Continuing Home

The ongoing saga of a Continuing Anglican church home, as seen by a member of the laity.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Everywhere the same

One of the things I have read about the (traditional) Anglican liturgy is that no matter where you go in the world, it's always the same service. I've never really had the opportunity to test that on my international trips because, it seems, Sunday is usually the day I am heading out, or arriving. This time it was different; because I was in the UK last week I flew to Vienna on Saturday and I had Sunday completely free.

On investigation it turned out that there was an Anglican church, Christ Church, Vienna, just a block from my hotel. So Sunday morning I got up & dressed and walked over through the bracing icy morning air for the 8 AM Holy Communion (BCP).

It being the early service, I was not surprised to see that mostly older folk were present (I guess I'm becoming of an age with them), and not many. I could tell I was the new face, though, but that's okay. What church doesn't welcome the visitor?

When I entered, a parishioner in the Narthex advised me that for the service I should take one of the small books on a nearby table -- obviously the prayer books. Once seated, after prayers, I opened the book. It took a little fumbling to find The Order For Holy Communion (it wasn't in the Table of Contents, oddly), but I kept it open until the service began.

I hardly needed to, though. The service was almost identical to ours; I could have said it by heart (literally?), and the language throughout identical. Okay, in print it was the "Holy Catholic[K] and Apostolic[K] Church" (cap [K]s for emphasis), the Lord's Prayer followed Communion instead of preceding it, prayers were said for the Queen and not the President but... the rest was identical. (Which I cannot say for any of the American Episcopal 1979 or later services.)

I suspect some of the announcements of the progression of the liturgy such as calling out page numbers, explaining that in Advent certain things were excluded, etc., were provided for the benefit of this unknown visitor. If so, it was appreciated but in this instance unnecessary.

I was just delighted to be almost halfway across the world yet participating in a beautiful Holy Communion service in which I would have been perfectly at home... even at home.


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