Sunday, February 22, 2015

Lunch times

When I started work in the city there was a plethora of lunch time meetings sponsored by the Anglican Dept. of Evangelism, I think it was. Don Howard was involved, and I enjoyed talks by John Chapman, Bps. Don Cameron and John Reid as well as others.

There were three venues on different days: St James hall in Philip St, St Andrew's House in Bathurst Street, and in the basement 'hall' at Scots Church in Margaret St. The latter was close to my work. I must admit, I tended to follow Howard and Cameron around. Cameron gave a memorable talk at St James on the life to come...he spoke of a young married couple who by family wealth had life handed to them on a plate. The Bp proposed that that sounded just perfect. Then he said 'but its peanuts' and went on to discuss Paul's disdain for the privations and benefits of this life given the hope we have.

As Christians, we seek to see suffering in this context: Paul does. But it applies to wealth too: in eternal perspective wealth is insignificant. I'm happy to say I've met a number of Christians who've shown how to live mindfully of this.

Also close to my office was the RC church of St Patrick's, in Grosvenor Street. I went there once with a friend to a lunch time mass. Not for me.

This habit dropped off when I worked for firms in North Sydney and St. Leonards. St Thomas' at North Sydney had some lunch time meetings, but they failed to live up to what I was used to.

Slipping abroad, I attended a couple of lunch time meetings at St Helen's Bishopsgate in London: just like home!

After some changes in my faith, and when I was part of St James King Street, I attended a mid-week communion from time to time with a friend from uni. He also of an evangelical background, but like me found the service peaceful and spiritually encouraging.

Time went on again, and I and my office moved to Railway Square. I considered attending lunch time eucharist at CCSL, but didn't get around to it: my priorities and interests were changing, I suppose.

More recently I've been working near Wynyard and attended both lunch time talks and a Friday communion at St Philips, Church Hill. The group at communion was very small, but I quite enjoyed the use of BCP. The pace and old language took me to a different place mentally; that gave a welcome contrast to the pressures of work.

At most there were probably half a dozen of us attending, most older than me, some retired. It seems that at whatever age, I am so often in the 'youth group'! Less so now that I'm approaching 60, I must say.

The Rector, Justin Moffatt, decided that weekly communion was too much, so it became monthly. I couldn't see what the problem was: ministry is ministry and numbers should not be that important and Ray Smith's ministry at it was well received. It was a great 'stake in the city' for the worship of God that we met weekly, I thought.

Justin's lunch time talks were a lot of fun. He is an engaging and lively speaker, but I've not been for some time, as my spiritual preoccupations have shifted, and some evangelical talk seems just to go round in circles.

I was quite shocked at one talk where we had a well known lecturer from Moore College to speak. He was standing by himself, unoccupied as I entered the room. I noticed an elderly man, one of our regulars who quietly attended each week, sitting by himself. Jeff, I think his name was, and he must have been near 80. I sometimes exchanged greetings with Jeff, and was upset to see our diocesan worthy not talking to this old saint. I pointedly avoided bolstering the worthy's ego and sat with Jeff to chat instead.

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