Today instead of attending St. Bartholomew's, my wife and I made a long trek north to visit Trinity Anglican
, an Anglican parish in Mount Vernon, WA, and to meet a couple of "Internet friends" there for the first time face-to-face.
I have been following the progress of Trinity Anglican ever since they were formed by a group leaving ECUSA some two and a half to three years ago, as reported by and in many discussions with "Mother Jean."
I watched as they started out as "church in a box," meeting in a library in Anacortes then for a short time in a Masonic hall. (The reports brought back my memories of St. Bartholomew's days as "church-in-a-box" -- arriving early to set up the hall for the service, lugging in our portable sign, altar, lectern, altar rails and sometimes organ; then after the coffee hour tearing it all down and repacking everything into our cars.) They were blessed more recently with the contribution of space (4,000 sq. ft. of it!) which with much members' labor they have converted into a quite attractive church facility.
Over the past couple of years "Mother Jean" and I have discussed visiting the other's church as we are only an hour and half or so drive away, but it was not until Fr. Daniel and Josephine's arrival that it became really possible without affecting the service of Holy Communion at St. Bartholomew's. With advance arrangements, at home and up north, we were free to go.
We were blessed with clear, sunny weather for the journey, and the mountains were spectacular.
We were also impeded by several mapping services that all incorrectly mapped Trinity Anglican's location, but a short trip west from Stewart Rd. (to, perhaps, W. Stewart Rd?), brought us to their actual location, well in time for 10:30 Holy Communion.
Once there, their welcome was most inviting.
This being my first visit to an Anglican church in a jurisdiction (APA) different from ours (APCK), I confess I felt a bit awkward. Doubly so due to conversations that hinted that our province would look askance on our taking communion within another jurisdiction. Call it premonition.
But the service itself -- it has been a long time (decades!) since I have attended a service of Holy Communion that began with with sung Morning Prayer: it was a delight to sing the Venite and the Jubilate Deo again. And another advantage: instead of two Bible readings we got three: the Old Testament lesson along with the Epistle and Gospel.
I noted differences: the sanctus bells were rung differently and at somewhat different times, the announcements at the end of the service instead of preceding the sermon hymn, and a few other mostly insignificant things, but what I noted most was just how familiar the service felt. In my days as an Episcopalian I visited many churches and what I felt most were the differences between their services and those of whatever church in which I was at the time a member; but in this case it was the familiar that presented itself foremost.
The one difficult time was during Communion; we simply crossed our arms on our chests and received a blessing instead. I have never before felt the effect of being "out of communion" and in a situation such as this -- it hurt! I hope the good people of Trinity Anglican understand; our province is pretty strict (but I also understand why they are strict so I compy). But to me this also points out the need for the various Anglican jurisdictions to reunite... but my bishop has heard this enow from me so I shall harp no longer upon that string.
Later we had lunch (well, an afternoon breakfast) with our Internet friends Jean and Bob, Trinity Anglican's Senior Warden, and several other Trinity Anglican parishioners. A delightful time, extending until 3 PM, during which we shared much, learned much, and the two Senior Wardens present discussed Senior Warden issues. (Why is it there is no Guild of Senior Wardens? There is so much we can share with each other, and pooling our experience would be invaluable!)
Bob and maybe Jean are planning a "return" visit, though it clearly won't happen until after Easter. I hope we can present a welcome at least on a par with what they gave us.