Sunday, December 03, 2006

Matters ecclesiastical

Today I went to Lyon Anglican Church a.k.a 'easychurch' (see "Spreading the Word of God to English speaking people in Lyon". It was a service of lessons and carols for Advent, "The Advent Hope".

Liturgy: Is something the Orthodox church has
Advent wreath: Blue metallic candles, a purple one in the centre
Hymn book: Mission Praise (The Complete)
Pew Bibles: Yes
Chasuble: No
High Altar and Reserved Sacrament: Not in a month of Sundays
Organ: replaced by small group of assorted musicians including exciting african drum
Hymns: A few good ones, but bad word changes and some classic rubbish ("His saints…will meet Him in the air" made me laugh particularly)
Language: Modern except for some invading 'thy' in the Lord's Prayer
Flowers: There's a potted palm tree in the sanctuary
Coffee: Yes, and even what purport to be Jaffa Cakes!
Youth group: definitely
Banners: Several
Involvement of people: Very keen
Multiculturalism: High

When the vicar asked me what church I went to at home, his response was "Ah, not quite like this then". No, says I, but it's not a bad thing to see a different church from time to time. And indeed, it's not. Having been fully prepared for a happy-clappy experience, I was actually rather pleased with what I found this morning. Musically dodgy at times, but nevertheless much better than the catholic churches where it would appear that 490 of the 500 people there don't have a clue how to sing the hymn, and most don't even try. Lots of young readers, which was good, and a community that notices you–I met a lovely (English) family who invited me to lunch at their house, in fact it turned out that their daughter who is also on her year abroad was Cecily's roommate at school and is now at University with Sarah! The world is very small. Apparently the man who is in charge of their music is also involved with the Chemin Neuf community so there might be an opportunity to discover more about that too.
Until now, I'd tried a few different churches near me. First, I went to the Cathedral (St Jean) but although I quite liked it, after discovering that their 60-strong girls choir was amplified and that their adult choir was rubbish, I decided to move on. Next I went to St Bonaventure, an old Franciscan church of grand proportions at Cordeliers. I liked this a lot: relaxed and with a decent proportion of young people, and interesting sermons. Also, they have an organ recital series before the evening mass at 7pm on the first sunday of every month. Lovely. However, I thought I'd better try at least one more, so off I trotted to St Nizier, an enormous cathedral-like church not far from Bellecour. This too I liked: so big a congregation that it's full to bursting on Sunday morning and there are not enough seats unless you get there early, lots of young families and what looks like a decent student-age lot as well. The one problem: despite helping set up their 'crèche' (crib scene) last sunday, there isn't really any way of being known/getting to know people in such a big church…I shall keep going sometimes, but it remains a bit of a mystery (there is no coffee after mass, for example). So I thought today that it was time I showed my face at the Anglican outpost, and there we are, something very different, but pleasing in its own way! Watch this space for more thoughts on church matters…

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