Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday church bells

On Saturday Evening, I joined with seven other bishops who be attending Lambeth at a special evensong at the St Alban’s Cathedral. There was one other American bishop, Bruce Caldwell from Wyoming, along with me. The bishop of St Albans, Christopher Herbert, gave the sermon in which he reminded us that God used three kinds of language to speak to us: prose, poetry, and silence. We need to listen more to poetry and silence than to prose (especially in pronouncements of doctrine and theology) if we are as a church to discern the will of God for the church. There was a good congregation, with many local area clergy with us for the occasion. Afterwards, Laura and I joined our hosts for at a thirtieth birthday party for the newest member of the cathedral staff, Anna Matthews. She was very gracious is allowing us to crash her party, which was held at a local pub/restaurant. The food was excellent, I had Wild boar sausages (a first for me) washed down with a pint of the local “Black Sheep” beers. Both Laura and I were very impressed with this young woman, attractive, articulate and with two Cambridge degrees! With people like her in the leadership of the Church of England, the future looks bright. This morning we relaxed until the 11:15 AM solemn high mass. We were summoned to the abbey church by change ringing of the bells. I love this distinctly English Sunday morning sound, and I have attempted to record it bit of it here for you. It was a beautiful liturgy, simply and profoundly done, with Anna giving an excellent sermon on the cost of Christian witness. Afterwards, Grant Holmes, Jeffrey’s partner gave us a tour of the cathedral. I had a chance to pray at the shrine of St Alban, England’s first martyr. I especially remembered the two parishes in our own Diocese named after him, in Tucson and Wickenburg. We then enjoyed a wonderful lunch at the St. Michael’s Club with the newest warden of the Cathedral. It was a perfect setting, sunny weather, a view across a very green lawn to a pond. The menu? Why roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, of course! Coming up tomorrow---the sermon at the Cathedral.

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