Days 3-5 passed in a whirl of lectures, food and group work. Much discussion took place on the differences between our churches, ie CofE, SEC and Church of Ireland. The Irish and I found ourselves with more in common than we’d imagined. We certainly don’t do as many weddings and funerals. What did surprise me was the fact that most of the English clergy liked being part of the established church. But I still think that the way we elect bishops is better.
The pattern of worship grew on me too. To begin with it all seemed to me to be very traditional, patriarchal, and perhaps regimented. There were a lot of prayers for the Queen and the Knights of the Garter and not many for the poor and the homeless. But then I kind of came round to the whole notion of what it is to be a Royal Peculiar and the community that it serves. And it is a community. Almost a monastic community.
Canon James, who led our Consultation, was really rather wonderful and incredibly hard-working. Pastoral care is his thing, right enough. In our own diocese we have spoken about care of clergy a lot recently, and I have come away feeling really rather cared for.
Here are some pics.
St George’s House, where we stayed is the pink building ahead. I was in a room on the second floor. To the right is St George’s Chapel where we worshipped. Ahead is the castle. To the left is the houses where the choir live, I think.