Monday, 7 June 2010

An ecumenical incident on the way to church

This morning the WCC general secretary was preaching in St Mary's Episcopal cathedral in Edinburgh as part of the final day celebration of the Edinburgh 2010 event. Having misunderstood, my taxi driver drove me off to the Roman Catholic St Mary's Cathedral leading to a bit of a scramble to "get me to the church on time". I did make it on time, in the end. I can't really blame the cab driver, Edinburgh is a city of churches, every street corner seems to have several, each one more imposing and Victorian than the last. Anyway I'm glad I doubted the driver's first ecumenical choice and made him have another go!
Once I finally got there, it was fun to be in a cathedral church with all the ceremony of Anglican eucharist. I realised how well I know the words to the service still today, even though it was not the service I was brought up with, in some ways the words of the anglican service are the language of imperialism for some of us from a free church background in England. However north of the border in Scotland it is the Church of Scotland that is the majority church. I felt more at home after saying the Lord's Prayer in French, it helped my at least triple cognitive dissonance. It also helped that the final hymn was one I had for my ordination.

After the service there was a strange moment when I got a taste of my youth - that taste was the taste of post church instant coffee sipped from a plastic cup. I honestly haven't had any for years - yet this was the taste of meeting my husband to be (over post church coffee) and just the smell of it took me back to youth fellowship and many things I have left behind a long time ago. Episcopalian or Presbyterian the flavour of British post-church coffee seems to be unique in the world. I came out thankful that the coffee had been followed by a glass of wine and a sandwich at an ad hoc picnic in the resurrection chapel to meet the preacher. I was longing for an espresso by the time I set off for the press room though, real coffee ...


Mavis said...

Church coffee - I think it's the same in Australia! (NZ you generally get plunger) I can't believe that people don't realise how bad it is

Jane said...

I'd forgotten how bad it can be - in France it's ok