“Though we are many, we are one body”- I remain Christian because of its claim to unite us. Of course Christians can be fissiparous, and there are other movements which unite people; but our claim is true, sometimes. If more than six thousand people worshipped together at the Eucharist on Sunday morning, then it was the largest congregation with whom I have ever worshipped. Perhaps it was ten thousand.
Worship was to start at 10.30, but I heard hymns from my tent from about 9.30, and was in place near the stage just after ten. Unable to distribute so much bread and wine after consecration- it would have taken an age- we had our Communion Kit bags, to share between 15-20 people, containing a naan bread and a small bottle of cab sav. We sat around in the sun. I was keen to appear groomed and feminine despite the rigours of camping, so wore a dress. I started chatting to Maria, who had just returned from six months in Kenya with the Church Missionary Society. It had felt like the Will of God leading her. She had been unhappy in her work, and a series of synchronicities put her in touch with her former vicar, now testing vocations in the CMS. It was wonderful, and now she was awake to the possibility of further leadings.
We had four female celebrants on the stage, including Desmond Tutu’s daughter Mpho Tutu, who blessed us in Khosa. Singing in such a crowd was great fun, uniting us. I looked up at the beauty of the trees, and the variety of humanity.
Quaker worship went well. I was a little embarrassed to hand out bits of card reading You are warmly invited to join our Quaker Meeting for Worship at The Mount 6pm – 6.30pm Saturday 23 August, but people were happy to take them. We had about a hundred worshippers. The (Anglican) Society of St Francis, who worshipped before us, finished about 5.20, said we were next, and cleared up promptly. We put out our Advices and Queries booklets, several of which were taken away. I hope that next year we will have a stall.
I felt less embarrassed after meeting a woman handing out flyers for the Guild of Health‘s Service of Healing, Justice and Peace. I got chatting. The Guild is mostly Anglican, involving real doctors as well as alternative practitioners. S practises Reiki, and I said something about why I don’t, now, though I have done. I channel Qi to open my chakras- how eclectic- she said I could use the Jesus Prayer to open my chakras. I went to their worship, and after written prayers people were invited to the table, either to receive healing hands or place a candle on a world map on a place needing healing. The female vicar turned to the man who had come to sit beside her, beaming compassionately, and put out her hands for a few seconds. People were queueing for this! I fled.