Monday, August 4, 2008

Closing Eucharist, Reception, and Moving Day

Yesterday was a bit of whirlwind. After the closing plenary in which everyone said "good-bye" and the final draft of the Reflections were released, the buses left for Canterbury Cathedral for the closing Eucharist.

To be honest, I wasn't greatly excited by most of this Eucharist. The bishops sat in the nave and we were in the choir with the volunteers. Since the service was celebrated in the nave we could hear a little but couldn't see anything. The music wasn't fabulous and I wasn't particularly motivated, but by the end of the service it was my favourite part of Lambeth.

Many of the members of the Lambeth Chaplaincy Team were from the Melanesian Brotherhood/Sisterhood. In 2003 seven Melanesian brothers were (simple version) killed while trying to bring peace to the Solomon Islands. During this Eucharist, following communion, the brothers chanted a litany in their very moving and distinctive style, first forming a circle around the compass rose in the nave and presenting the names of the brothers to the Archbishop, and then processing back through the choir to the Chapel of the Saints and Martyrs in our Own Time (which is behind the choir). When they arrived they found Luiz's incredible icon of the seven brothers. Prayers were said over the chanting. It was the first time I've really felt moved in the past few weeks.

After the service there was a reception complete with Big Band/ Swing music and plenty of dancing!

An American Brother and Bishop Roskam, after she taught us how to Charleston!

Lucy, a steward (and the best dancer of the lot), after she asked ++Rowan to dance. He was quite good - and she got £5 out of it.

Michael Sniffin with the Lord Mayor.

Today we moved out the bishops. My shift began at 2:30 am (for bishops who needed to be at the airports for am flights), so none of us bothered to go to sleep. It was rather quiet, and I had some good conversation with another steward.

After we got off duty we went to morning Eucharist at 6:30am. This was previously a morning prayer. Fr. Richard, who works with the Melenesians celebrated, and the whole service, with 33 people - a mix of religious, stewards, staff, and bishops, all sitting on prayer stools was beautiful, especially as we knew the next step would be breaking down the Prayer Place.

It has been a marvellous day, but I'm already getting anxious to leave.

Our youth conference with ++Rowan starts tomorrow, which should be interesting.

Anyhow, I will be posting my reflections over the next few days, so please do check back.
In peace,
A Lambeth Steward


Stephanie Shockley said...


I've been reading your blog through the entire conference.

I have been so thrilled and so proud that you are there as a steward. How absolutely amazing!

Best wishes for the retreat with the ABC and safe travels back to NJ.

FranIAm said...

This has been a great service Allie- thank you, I will keep checking back.

God bless you richly! I am so pleased to have made your acquaintance through blogging.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I think you shall be telling your grandchildren about this experience. Well done, my dear, well done.