Yesterday I took a day off from everything, blogging as well it seems. After an easy morning I set off downtown with no plan other than to wander, watch people, drink coffee, eat food and drink some beer.
My wanderings took me into various conversations with some people. Some people sitting on the street, some people campaigning on an anti-Obama campaign, some people serving in various shops. I came across some quite interesting people who shared parts of their story, and they seemed interested in mine being from England. I spent some time wandering around Pike Place and drinking coffee here and there.I ended up paying a return visit to Kells, watched some football with a beer or two before returning (after a good Ardbeg) via a good bus transport system to the hermitage where I live.
Today it was an early start for a Sunday as I was collected and taken to St John the Baptist Church in West Seattle, where I was invited to share what I do in Rochester and answer a number of questions. In some ways it was like crossing into another world, and it some ways not (if that makes any sense at all!?) The service was fairly familiar as some of the liturgy was similar, although I have noticed a great use of the Nicene Creed here, but a version that omits the filioque clause. It was quite odd at first to see it like this when we visited the Urban Life Church and I must admit that I added it myself this morning as it is something that I feel should be there. There’s a comment that can ignite a few centuries of argument! For me, this morning, to not say those words ‘who proceeds from the Father and The Son’ seemed to hold a sense of incompleteness.
I have noticed other differences between the CofE and the Episcopal church, some that I consider good: such as the permanent diaconate; some that I don’t like: such as the omission of the filioque clause; and some that I wonder about: such as higher stipends (I discovered last week that ordained people here have a stipend just over double that given in England) as I wonder what message this gives about how church uses money. Although… if there are ever a shortage of priests here it makes a move look attractive!
All these things are interesting to reflect upon – the differences between culture not just across the Atlantic but within the US itself. No doubt my last few days here will give more time to reflect and engage a little more before I return home.
This evening I will attend the COTA Eucharist, which will be my last service here, at least for this trip.