Sunday, August 31, 2008

Anglican Chant Sunday

I'm off to Choral Mattins at one of the bastions of Protestantism in this diocese, so here's a weather report and the British Highway Code set to Anglican chant. Tip of the biretta to Ren.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


The airline on which I was planning to book my flight (but didn't yet, thank God) has gone under, so my plans for next year's Anglican National Pilgrimage are up in the air. Damn it all.

Friday, August 29, 2008

No homo

My (entirely unchosen) sexual orientation has, as many readers will already know, barred the fulfillment of two of my great ecclesiastical dreams: to study at Nashotah House, and to become a member of the Society of the Holy Cross (though there's always the Society of Catholic Priests).

It seems, though, that my seminary options are even more limited than I previously understood. Nashotah is far from the only no-fly zone for gay seminarians. One individual went so far as to declare: "Your only option is Trinity College." My parish priest, herself a Wycliffe alumna, tells me: "I don't think you could survive Wycliffe." Another priest said: "I think Wycliffe would drive you nuts." (Perhaps he simply meant the habitual guitar masses? Wycliffe is not a place where they believe that "Praise Bands Annoy God," as the Facebook group is titled). Annoyingly, a gay but archconservative friend remarked to me: "Wycliffe teaches the faith, Trinity the doubts." But apparently learning the faith isn't an option for me, though as a Trinity student I could take courses at Wycliffe. (For reference, here is Wycliffe's Statement of Moral Vision - scroll to bottom of page).

Another gay but archconservative friend, who grew up in the West Indies, warns me that the social climate there rules out Codrington College. And my English friends warn me that St Stephen's House, Oxford, once a hotbed of seminarian fraternization, has really tightened up the reins since the principalship of David Hope. All of which is beside the now exorbitant cost of studying in the UK for non-Europeans.

All of this has brought Trinity to the top of my list, though I may apply to a couple of American schools, like Berkeley-Yale and the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in New York. I have nothing against Trinity (and I relish the opportunity to apply to Massey), but I rather resent having the decision made for me by default, because of a personal (possibly even biological) characteristic I can do nothing about.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

St Mike's time

I'm off to the St Michael's Youth Conference, Ontario, aka Prayer Book Society boot camp, so no posts this week. I note this despite having a feeling that no more than a dozen people follow The Rose Maniple.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

At First I was an Anglican

Today, I ventured to the First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Toronto (Wikipedia) for Divine Service with Holy Communion. Attendance was sparse and I was personally greeted by the pastor upon my arrival. I was struck by the absence of kneelers, and also by the high altar, which was adorned with "big six" and fixed against the wall. I was all primed for an ad orientem celebration.

I had brought both Evangelical Lutheran Worship and the Lutheran Book of Worship with me, not knowing which they used (I figured it was a safe bet to leave my Service Book and Hymnal at home).

The pastor wore a Geneva gown and an unspeakably tacky green stole. We began with a hymn, so that the Confession and Forgiveness was the beginning of the service (rather than a sort of pre-service followed by the opening hymn). The hymn was "There's a wideness in God's mercy" sung to a tune called Lord, Revive Us. It's also given to St Helena in ELW, but not to In Babilone. Bizarre, I know. Setting One from ELW was sung with a distinct lack of enthusiasm by the tiny congregation. I have no idea what lectionary was used. Psalm 30 was read, like all of the lections, by the pastor. The Epistle was from First Corinthians, and the Gospel was part of the Parable of the Sower from Matthew. There was no Old Testament lesson. The congregations is affiliated with the Protestant Church in Germany as well as the ELCIC, so perhaps the lectionary was theirs.

I was disappointed at the Words of Institution (there was no Eucharistic Prayer), at which point the pastor spun around and held up the elements, consecrating them in midair while facing verus populum. Oh, well. At least he faced east for the Intercessions and Postcommunion.

The pastor bravely communicated me on the tongue. There was a communion rail, which I found interesting given the lack of kneeling in the rest of the Liturgy. Several people declined the chalice and opted for Presbyterian shooters instead.

Afterwards, a woman asked me if I was a Lutheran. Perhaps she had seen me crossing myself. I replied that I was an Anglican. 'Same difference,' remarked another woman, which is indeed true in Canada as of 2001. The pastor marvelled that I had travelled all the way from North York (he must have read my entry in the guestbook, which I signed before Mass). I didn't get to ask about the Lectionary, or my other burning question: was the congregation LCA-CS or ELCC before the merger?

I will certainly return to First Lutheran again, and am thinking of Reformation Sunday as a possible time for my next visit.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Proof that I was born too late

My friends, especially my gay friends, are somewhat bemused by me. I appear to be some perverse kind of homo time traveller.

It's not my fault that young gay men of my generation have traded in disco, Anglo-Catholicism, and Stephen Fry for house music, Wicca, and Margaret Cho.

A religious priest

Today was the Sunday on which both of our priests' summer holidays overlapped, so a priest from one of the religious orders in the diocese was our celebrant and homilist. During the sermon, she included a few autobiographical details on how she came to the monastic life. I felt a slight pang when I heard this, which may be a sign. The religious life still holds a certain measure of appeal for me, it seems. My RC confirmation teacher, whom I idolised at the age of 14, once told me that religious priests were the best priests.

It was nice to sing the liturgy to Merbecke, which I never tire of, but despite being "page 230" (what our American cousins would call "Rite I") the celebrant injected a highly contemporary "feel" into the Mass. For one thing, we (I was the subdeacon) administered the sacrament to her, which I am not accustomed to doing (though I did so once in a Lutheran context). This was after she had communicated us, which would spark controversy in some circles. Personally, I can see merit to both the host-eats-last and completing-the-sacrifice-first arguments, so I tend to err on the side of Tradition.

It was a successful service, and I hope Sister will be back with us soon.