Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Christ Church St.Lawrence and I

I mentioned CCSL in a recent post.

In the late 1980s this was my parish church. I had moved to Surry Hills and my ex-girlfriend had declined to become my current girlfriend if I didn't resume my Christian participation.

I resumed. As it was, the Christian participation was more enduring that the relationship.

The nearest place of Christian coalescence was CCSL. I'd been there on a couple of occasions previously. One for a service sung by the choir of Kings College, Cambridge (or a similar choir) and on another occasion at Easter, so I had some familiarity with the place.

I quickly fell in with a crowd of about my age, but including people of upwards of 15 to 20 years older.

One couple hosted an open lunch in their home on Sundays after the Choral Eucharist. These were wonderful occasions of friendship and fellowship attended by a diversity of members, clergy, servers, choir and general friends. The lunch often ran up to time for Evensong.

I developed some lovely friendships over the three or so years I considered myself part of this church and its Wednesday evening group.

We met for the Wednesday eucharist, then dinner at a local restaurant (the Volcano pizzeria was a favourite) followed by a study group at Fr Reg's flat. These were the highlight of my week.

I loved living in walking distance of both my office and my church, and both buildings were of architectural significance in the history of Sydney, to boot.

St. James had some similar litrugical attractions: the un-hurried confidence and peacefulness of the services was very encouraging and 'grounding' and the prayer, music, scriptures, and the biblical solidarity of the prayer book all worked together to engender worshipful reflection.

As St. James was very close to my office, I often attended the mid-week eucharist there. Later at St Philip's Church Hill, when my office was closer to it. A few of us met for a BCP service.

When we didn't trot up to R and M's for lunch a few of us strolled along to the Graphic Arts club for Sunday lunch. I also ate at this, my father's trade union club with him from time to time during the work week. They were wonderful times.

A memorable moment from this time was a 'pilgrimage' we undertook to Bathurst cathedral. The two parishes clubbed together and hired a steam-engined train for the trip to Bathurst and back. I think the CCSL choir might have sung at Bathurst. Very special.

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