That’s Beryl in the foreground, pacing up and down the pews, waiting for the 8.30 am Morning Prayer service at ‘St Paul’s Within The Walls’ to commence. It was led by Dominic, the liturgical assistant, who has a holiday home in Melbourne, Florida (so there really is such a place). All the Anglican priests from Rome were in Munich for a Diocesan Conference. [Note to Melbourne Diocese – Munich, not Bendigo!!]. Last year they met in Nice. I suggested a change of topic.
There were four of us in the chapel for Mattins. If Dominic had known I was a priest before the service began, he said he would have asked me to celebrate Mass and give a sermon. I’m not sure my license extends that far without the approval of Bp Pierre (we are friends on Twitter but that may not be enough) so I was content to read the lessons, whilst Dominic in an alb within the sanctuary, led us in worship. It was informal and refreshing after the hustle and bustle of the past few days. Merritt, who works with UNESCO and who did the intercessions at the service including a mention of the SCP conference, took us all to breakfast afterwards (shades of St Giorgio’s in Malvern, I thought). After breakfast we went across the road to another cafe and met four more parishioners who who had just finished (thankfully) a bible study on Leviticus, and were preparing to attend the next service (also lay-led Morning Prayer). They were fun too, and I left with the knowledge that, even though few, they were an inviting, welcoming and hospitable parish. What more could you ask for? And I was impressed that the laity took everything their stride.
As I left that cafe I bumped into Mthr Robyn, the vicar of Burwood East. Finally, another Melbournian. She was going to attend the 10.30 service, so I told her to say she was my friend and a priest. She probably had to preach! I’ll find out at dinner with her this evening.