The blogmaster of the St. Agatha’s Ordinariate blog, Portsmouth, has been dreaming about potential principal churches for the Ordinariate. Here are his musings:
Scenario 1. Minor growth in the Ordinariate
Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane. This church, close to Trafalgar Square, was built in 1874 and has an English feel. Certainly hassocks would not seem out of place. The Lady Chapel is currently being restored and is to be based on the Holy House of Loreto, housing a newly carved image of Our Lady of Walsingham. I can imagine a painting of the Pope, Queen Elizabeth and Keith Newton being at the back alongside a visitor’s book. Merry Anglican traditions such as raffles, coffee mornings and the annual beating the bounds could take place.
Scenario 2. The Ordinariate doubles in size
St Dominic’s Priory, Haverstock Hill built 1883. It is Cathedral size and would be useful for large events such as ordinations. The building is very tall allowing for banners to swing freely and Anglican chant to reverberate. Side chapels, of which there are many, could be dedicated to Our Lady of Walsingham and John Henry Newman. Mass could be celebrated every day with Solemn Pontifical High Mass and Evensong on Sundays. There is a stone statue of Peter that could be coped and wear a papal tiara. The parish rooms can be renamed the ‘Walsingham suite’ hosting talks and clerical meetings. Ecumenical links with local Anglicans would be possible as St Silas, Kentish Town is just a 10 minute walk.
Scenario 3. Phenomenal Growth
The UK Ordinariate could be divided into two districts/provinces each with a Bishop. Known as the “Basilica of the South Coast religion” St Agatha’s could serve the Southern bishopric including Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and the West Country. It’s the only Ordinariate church that was once part of the CofE and served a typical Anglo Catholic slum parish. Many furnishings are by renowned craftsmen such as Comper and Travers and there is a ring of bells. With a restored Lady Chapel and North aisle, opportunities are created for permanent vestment displays. A proposed urban regeneration of the local shopping centre (see artist’s impression) would improve the church setting.