently located right between St. Matthew’s and Westminster Abbey, so I passed it on a regular basis. Father Lowson is the Director of Ministry for the Archbishops’ Advisory Council and, among other duties, is the staff member responsible for coordinating discernment. We had a great talk about where the church is going, including pioneer ministry, the ordination track aimed at raising up presbyters for fresh expressions of church. Check out http://www.cofe.anglican.org/lifeevents/ministry and http://www.freshexpressions.org.uk to see a little more about the official C of E line on things.
That evening, I caught a performance of the musical “Wicked” which I recommend highly, especially if you liked the book.
On Saturday I finally caught evensong at St. Paul’s Cathedral. (I’d been trying for over a week, but somehow it never fit.) St. Paul’s is a beautiful church designed by Christopher Wren and built at the end of the 17th century. It presents a great counterpoint to Westminster Abbey. The Abbey is stark Gothic while the Cathedral is restrained Baroque. I prefer Gothic, but I have to admit it’s a stunning piece. It dominates that part of the city and has a very airy feeling inside. I was only there for a service, so I didn’t take pictures, but they have a nice website at http://www.stpauls.co.uk/. There are nice images on Wikipedia as well.
I suppose this is time for a comment on the price of admission. Both the Abbey and the Cathedral charge about ten pounds admission. I understand the tourist trade, but it feels strange to have to pay to get into a church. I decided not to in the case of St. Paul’s.
On the way back to St. M’s I stopped by the Tate Modern Art Gallery and found myself surprised by how many pieces I liked. I’m usually not a fan of modern art. A very nice modern bridge crosses the Thames from St. Paul’s to the Tate. You can see the view above.