Actually, if I’m honest, there were a couple of strange things, some related to the BUSA trip on which I was on, and the rest with the church I visited while in Leicester.
The trip for BUSA had the usual interesting twists. Wrong address for hotel, different targets, unable to find anywhere to eat. On the other hand, there was fun, nice pubs, very nice pubs, good driving with nice scenery, amazing showers in the hotel, a good game of Scrabble, great company, that sort of thing.
All in all, it was a good weekend (I finished 10th in the end, with a slightly disapointing score of 558/600).
But what got me (to quote the vicar) disorientated was the church service that I went to on the Sunday morning. Nothing unusal, a Sung Mass in a nice modern looking church. It was a bit cold and as the kneelers were so close to the pews it was impossible to stand up with out the pew in the back of your knees, unless you stand with your feet like a penguin (as my mother would say). So the fact that all the prayers were done standing up and not using the kneelers just made it that bit more uncomfortable. Though the pews themselves were lush!!!
Now this church does describe itself on the Diocese of Leicester webpage as being ‘Mordern Catholic’ but there were time when I was wondering if I was in an Anglican Church or not. Maybe it’s cause I’m so used to more liberal preachers that you get here but I’ve never seen anyone who (in the sermon) managed to talk about everyone helping out in the running of the church and services, with examples, and yet still make out his position on the ordination of women, and that it was a very big mistake for that to have happened!!! When he asked us to pray to God to ‘have mercy on their souls’ on those in the Synod discussing whether we should have women bishiops I was slightly thrown.
Now I know that at the time there had been great disagreements over whether women should have been ordained, I will admit that I didn’t think that it was really that much of an issue anymore. Most people seem to think that (and accept) that women can do just a good as job as a man (and I’m sure there are a few of you muttering that they can do better as well!!!).
I was so thrown by the sermon that I very nearly missed during the Eucharistic prayer that we prayed for the Queen, Pope John Paul, the ministers, our Bishiop and Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Cantabury….. sorry, was that the Pope….?? Oh yes, it was……
While I do hope that he has a speedy recovery, I just wasn’t expecting to hear him mentioned at that point.
What made it that much stranger was that I did get to have a few words with the vicar at the end of the service and he did seem like a really nice man. Apart from the fact that he feels that half the world’s population shouldn’t be ordained……