It has been good to return and worship at St James, King Street for 2 weeks. However there have also been some disappointments. The first Sunday coincided with the City to Surf Run which always makes it difficult for St James. Parking is impossible deterring many parishioners. I had to stand on the train into the city as it was packed. The run attracted 80,000 who had free transport.
The settings had changed during my absence. People who had sat in pews near me for several years and with whom I exchanged the sign of peace made no comment about my absence of 6 months. I have made many more friends at St John's Roslyn in 6 months than I ever made during the 4 years at St James.
The second week was better as numbers were back to normal and we celebrated the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary with full procession and incense. Father John, associate priest who was acting Rector when I left, warmly welcomed me back.
On Saturday, after the same sex marriage demo, I met my sister and we attended a talk, afternoon tea and Evensong to commemorate the two-hundreth anniversary of the birth of Samuel Sebastian Wesley. The talk was given by Professor Michael Horsburgh, Diocesan reader who also warmly welcomed me. He often preaches in favour of homosexual acceptance and hosted Bishop Gene Robinson and his partner when they visited Sydney. He was pleased to hear how I feel so much more accepted in the Diocese of Dunedin.
I, of course, knew something of John and Charles Wesley but was quite ignorant of Charles Junior or Samuel Sebastian.
At the tea, I spoke with a few other parishioners I knew.
In my late teens and 20's I attended Evening Prayer every Sunday but cannot remember the last time, so it was pleasant to attend Evensong. The augmented choir sang the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis by Wesley in E and the anthem 'Wilderness' by SS Wesley. We sang the hymns "Christ is our corner-stone" to the tune Harewood by SS Wesley and the beautiful "O Thou who camest from above'", words by Charles Wesley to the tune Hereford by Samuel Sebastian Wesley.
The best I could find on Youtube is by the boys' choir of Rochester Cathedral although Samuel Sebastian Wesley apparently disliked boys' choirs but could not in those days have women in the cathedral choir.
While it was wonderful singing, I gain far more from attending Eucharist.
I have already booked my air fares and plan to be back at St James, King Street for Christmas but I will no longer feel that it is that much better than St John's Roslyn and the Cathedral in Dunedin.
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