After a family party in Dorking on Saturday night, where to go to church next morning? We decided to head into town, to find the Precious Blood, London Bridge – one of the two Ordinariate churches in the Great Wen. Dorking to London is not far on the map; but on a Sunday morning it was a nightmare. Why does anyone try to drive in London? They cut off roads which appear continuous on the map, others they make one-way – always the opposite way to where you’re heading. After some interesting diversions, we made it, with ten minutes to spare.
It was, though, worth the journey. A marvellously diverse congregation, and an example of how the Ordinariate might develop. Apparently the church had been in danger of closing until the Archbishop of Southwark and Mgr Keith decided to put an Ordinariate priest, Fr Christopher Pearson, in charge. There were enough former Anglicans not to be simply swallowed up by the existing congregation, Fr Christopher had experience of that part of London in his Anglican days, and both communities have come together very happily.
Father gave me the privilege of being Principal Celebrant, which I enjoyed – I hope others did too. Then there was a little more patrimony; the bunfight. I did not quite work out the geography of Church and Presbytery, so I was not clear if we were in the house or the sacristy, but it was all very jolly and we met many people, among them some old friends. Antonia Lynn (trained at a certain House in Oxford) travels in from Ewell, and others come from a distance to find lively worship offered in a recognisably Anglican Manner (recognisable, that is, if you were a well-instructed Anglo-Catholic.)
We were given more hospitality – lunch in a pub in Tabard Street- shades of the Canterbury Pilgrims.
Then we set off for home and found ourselves entangled in the cars of home-going shoppers as we crossed Southwest London, so that the journey was even more wearing than getting to O’Meara Street in the morning. But it was STILL worth the trip. As if to encourage us, we’d been given a SIGN in the sky outside church – disappointingly there was not also “In hoc signo vinces”, but perhaps that is just understood.