Tealights in Dublin?

Its not easy to work out what’s going on in Dublin at the Anglican Primates’ Meeting which takes place there this week. There does not seem to be much in the way of independent reporting of it. There don’t seem to be any leaks and side-briefings this time as has become traditional at these events. Why not? Is it because some folk have decided to stay away?

All I have to go on is the official Anglican Communion News Service Report.

Now listen….

At the start of Wednesday morning Eucharist, Primates placed, at the foot of the altar, symbols (including photos, food, pictures and other objects) that represented the major missional challenges of their Province. This was so that these local issues are front of mind at any act of worship throughout the week.

Sound familiar?

My goodness, its obvious what is going on, isn’t it. TISEC has been brought in to facilitate the discussions and the worship.

There will be tealights and silk scarves strewn across that chapel by the end of the week. You mark my words.

Expect the next bulletin to refer to an act of worship where different coloured glass beads were carefully placed around the altar by each primate (a pink one for +Kathryn, obviously) as a symbol of our unity in diversity.

Video Service: Conversion of St Paul

I was much struck whilst I was off sick of how difficult it is to find liturgy online that makes you feel you've joined in with something. Quite a few churches in the states broadcast their services online now but I didn't find I enjoyed them terribly much. It was all rather big and rather long. I'm aware of Luss Parish Church and the efforts of St Andrew's Bo'ness and commend their efforts whilst knowing that what they are doing was not what I'm looking for either.

I also know about Madpriest's online services and think they are well done and worth listening to.

I came to the conclusion that the way to do liturgy online is not simply to point a camera at a service and record and broadcast it.

However, contrarian that I am, I decided to do exactly that this morning with the Eucharist we had for the Conversion of St Paul.

People think that I spend all my life doing services with vast numbers and vast resources. The reality of cathedral life is doing very many services with small groups of people most of the time. This morning there were five of us keeping the feast and it was the perfect way to start the day.

Of course, five for a feast means you can have the works – smoke, sung plainsong mass, two minute homily and all the rest in the space of 25 minutes. Sadly I forgot to mike up Bruce who was reading the wonderfully dramatic story of Saul being thrown from his horse and blinded by the light before turning his life around and becoming Paul the Apostle. However if you listen carefully you can still here it in the video.

This kind of service is the stuff of life round here and it was lovely to share in it today.

Here it is in video form. (The vertical bar is a bit of a fancy iron screen, btw!)

I’m thinking a lot about this online liturgical experience question. I found myself more convinced than ever today at a diocesan meeting that we need to be actually doing things online, not simply telling one another stories about what we’ve been doing offline. There’s a place for that to be sure, but its not exciting and to see our engagement in cyberspace as simply reporting things that have nothing to do with the communication possibilities that are open to us now is to refuse to take a mission step that God is calling us to. Prayer is after all, itself a cyberspace.

Isn’t it?