Taking a 'sabbatical day' after First Week of Retreat. Yesterday I explored Downtown - wide, wide roads, a spacious layout, quiet (for a Saturday) and mostly filled with coffee shops, restaurants, rather expensive womens clothing stores (and one men's) and 'antique' shops. Guess that all other stores have re-located to out-of-town shopping malls. The centre also has many 'street people' wandering round - some begging, others just lazing in the park. And if long grey hair and drooping moustashes are evidence, there seem to be plenty of old hippies. Apart from browing round the streets and drinking coffe there's not much to do, but there seems to be a Fine Arts Center which I'll check out next week.
Today I attended Mass at a central Episcopal church. It shall remain nameless. The building hits you when you see it - a 15th cent. Early English-Decorated Cotswalds church transplanted to the middle of this city! I say 'middle of the city': it's only a ten minute walk from the centre but the time youget to the church you're into leafy suburbia with its equally wide roads full of those "little boxes all made out of ticky-tacky" Pete Seeger sang about in the '60's. But I wont be critial of them: in comparison with our acres of Bovis-build these are all very individaulistic - there may be "a green one and a pink one and a green one and a yellow one" but none do look just them same.
So I entered the doors and took part in the Mass. It was the Traditional Rite of the Episcopal Church with a very large choir who sang a pleasant anthem at Communion. Very 'Civic Church of England'. There were two sermons - a 'Childrens Address' followed by the Sermon proper. Like the building, which whilst quintessentially English has nevertheless been interpreted in an American way, the Liturgy was similar. I realised how far more comfortable I am with the modern Roman Rite! The 'Annoncements' occured in the middle of the Eucharist and visitors were welcomed and invited to share in "Coffee hour". But when it came time to leave no one told me where to go. But the Deacon was cheery in her greeting, although the priest was more perfunctory and I was not inclined to join them. They could learn a thing or two from dear old St. Andrew's or St. Bede's! Perhaps I should have visited the 'Cowboy Church' - check it out!
So I caught the hus back to the Center as the snow began to fall (which it still is). I shall begin Week Two later this afternoon. So far it has proved a valuable time and I atill have three more weeks to go...