I’m not long back from the Bath and Wells Diocesan Gathering.
Three days of encounter, laughter, applied spiritual wisdom from varied speakers and sources, creativity in word, art, music, dance and (dare I say) theatre… Worship, prayer, story-telling, carousing, and reflection. It was great.
By the time of the farewell service of Holy Communion, the unseen bonds woven by a journey made in a spirit of openness and generosity were in place. Consequently the symbolism of the whole bread divided between the many and the one cup shared had a power that was unusual in my experience.
As servants shortly returning to our posts, we were afforded – like long-neglected machinery – a deluxe level of service: nourished with bread and wine, sprinkled with cleansing water (lashed about by a determined bishop), oiled for our continuing ministry by our peers on forehead and hands (optional), warmed with the flame of a candle lit from a neighbour’s. The sharing of the peace was characterised by a quiet tenderness; at other times a joyous spontaneity broke out in dancing and clapping to the spell of the songs.
Anglican worship at its very best. Reconditioned, reunited, recalibrated, we set off for home.