Friday, 19 September 2008

Keeping the Faith in High Wycombe

70th anniversary mass last night for one of our (comparatively few) Anglo-Catholic churches in Buckinghamshire. Set in a tough urban landscape, St Mary & St George Sands has been a real landmark since 1938. This is a simply lovely place to sing Mass; it has a simple resonant interior. Its real glory, however, is a wonderfuly mixed and close congregation — which has grown a recent ordinand, with another on the go. There’s a warmth and spirit here, exemplified by the celebration cake (The roof was fudge flavoured icing).

I was struck by three quite particular indications of spiritual strength in depth here:
  1. SMSG featured on one UK TV news channel after the arrests of nearby alleged terrorists in 2006, as an extremist mosque! OK, it’s got a green dome. It’s also got a 9 ft Cross on top. You'd think that would be enough to make a UK TV editor question whether it really was a mosque but, er, you’d be wrong.
  2. SMSG took in and for two years cared for Fr James Mukunga, a Zimbabwean priest subject to official persecution. Fr James is now working in the Southwark diocese. For him and his young family it was a place of recovery, healing and hope. This may be a comparatively small congregation, but it’s generous and focused on the needs of the real world.
  3. As part of thier recent celebrations, SMSG hired in an Earth Balloon, filling the area under the dome for a day with the 16 metre blow-up globe, so that local children of all ages could come and discover amazing things about the real world in Church, in a way they will remember for the rest of their lives.
Mother Susie Simpson is leaving soon, to follow a calling to serve as a priest among young offenders at the (original) Borstal in Kent. There’s a fabulous job here, wating for the right person...

1 comment:

Yvonne said...

Nice cake, and I love the inflatable Earth.

Well you know, a green dome must be a mosque (the cross was obviously just protective camouflage...)

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