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Archive for the ‘South Carolina’ Category

Catching up….

A few weeks ago, during one of our now-periodic visits to Charleston, I took the opportunity to worship with the Corpus Christi Community at St. Mary of the Annunciation Church downtown.  

It’s part of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter – the former Anglicans now in union with Rome. 

What a revelation.

Long-time readers know that I have always had a keen interest in the authentic, traditional diversity of Catholicism, most vividly expressed in its religious orders with their varied charisms and in the different rites of the Church.  We don’t have an Anglican Use parish here in Birmingham, but for a mid-sized Southern city, it’s sort of amazing what we do have: a parish at which the Extraordinary Form is regularly celebrated and supported without controversy (and not the only one in the diocese of Birmingham, either – take that New York City!); Maronite Rite and Melkite. At least once a year, the Catholic school that my boys attended would celebrate a Maronite Rite Liturgy.

(Perhaps you’re wondering about that?  Well, there are a lot of Lebanese and Greeks in the South, and they’ve been here since the late 19th and early 20th centuries – folks who came to work for railroads and other industries. Birmingham’s food culture has a strong Middle Eastern and Greek streak running through it, and it’s earned.)

Anyway. 

I had been wanting to attend the Anglican Use (not Rite!) liturgy there in Charleston since my son and daughter-in-law moved there, and finally got my chance.

Sorry I don’t have better photos.  I wish I had the courage to take something besides surreptitious photos at Mass…but maybe I don’t, either.

Here’s my confession:

Long-time readers know that for a while, I followed the Episcopal/Anglican Wars fairly closely. I did, that is, until the acronyms spun out of control and I couldn’t muster the energy to untangle them yet again.  I was grateful for the establishment of the Ordinariate, but I confess (here we go) that  did think sometimes…um…really?  Why can’t they just become Roman and suffer lame liturgy with the rest of us? SACRIFICE, people!  If it’s true….you’ll jump no matter what, right?

Yes, I understand that there was more to it, and these conversions were fraught with complexity, tension, pain and joy.  But I admit, I really didn’t get the liturgy thing.  To my superficial eye, it was mostly about psalmody and Vespers. (Although I admit, I have followed Atonement Parish in San Antonio for years and long thought that if I were to ever move just for the sake of my children going to a particular school…it would be Atonement Academy….)

So…sorry?

If you have the opportunity, I’d encourage you to worship with an Anglican Use community.  Here’s what struck me about the liturgy:

(Note:  I should have written this post immediately after attending…it was a month ago, and I can’t be as specific as I would like.)

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  • The differences between this and the Roman Rite Mass were clear.  I’m sure you can find discussions and comparisons online, perhaps even contentious ones.  The structure is, of course, the same, but the differences are intriguing and expressive of a more explicit sense of humility as well as greater formality than your typical, contemporary Roman Rite Mass.
  • I suppose to the superficial observer, the use of ad orientem is worth remarking on, but to me at this point, it’s not really. Except I just did. Well, then. The very next Mass I attended in Charleston, at a Roman Rite parish, was celebrated ad orientem and it is not a big deal to me at all..except for the fact that I wish it would be reinstated now, everywhere that it’s possible.  (Also…this is an old discussion for me.  I’ve run several blog posts on it over the years, including those in which we talked about Lutheran, Anglican and Eastern Christian use of ad orientem. Do an image search for “Lutheran altar” and see how many of them are slam up against the back wall….)
  • What struck me most about the Anglican Use liturgy was the same thing that struck me about Eastern Rite liturgies – not the external postures so much as the internal posture of humility which it assumes and fosters.  The emphasis is on supplication and humility.  You don’t pray “have mercy on us” a zillion times as you do in an Eastern liturgy, but you do say it – or something like it – a lot more than you do in the Roman Rite.
  • You will say a lot more of everything in the Anglican Use liturgy.  The post-Vatican II Roman Rite is quite stripped down and streamlined, that being, of course, one of the intentions of those who constructed it.  There is a verbal richness about the Anglican Use that I found comforting and akin to a richly adorned physical space.

 

So, it was a great experience, and I finally get it.”  I get the reluctance to leave it behind – it preserves much – not just in the Mass itself, but in the other traditions that the Anglican Use brings with it – that were lost in the Roman Rite after the Second Vatican Council.

It was great to see Fr. Patrick Allen again that day – I had met him before at the Cathedral last fall, and he’d brought his children to my book-signing in Charleston in December.  And added bonus?  I finally got to meet Dawn Eden!  As it happens, she was giving a talk in Charleston that very day and was at Mass.  It was a delight to finally meet!

 

 

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— 1 —

That kind of week….

"amy welborn"

 

"amy welborn"

 

"amy welborn"

— 2 —

Yes, we’ve been in the Charleston area all week.  Isle of Palms, to be exact.

I had never spent time here before my son and daughter-in-law relocated a couple of years ago.  (Well..not exactly true.  I did speak at The Citadel maybe 8 years ago or so….my primary memory, though, is being continually on edge while we were spending time in the Bishop’s residence, full of Old South Antiques as it was, and we having two under-6 year old boys as we did….)

