So Sunday marked the end of the week of prayer for Christian Unity. In the fall I was invited by the Rector, Rev. Dr. Byron Gilmore, of Christ Church Anglican to do a pulpit-swap in honor of the day. For the uninitiated – a pulpit swap is pretty much how it sounds – you and another minister swap churches for the morning. You go to their place, and they come to yours. I’ve done a pulpit swap before with another Presbyterian Church, but never with another denomination.
So this was quite the new experience to me. In fact, I have only every been to an Anglican church once before in my life (during my seminary days). Christ Church is a vibrant congregation and they have three services on a Sunday morning. Byron was kind enough to let me out of preaching at the 7:45am spoken Eucharist service (thank God…I’m not a morning person), but I was on for the 9am Contemporary and the 10:45am Choral Eucharist.
It is fascinating to me that the elements of worship are the same in the Presbyterian Church and the Anglican Church – we both read scripture, pray, sing, and preach – but the practice of the elements are quite different. The contemporary service was quite easy to follow, though I still managed to get lost on some of the liturgical responses. But the 10:45am was…well, let’s say I felt my fish-outta-water-ness in that service!
But you know what impressed me most about the whole experience? How kind and welcoming my Anglican brothers and sisters were. They were so thankful that I came to speak to them, they gave me flowers, they invited me to the potluck lunch after worship. It was quite wonderful.
And in all of that, I tasted a bit of heaven right here on Earth. The Associate at Christ Church, Stephanie, shared with the congregation that Byron had said at the 7:45am service “there are no denominations in heaven.”