Just back from St. Bede's where I was so warmly welcomed both last night and this morning. Last night I was a guest at the annual 'Party of Parties', and this morning I presided at the 8am Mass and preached at both that and the 10am.
Whatever separates us - be it ocean and continent, time - or even a common language (!), the reality is that we all all the same. Apart from our common identity as Anglican Christians, we also share the same hope and fears, concerns and joys - and faith in God. I felt so 'at home' and was deeply conscious of the people of S. Andrew and S. Agnes. The same welcome and hospitality is a common theme in all our churches.
I was delighted to be able to present the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham and to receive so many appreciative remarks. Mary unites us in Jesus.
Yesterday Jim took me to the Huntington Art Gallery and Gardens in Pasedena. It is the most wonderful place and I am very grateful for the chance to have visited. We explored the Library, which contains, amongst other things, a Gutenberg Bible, early copies of Chaucer, the Declaration of Independence etc. as well as a strongroom with their 400,000 most rare books!
The house was built by one of the great 19th. cent. 'Robber Barons' and his wife, Henry and Arabella Huntington. He made his money building and running railroads, developed the extensive (and now defunct) tramway in LA and newspapers. Both were keen Anglo-philes although the house owes more to the French 'belle-epoch'. But the contents reveal his wife's tastes, not least for English portraiture. She must have bought up most of the Romney's and Reynold's that existed! The whole gallery has recently been restored and everything is displayed with the greatest care. The gardens, too, are magnificent and it was wonderful to be able to walk through them. Everything here, of course, owes more to the sub-tropics and that is clearly reflected in the plants and trees. The new Japanese and Chinese gardens are particularly splendid.
Tonight we attend Evensong at St. James', mid-Wilshire district.
It is good to be here.