Similarities and contrasts – by Sue Chandler

  • Fellowship service

As most of you will know, I am currently up in London helping to support my son every other weekend. My normal pattern, if I am not working on the Sunday, is to go up late Friday and come back late Sunday. Luckily for me there is a church right next door to Tim’s called The Church of the Ascension and I go there whenever I can and am slowly starting to feel as if I belong there too rather I suspect as our regular weekenders do here. There are a lot of similarities with worship there to here – a female vicar who preaches excellent sermons, regular Eucharistic worship, a choir who sing introits and anthems (although not every Sunday) and even more surprisingly the same hymn book as Holy Rood. They too have a curate – she will be priested this Petertide in Southwark Cathedral so I will be praying for her when we are welcoming Karen as our new deacon here. They have lots of lay involvement in the service, just like we do. ,So what you ask are the contrasts.  Well I think the main one is that we are 4 parishes with 5 churches and are lucky enough to have Lydia prepared to run from a 9 am service to a 10 or 10.30 service and then one in the afternoon also. The Church of the Ascension is part of a team ministry – there are three churches, a team rector who looks after the biggest church and a team vicar, Anne, who looks after the other two – this is normal there, most churches have “their own vicar”. The other huge contrast is that the church is not medieval and it is warm!  Even in winter, I will be taking off layers when I walk in rather than putting them on. For me though the biggest contrast is the preaching – both Lydia and Anne are good preachers, I learn a lot from them, but their style is different. Personally I like this, although there are times when I wish I could be at one or the other for an entire sermon series (Lent being an obvious example). So thank you Lord for people like Lydia and Anne who help take us forward in our discipleship and mission.