When I went to England in September I was simply blown away by all the architecture. On just about every corner in the villages and sprinkled what seemed every few miles in the countryside was a Church. The pubs were just as frequent. We’d be driving along in the middle of nowhere and boom…a pub…and a Church. We’re not talking a little old wooden church in the woods. Every one is made of stone with large wooden doors hundreds of years old.
I only spent five days there though I could have stayed five weeks. It was an amazing experience and one I’ll never forget. Having stayed through a Sunday I did go to Mass at an Anglican Church that belongs to the Church of England. This is the one that I went to.
|St. John the Baptiste Church, Midsomer Norton|
It was the first liturgical service I’d ever attended. The vicar was very sing-songy while reciting his part of the liturgy. Having never participated in a service of this kind, I was lost until a woman in front of me showed me the prayer and liturgy book. Even then I was still a bit confused because depending on what the vicar recited there were two or three options that the congregants were to respond with. Just call me blonder than I pay to be.*grin* We sang some hymns and though the words were familiar, the tunes were completely different and no music was played. The acapella hymns echoed off the hard surfaces of the stone carved interior. At the time I thought I didn’t really care for the service. It seemed so formal and rigid. Reflecting later, though, I realize just how much I really did enjoy it. Though I felt like a fish out of water I saw beauty in the tradition and reverence, awe and purpose for each implement. When the time came for the Eucharist people slowly filed out of each pew and down to the front to kneel at the prayer bench. Even if there was no intent to partake of the Eucharist one could simply cross their arms and receive a blessing from the vicar. I stayed quietly in my seat.
The next day was a full day of sightseeing. I had my own personal tour guide. We drove to a car park and caught a bus into Bath.
|Bath Abbey originally founded in 675 AD as a monastery. The detail on the stone carvings is unbelievable.|
|Bath Abbey, Bath England|
|Bath Abbey, Bath, England|
|Nave, Bath Abbey|
Bath is only a short distance from Midsomer Norton. It’s absolutely breathtaking!
The stained glass is something to behold. Vibrant colors all telling a story of saints and angels and Christ.
|Stained Glass, Bath Abbey|
We walked, and we walked, and we walked some more. Up 217 steps of narrow, steep spiral staircase to get to the top of the spire at Bath Abbey. In every direction as far as I could see there are church spires reaching up toward the sky.
My trip was certainly an eyeopening experience. The people there were lovely and didn’t seem hung up on a lot of the things we are here. They didn’t appear to be sizing me up by what religion, political party or race I belong to. They embraced me for who I am, I didn’t have to put on any airs. Just me, and that was good enough.
Oh, I thought I’d be going back in September of 2011, but I just can’t wait that long. So I’m leaving Friday on a jet plane…..