We’ve been away. It turns out moving countries takes a disproportionate amount of time. Happily, we now consider ourselves experts at international moving, so should that ever be a scenario you find yourself entertaining, this is the place to come for advice. Everything from how to ship an opinionated tortoiseshell cat comfortably across the ocean to wrangling with customs – we’ve done it.
That was back in January and since then we’ve been reestablishing roots, which it turns out takes almost as much effort as surviving customs encounters with your sanity in tact. We think we’re making progress. Us and the cat, who not only has been displaced from Scotland but has been asked to befriend a pair of excitable Canadian Dachshunds on top of it. They’re advancing in fellowship at a rate that makes molasses in January look positively fast, but on the other hand, no one’s lost any blood yet, so we continue hopeful.
Ourselves, we’ve been cultivating the resident spikey church, which takes as much pride in its copious amounts of incense as it does in its arts-and-crafts-style windows. We’ve never seen a church so heavily censed as to actually obscure the chancel, and if we didn’t miss having a choir of our own so much we’d probably be relieved to be only a congregant here. In fact though, we like it. Maybe its something about being partially-sighted but we’ve always appreciated the multi-sensory approach of really high church Anglicans to their worship.
And as it happens, we couldn’t have arrived back in Canada at a better time to join them. Between Candlemas and all the auxiliary Lent services we’re now pretty well established as one of their people, and are even getting a reputation for singing the communion hymns because we never did find out if that was verboten from congregants or not. We don’t know how long the median tone in the psalm is either, but by now we’ve got a fairly good approximate guess. Of course, we miss Anglican Chant, and The New English Hymnal, but we suspect that’s because those are the things we know. It’s a bit disconcerting to have to play ecclesiastical One Song to the Tune of Another every other hymn, but it’s hardly their fault.
It turns out though that Palm Sunday is virtually the same across the Anglican Communion, and there are some hymns even Common Praise won’t alter the words too, for which our everlasting gratitude, because if ever we were likely to miss the grandeur of our seaside Scottish Episcopals it was today. But as we came away after a service featuring everything bar the kitchen sink, our only observation to friends half a world away was, ‘Aren’t the Canadian crosses wee and dainty?’
We’ll try and look in again during the Tridium. There are some definite advantages to not having a choir, and one of them is sleep during Holy Week. To anyone bearing the brunt of that musical effort though we send fellow-feeling, very best wishes, and lots of tea. Nothing’s nearly so effective at sustaining a person through that glut of services.