We’re in London! All choir members, chaperones, and most of our “groupies” flew overnight Friday to arrive in London early Saturday morning. Some of us slept, some dozed, others were awake the entire time. Whether we slept or not, we were all a bit groggy, so we settled into the hotel and hostel, and took life pretty easy on Saturday. London has so many experiences and sites that are unlike anywhere else in the world, so most of us used Saturday to become familiar with buses, the tube, and learning to look right (not left like at home) before crossing the street.
Sunday had a couple “official duties:” The Choir of Trinity Cathedral in Portland, Oregon, under the direction of Bruce Neswick, was in residence this past week. We attended the principal Sunday Eucharist Service and Sunday Evensong to worship and to observe “how things work” at St. Paul’s.
Sunday also brought an interesting but exciting challenge: The IAAF World Championships (track and field) are also in London this week. Sunday’s main event was the marathon, which ran right by St. Paul’s Cathedral. Although the streets were blocked, “controlled crossings” allowed tourists and us to get to and from the cathedral relatively easily.
After Evensong, the Choir and friends had a lovely, simple dinner at the Café in the Crypt at St. Martin in the Fields (Trafalgar Square). Some of us walked from the cathedral, which added about 1.5 miles to our daily steps. All the food at the café is sourced from local and national sustainable sources. The café serves as a principal source of funding for St. Martin’s ministries of social justice and the care of the vulnerable and the disadvantaged (especially those experiencing homelessness in London).
Monday is our first “work day” at the cathedral. We’ll have a guided tour to start the day, then after lunch we’ll settle into our new “office” (the Choir Room in the crypt of the cathedral). After rehearsing a bit, we’ll sing our first Evensong at 5 PM London time.
For those who wish to be at prayer with us, remember that 5 PM is Noon Philadelphia time. You can follow the link from our first blog entry to an Order for Noonday Prayer. Today’s Psalm is Psalm 94:12-23 [link: https://bible.oremus.org/?ql=369088729]. Our setting of the Canticles (the Magnificat and the Nunc Dimittis) were composed by A. Herbert Brewer. The anthem will be “O for a Closer Walk with God” by C.V. Stanford.
(Editor’s Note: As you follow along this week, you’ll notice that some of the psalms are full of strong emotions. A couple others retell parts of the Exodus story in lyrical form. It is a tradition of the Church to cycle through the entire book of Psalms regularly, so we will be singing the psalm appointed for Evensong each day. This is a good practice, since the psalms allow us to hear the full range of human emotion and experience like almost no other part of Scripture.)