I did my vicar training on the Northern Ordination Course. Monday evening over to Rusholme, Manchester. A dose of voluntary Greek or Hebrew, then the course proper. Also, about nine residential weekends a year, and a summer school.
It’s all changed now, but it was a great mix. Part of it was the annual residential weekend at Mirfield – with the vicars in training there. We got to go along to the regular worship the brothers do, sitting in the guest seats.
It’s plain song, chanting if you like. Psalms and Canticles, recited in unison, with precision pauses in the designated places, all done as one.
You leave affected by it, but I was one it didn’t effect. It was words and words and words.
I was no better with icons. We once had a room full of traditional, modern, abstract, pictures. All windows on God. Not for me.
For me it is story. Particularly if honest story, which lets you see the God connections, not tries to construct it for you. You can call it testimony, but not if it simply follows a formula. Words making pictures, pictures making connections with the Creator.
All Saints is full of people stories, some told, others yet to be told, many yet to happen.
By story, I don’t mean fiction – I mean God-fact written in lives. Living epistles.