I like it.

"amy welborn"

— 3 —

This past Sunday, we went to Mass at Stella Maris on Sullivan’s Island.  It’s a tiny 19th century Gothic church, located right across from Fort Moultrie.  They have scads of Masses on the weekends – the area is so heavily touristed and the church is so small, including two concurrent Masses at 9:30.

Now, please note, if you can – the church seems to be mostly in its original state, which means that this is the original altar, with no extra altar stuck in the sanctuary.

"amy welborn"

Yes, Mass was celebrated ad orientem.  It was mostly in English (except for the Gloria in Latin), and no Propers, but with decent hymnody and some Bach from the hard-working choir and organist.  The homily was quite good, centered on the concepts of exitus and reditus as an way of talking about the Ascension and mission.

And can I repeat?  Mass was celebrated ad orientem.  The Leonine Prayers were recited after Mass.  The homily was theologically substantive and evangelical. There were no self-referential extemporaneous goings-on. The place was packed.  The congregation was attentive, reverent and vocal.

Everyone survived and the earth continued to revolve (I think).

"amy welborn"

From Fort Moultrie, Fort Sumter across the way.

 

 

"amy welborn"

Fort Moultrie, on Sullivan’s Island

 

— 4 —

The major finds of the week have been a foot-long horseshoe crab tail, and this:

"amy welborn"

Joseph found it on the beach, and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what it was.  It (the striped thing) was alive, firmly attached to the shell, but a puzzle.

So we put it in water – planted it shell side down –  and waited to see what would happen.

"amy welborn"

Of course – a sea anemone.

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Not as gorgeous as those you find in Pacific tide pools, but exciting because It Had Been Found.  A cute pet for a few minutes, until we threw it back into the sea, hoping for the best.

(Sorry for the lousy photos.  All I had was my phone, and of course I couldn’t see anything on the screen, so I was just pointing, pressing where I thought the button was, and, once again, hoping for the best.)

— 5 —

Today, we took a journey here:

"amy welborn"

"amy welborn"

 

It is Capers Island, a barrier island.  We went on one of these tours, and it was fun – we saw lots of dolphins, learned about crab traps and oyster beds,

 

 

it was fun - we saw lots of dolphins, learned about crab traps and oyster beds, saw a huge dead horseshoe crab on the beach, and played amid this landscape. 

 

"amy welborn"

Oysters

 

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saw a huge dead horseshoe crab on the beach, and played amid this landscape.

"amy welborn"

(Seeing the dead horseshoe can never beat the time – two years ago, I believe – when down on the gulf, a live one scuttled past us in the water – that event made that vacation THE BEST VACATION EVER for then 7-year old Michael, to be sure. )

— 6 —

I threatened to make us all get white shirts and have our photograph taken jumping on the beach, but no one took me seriously because, of course they know me, so there was no reason to even fake horror at the thought….

 

beachport

— 7 —

Beach reading?  Well, with two boys in the ocean, my eyes are pretty much glued to their bounding figures and bobbing heads, but when I can, I’ve been trying to read No Name by Wilkie Collins.  An odd thing, but it was free on Kindle, the plot sounded intriguing, the reviews were good, so 19th century beach read, here we go!

 

"amy welborn"

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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…another whirlwind weekend, this time with a bit more sightseeing, celebrating and beach..and less driving.

It was Charleston this time. Quickly:

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Shem Creek Park, which was a fun late morning jaunt, mostly spent tracking down  crabs. Kayaking was promised for next time.

"amy welborn"

 

 

"Amy Welborn"

Charles Towne Landing – a state park at the site of the first European settlement.  There are no original buildings, because the settlement was over 300 years ago, the buildings were wood, and the settlement only lasted for ten years before they moved across the river to a more exposed, but more potentially profitable site.  But it’s interesting enough to walk around, to see what historians think might have been around, to see the animals (there’s a tiny zoo – the only zoo in Charleston –  composed of animals that were probably around the area in 1670, including bison….) and check out a ketch and a cannon blast.  There wasn’t much structure-wise, of course, but it was nice to walk around, and the small museum was very well done.

"Amy Welborn"

 

"amy welborn"

 

"amy welborn"

 

"amy welborn"

Beach, naturally. And pool time.

 

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Isle of Palms beach

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Perks of staying with family

 

(All of this wedged in with family time).

Some meals -the best was at Page’s Okra Grill. Cornhole included, no charge.

"amy welborn"

I had wanted to walk the Ravenal Bridge, but couldn’t squeeze it in…next time.

On the way back, we stopped at the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, which was decent (half price admission because of the Birmingham Zoo membership.)  The favorites? Probably feeding the giraffes and (of course) the reptiles.  Someone said wistfully, “I wish there was a reptile-only zoo somewhere.

"amy welborn"

 

One more thing:  my first Anglican Use liturgy – which deserves its own post…tonight, perhaps…after I catch up with Mad Men…my son assures me it suddenly got better last night…we’ll see…

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