Tuesday, 08 June
While Demetrios stayed home to write, I went to the library to use their computers and do some blogging. I was extra lucky, because while I was there, they had Toddler's Rhyme Time, bunch of small kids singing. It was so charming! I knew most of the songs, but one I didn't know and found especially delightful was this:
The grand old Duke of York
He had ten thousand men,
He marched them up to the top of the hill
And he marched them down again.
And when they were up, they were up,
And when they were down, they were down,
And when they were only halfway up,
They were neither up nor down!
Libarary computers are free to use, but there is a time limit of two hours. So when my time was up, I walked a block or two to the center of town and bought myself a lunch of
egg salad egg mayo sandwich, with an adult-sized juicebox containing blackcurrant juice. I found a bench by the clock tower in the square and sat there to eat.
Then on to the yarn shop. I did pick out some yummy yarn, in all the colors of our flat, but I've no idea what I'm going to do with them. I think I may make a tea cozy. Anyway, buying the yarn was secondary; the main objective was to find and join the knitting group that meets there on Tuesday afternoons. Which I did, although only one other knitter showed up today. Her name was Sandra and she is a young grandmother who works at Tesco (supermarket). Myra, the proprietess, joined us, along with a shop clerk named Mark, who began to knit three years ago and says knitting has now 'taken over me life.' (No, I do not know, but I think yes.) So we spent a pleasant afternoon knitting and chatting. About halfway through, Mark served us tea.
These people are hilarious! I mean, everybody from here is. Demetrios says all the comedians come from this area of the country, and I can well believe it. They never miss a beat with their witticisms. Mark and Sandra, especially, teased one another mercilessly all afternoon and kept us in stitches in more than one sense!
In the evening, we went to a church discussion group. The church
bulletin notices sheet said the group was to discuss the sermon or to deal with any questions regarding the service (meaning especially the contemporary service). Discussion group to meet at such-and-such an address. Where's that? I called the church, but too late; nobody was there. Finally I just started phoning anybody whose telephone number was listed. On the second try, I found a woman who told me how to get to Fairfield Close, and it's very near us, a 5-minute walk.
So we went there and met Stuart, who is to be ordained July 4, and his wife, Angela. then the worship leders showed up, Kirsten and Paul.
We didn't say much. We did make it clear we were Orthodox, and we did ask one or two questions, seeking their point of view. Okay, so let me see if I can present their POV to you. First, there is a concerted effort to bring people in, get them to attend church. There is a theory, probably accurate, that the old services (and even the old buildings, for children) have become 'frightening and off-putting,' in Kirsten's words. The level of ignorance about the Christian Faith, I gather, is staggering in England.
So these people, motivated by love, as Kirsten emphasized, are, well, trying to redesign the whole thing more or less from scratch (my words). The traditions, as I've been suspecting, have become meaningless; nobody knows what they are for, and Angela ventured an opinion that the rules about how things should be done are a form of Pharisaism. Hence, in this parish, there are no rules; Kirsten and Paul design the contemporary services with pretty much a free hand. The Book of common Prayer has been virtually abandoned all over England.
But Angela did recognize the purpose for one tradition, that of having the General Confession at the beginning of the service. (Kirsten had received a number of complaints after having designed a service meant to bring people to the awareness that they needed confession, therefore culminating in confession at the end.) Angela pointed out that the idea of putting it at the beginning (everything is an idea) is that we aren't worthy to worship until we have first repented.
There is was - and Demetrios reinforced it - the idea that a tradition handed down for centuries might actually have survived that long for a good reason, might actually serve some edifying end, and if its function could be rediscovered, one might like to think twice before jettisoning it.
It wasn't until after we came home that we had second thoughts about that. Anglicanism is another too-incomplete reform of Roman Catholicism, so if you trace the function of any tradition all the way back to before King Henry VIII, you will find it bent to bolster the papacy. These people are actually correct in rejecting bent tradition.
Anyway, we met some very good people and enjoyed the evening.
Wednesday 09 June
We stayed home today and I played house, having a ball cleaning my adorable little Doll House. That's what I call our flat, The Doll House.
This morning as we glanced out the front window, we saw a mallard duck with nine very tiny ducklings trailing her, walking across the garden. The drake that sits on the chimney pot and sometimes even on the TV antenna (HOW does he do that, with his flat feet???) appears less and less frequently.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Tuesday, 08 June
Posted by Anastasia Theodoridis at 6:32 AM