Wed April 10.
I have landed in London! I certainly made the right decision to fly with Virgin. The flight with Virgin Atlantic from Hong Kong to London was the best I have experienced on any airline. The Bus Class cabin, the friendly crew, the wonderful food…….all made for a wonderful flight. I got 5 hours sleep, which is pretty good. Flying westerly to London was better for jet-lag, too. Now for 2 weeks of involvement in St Magnus the Martyr.
For this visit I am staying in a flat in Kennington – a part of South London that is new to me. Coincidentally, around the corner is St Agnes church, where I preached in 2001. The 1st few days were quiet as I recovered from jet-lag. So to Palm Sunday & my 1st sermon. The liturgy itself went for over 2 hours, which included processing outside & around the famous Monument. The church was full & the music excellent. In the evening I went to a Service at St Stephen’s, Gloucester Rd, where I used to attend in 1974.
Today was the the Bishop of Fulham’s Chrism Mass. St Magnus is under his jurisdiction & I was invited to participate with the other St Magnus clergy. It was a wonderful service with standing room only – over 200 present. Not bad for a Tues morning! I was one of 80 priests who concelebrated & renewed our vows. It was good to catch up with many friends, both priests & laity.
The Maundy Thursday Mass was very moving. I admire the clergy & altar servers in how they present these traditional (& complicated) liturgies. They are a great team & I have enjoyed getting to know them.
On Good Friday we had Stations of the Cross at 11 am & the Liturgy at 1 pm. Fr Warner invited me to be the celebrant of the liturgy – which was both an honour & daunting. At St Magnus they celebrate the ancient liturgies & I have only ever done the modern versions. However, any apprehension I felt was overcome by the assistance of Fr Warner & the servers. I survived!
This was a significant event for me – the 1st time I have worn black vestments. On the other hand, I am now used to the pulpit & know the regular parishioners. Both celebrating the liturgy & preaching took me back to all the wonderful Holy Weeks I have celebrated in San Diego, Fitzroy & Elizabeth Downs. After the liturgy we had hot cross buns with cheese on them……..another new experience! I returned to the church at 6 pm for a performance by the St Magnus festival choir of the choral work, From Olivet to Calvary, which was excellent.