Church/religion 5

We had a pleasant evening last Sunday at the Cathedral when they were saying goodbye to X. I can’t say I got anything out of his sermon any more than the four years I heard him every week! – but it was nice to see so many old friends.

I asked the boys what they’d give up for Lent the other day and after much debate one said he’d give up getting cross so I said, ‘Are you sure, that sounds like hard work’. Whereupon the other one said, ‘That’s a good idea, I’ll give up hard work’!

I’ve just had my grandfather’s Bible rebound. I got it in two halves from two aunts. Inside it is inscribed ‘Presented to X on his 25th Birthday from his Father-in-Law with a request that the Contents may often be perused, with a Spiritual Blessing resulting thereby’.

It’s a sort of inter-denominational monthly do… the meeting over – ran for thirty five minutes – mostly a man with a fantastic gift of the gab, but some queer ideas, I thought, talking on a passage of what sounded like Habbakuk – and then his wife (50 if a day) got up to croon one of these gospel songs, which she did three times over in a voice of warm treacle – really revolting, after which they got everyone to sing it with her still leading, about fifteen times, interspersed with ‘altar calls’ (if you know what they are) and exhortations to go to another meeting on Sunday afternoon etc.

Another of our ewe-lambs went off and got dipped last Sunday with the Pentecostalists – full of joy and quite unrepentant for not having consulted his clergy first. Very trying, these individualists!

Last week we had our own pet visiting preacher. He has turned out to be an admirable speaker, thank the Lord, and in spite of my well-known propensity for sleeping when other clergymen talk, I have listened to him every day and twice most days without once dropping off! Perhaps it helps that by and large I agree with him on almost every subject he has talked about.

We spent nearly all our time shopping apart from a 4 hour trip round Hong Kong Island – and a service on Sunday morning which I walked to and found a church which was almost a duplicate of a Victorian one just off Queens Road in Weybridge – so Anglican and so completely un-Asian that it was too pathetic to be funny.

We get little snatches of news about the row going on in UK over the ordination of women, the latest of which is the ex Bishop of London’s threat to lead a party of priests to join the Roman church; or to form a new C of E under the Pope – I’m not quite sure which. I think he must be crazy: I have a book of his from which I guess that no way could he accept the sort of intellectual discipline that Rome exerts.

[Poor attendance] seems to have been afflicting the House Group I go to on Thursday evenings. Maybe it has just been the very long and beastly winter which we are emerging from, but quite often the group only produces about five people although in theory we have a membership of about fifteen. Personally I think it is also because we don’t have a sufficiently worthwhile programme, and waste a lot of time drinking tea, not having met until 7.15 p.m. so we don’t actually start doing anything until about 8.30 apart from chatting. And when we do start, our capacity for chasing red herrings is quite something, so we never, but never actually get through any programme – and often take three weeks to cover what other groups apparently cover in one session. However, as long as they enjoy it – !

The group