This morning, since I was up early, I thought I would visit a church within walking distance that I hadn't visited before. There are two services, one at eight and one at nine, and I went to the eight o'clock one, which was Rite I (i.e. 1970s liturgy in 1660s language). I was welcomed by an usher with a friendly handshake. There were about forty people present; it was a little more High Church than I was expecting (chasubles
, ad orientem
…), which is certainly no bad thing. The oldest memorials were in honour of members of the family of the founder of this town, which makes this place quite old for a building in these parts.
The text was the parable of the unjust steward
, which usually makes for interesting sermons, but in this case turned into a discussion of the current state of the church's bank account (the implication that they have unorthodox methods of balancing the books is presumably unwarranted but amused me). They seem to be dealing with money difficulties by spending less, which I think is commendable. Somewhat to their apparent surprise, people have started giving more than they'd promised.
Unlike almost everyone else, my neighbour held her hands aloft at appropriate moments during the service, and nobody seemed to mind her doing her own thing, which made me glad. The Peace was also a happy moment: I think almost everyone shook everyone else's hand.
After the service, I was about to leave when someone said, "There's cakes and coffee in the back, and you'll be very welcome." I thanked my informant and explored the building until I found "the back", where there were indeed some coffee (less than stellar; dear Lord, if You ever put me in charge of the coffee after a service, I will make actual ground coffee in a cafetière, and there will be rejoicing) and some extremely good chocolate cakes. Several people came up to talk to me. One recognised me from having met me in a different church in a different town. Another said, "I can see you've been an Episcopalian for a while." The priest, who was apparently fairly new in the role, talked to me for several minutes. He invited me to the Alpha course dinner that evening, where they were having a speaker from England; I thanked him but told him that I had a lot of editing work to finish today.
On the whole, it was a good visit, and I think I would like to go back.
On the way home, I found a sword.