Sunday, September 04, 2005

Of ecumenism and tomatoes.

Readers may remember that here in CK we enjoy good relationships with the local Baptists, RCs and an independent Anglican fellowship. The ministers meet monthly for lunch in the ecumenical fair trade cafĂ©, the congregations collaborate on a “church neighbours” scheme and one or two other projects in the community, and there are the inevitable joint Songs of Praise, Good Friday walk of witness and service during Christian Unity week.
This Friday, though, I feel we broke new ground!
As is our wont, my vicar and I had settled comfortably into the pslamody of Evening Prayer, when we were conscious of someone entering the Chapel. No surprise there. We are often joined by at least one other person, and I’d put out another book, open at the right place just in case she happened along late…but when another voice joined in with the responses it clearly wasn’t a “she” at all. Looking up, I recognised with pleasure Fr X from the Catholic church round the corner.
The Office wound peacefully through to its close, all of us glad to be there before God together. I assumed, as we’d had the ecumenical lunch earlier that day, that the vicar had arranged all this in advance with Fr X and he’d just been held up, but the story that emerged was far more entertaining.
Fr X had been about to settle down to say the Office in his own church when he realised that if he didn’t buy some tomatoes for his supper the shop would have closed. He set off for Somerfield, collected his tomatoes and a few other bits and made his way to the checkout, only to realise that he’d left his cash at home, which isn’t quite on the doorstep. A quick tour of the store revealed, unusually, none of his parishioners, and nobody else he knew well enough to borrow a fiver, so he went knocking on surrounding doors but everyone was out…
At this point he spied the curate cycling past en route, did he but know it, for evening prayer. He set off in hot pursuit but lost me when I went round to the vestry door and went downheartedly into church, planning to complete the Office himself on his own.
But there we were
And it was wonderful.
Wonderful to pray together as representative Christians in that place
Wonderful that the barriers that 20 years ago would have prevented an RC priest from even entering an Anglican church without special permission have now gone
And probably also wonderful that between us the vicar and I had enough cash to allow him to buy his tomatoes!


Caroline said...

lolol, are you quite sure that's not one of the lovely L's creative writing exercises?

I suspect that your office at CK is actually far more Catholic than your local RC, the interior of the church must be surely?

Lorna said...

read this yesterday but had to come back again. This is so encouraging. thanks Kat :)

next time you'll be sharing supper together too.

jo(e) said...

What a wonderful story! (I have spent the evening catching up on horrible news stories about New Orleans so it was great to read something unlifting. Thank you.)

SpookyRach said...

Great story! Sounds like a beautiful service.

What is the difference between a vicar and a curate? Is it what we (Baptist/Methodist) would call a Pastor and Assistant Pastor?

Kathryn said...

You are absolutely right about the relatively catholicism of the two churches' interiors...theirs is far quieter and less cluttered than ours.,- here at St M's the assumption is that Catholic means embracing every possible bit of ecclesiastical clutter, and once embracing it, retaining it at all costs. Perhaps we could say the Office down at Sacred Hearts ;-)

Dr Moose said...

There is something rather special about doing the office in company in a church building (I tend to lack both). I would love Fr. P to come and join me, or Rev's B, N or D, but I'm in a seperate, allegedly stand-alone, settlement. It's not quite the same as meeting the neighbours!

Lorna said...

was thinking that this actually could really be a way forward for church leaders to encourage and help one another - as well as lending the occasional fiver too :)

What office do you follow btw - is there an online link ?

as far as I know a curate is newly ordained and on the job for a year under the watchful eye and encouragement of a vicar. Since I'm methodist I don't know so hoping Kat will come back and answer that one.

If I'm right and you will be moved somewhere - do you yet know where and when?

Dr Moose said...

A Vicar (or Rector) is a Priest with the (dubious) privelege of more responsibility, while a Curate (or technically "Assistant Curate") is learning on the job.

Typically a curate will serve the first year in (first) post as a Deacon (unable to pronounce absolutions, blessings or consecrate Holy Communion) before being ordained as a Priest (who can).

Curacies are of variable length, depending to some degree upon the diocese, usually of the order of 2-4 years before the Curate is given their marchng orders.

Some dioceses insist on more than one curacy before you can get a post of Vicar/Rector/Priest-in-Charge (don't ask!)

Just to confuse matters still more you can have Perpetual Curates (often retired clergy, but still licensed by the bishop).

Are we confused yet?


Kathryn said...

Just to add to Dr M's words of we are allowed to stay in our curacy for up to 4 years, and because of the way the exam system will work for my youngest I have asked that I remain for every second of those 4 years..which has been generally agreed. I won't get the chance of a second curacy, so at that point it will be time to start scouring the sits. vac in the Church Times, and praying hard.
As to the Office, we use the provision for Morning and Evening Prayer in Common Worship Daily Prayer,-and I'm pretty sure there is a link at the C of E website, but I've not chased it up this evening. Readings are from the Revised Common Lectionary...

Lorna said...

confused Dr Moose?
who me?

Kat glad we sorted that one out - at last!!! sorry I asked so many times, I'll try to retain the info this time :)

be blessed