Sunday, 24 March 2013

The Higher Order of the Baptised

Choir, Cathedral of the Holy and undivided Trinity, Bristol. 12th cent.

 As readers of this blog over the years will know, we have had no pastoral oversight from an orthodox Anglican Bishop here in Wales for quite a number of years. This is not an ideal situation but which of necessity we live with provisionally (for years, decades or perhaps much longer following God's timing not ours) but always in hope of a return to the proper ordering of our part of the universal Church and the catholic faith within our Province, of which we strive to be faithful disciples within the reformed Anglican tradition.

 Another nave altar disaster. Might look better at the Bristol corn exchange.
Our Lady. beautiful.
  It was therefore good as a wandering celtic college of priests and deacons with their faithful to be made welcome again by the see of Ebbsfleet for the Mass of Chrism at one of it's three venues this Holy Week season at Holy Trinity Cathedral Bristol (and importantly facilitated by the Dean and Chapter to whom thanks are due- and why can't our Cathedrals in Wales help our own?). During the interregnum vacancy it was celebrated by the Bishop of Plymouth, Bishop John Ford to whom we are grateful.  In the homily, which hopefully will hit the digital air waves sometime soon, he referred amongst many things for us to again return joyfully (Ps. 51) to our vocation to proclaim the Gospel.

"Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you."

Addressing us in the threefold order of Bishops, Deacons and Priests. Importantly he spoke of "the higher order of the Baptised" from which all the other orders stem;  how true and good to be reminded of that. We can not bring Christ to the world without the faithful laity, especially at this time of great challenge to the faith. The vocation to the Christian life as a lay person is vital and of paramount importance to God and his church. However, not as proposed by some in place of or absorbed into holy orders but separate in it's own distinct identity and character from divine grace.

Passiontide veiling.

 Also he spoke of our mission within the undivided church as being the priority. The one church of God, irrespective of painful divisions within and among the various denominations of Christianity. The liturgy was supported musically to a very high standard; for which grateful thanks, by the most accomplished assistant cathedral organist Paul Walton and by the Ebbsfleet affiliated choir with servers from All Saints, Clifton (pray for that parish at this time of vacancy for a priestly father, pleasing to the Lord and in keeping with the traditions of His church there). Let us hope that God (and the Bishop of Bristol) will be merciful.

Some of the Welsh connection.


  1. Nave altar? looks more like the console of the Tardis!

    1. It has also been pointed out to me that as there is no proper "fair linen cloth" for the celebrations of the Eucharist only a large corporal, it's use in this way could strictly be illegal under the canons.

    2. I agree: with the time travel dial stuck somewhere in the late 1960s ...