For years now one of my committees has held its week-long spring meeting in Maryland about 20 minutes or so northwest of Washington, D.C. Usually I fly in Sunday evening with just enough time to get dinner, unpack and crash before Monday morning's festivit... er, meetings, get underway. For several reasons this year was different and I arrived at the Baltimore airport hotel (for the first night only) at 1 AM.
I had considered visiting The Parish of Christ the King in D.C., an hour and something's drive from that hotel, since I was going to be in the area in the morning. But I also considered the late arrival and necessary early arisal... and decided I wouldn't. (Some of us know The Parish of Christ the King as "O Street" because it is on the street by that name in D.C.; it is also our provincial cathedral.)
But things worked out otherwise. Didn't get to sleep until after 2:30 AM, but by 7:30 AM I was unavoidably awake. Ran the timing in my head and decided I probably had time to make the 10 AM Holy Eucharist. So I got up, showered, dressed in the best I had (our meetings are not formal affairs so it was black walking shoes, black jeans, best polo and PNW rain shell), packed, checked out and hit the road.
I was afraid that I wasn't going to make it due to the on-again/off-again blinding rain slowing traffic down but in the end I did, with 20 minutes to spare. In fact, I was one of the first to arrive, to see the Nave and Sanctuary like this.
The impressive entrance I encountered took me back to Vienna last December. While walking around the alleys there I passed by one large (church?) wooden door and suddenly heard an organ thundering away inside -- I just had to stop and listen, for how long I don't remember, to that majestic sound. Here, all was quiet until I opened the door and suddenly a similar organ voice boomed out.
The service was a little different from our old familiar 1928 BCP service, but not by a lot. I am guessing they use the Missal.
Afterwards I was invited down to the Parish Hall and joined them for some enjoyable conversation. They were somewhat surprised that I was visiting from another church in the same province; this seems a little different from our experience at St. Bartholomew's where we regularly have visitors from elsewhere.
Fr. Russell invited to stay for their Bible Study after the coffee hour. I weighed my plans for the day, the amount of driving they would require, the quite poor weather (my plans included some scene photography)... and stayed.
I was glad I did. Their Bible Study class is much like ours. They were starting on Acts today, and Fr. Russell explained a number of elements I (and I think others) had not known. And like ours, their class is anything other than "listen to what teacher says and write it down," there was a lot of back and forth through which I got to know some of these people better.
O Street's numbers may be down a bit, a comment or two implied, but I think they have a quite solid core. The visit was quite worth the lack of sleep and the difficult drive.