Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Memories from Ian Douglas's Consecration

I took advantage of being in New England for Ian Douglas’s consecration, and visited other friends in the area.   I’ll tell you about them tomorrow after I’ve had chance to talk about that part of the trip with my brother.  He knows some of the cast of characters, and deserves to hear the news before you!
The Consecration Liturgy was well planned and well executed.  It lasted nearly three hours, but it truly did not seem to be that long.
Here are some of my memories.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu looked tired. Nonetheless his sermon was engaging and provocative.  As he spoke of G-d’s desire to welcome all people Tutu said (with a twinkle in his eye) “G-d must be a utopian!”     A bit later he asked us “do you really think that when the Dalai Lama dies G-d will refuse him entry into heaven by saying “Sorry you are not a Christian”?
It was wonderful to see so many parishioners from St. James’s, Cambridge, MA where I was Rector 2000-2006.  Ian Douglas was a Priest Associate there (for some 18 or more years) and his and Kristin’s children grew up in that parish.  So St. Jamesians were very much in evidence, and the parish choir delighted us (and G-d?) with some terrific music.  Since I left the parish has learned an exciting musical version of the Nicene Creed, and this was the way we “did” the creed at the consecration  service.  St. James’s worshipper Tom Hirschi was the prayerful Cantor for this - and he is a Buddhist!
I was happy to hug a few of the Bishops whom I’ve met along the way.  Tom Shaw and Barbara Harris were there from Massachusetts.  Gordon Scruton from Western Massachusetts.  Mark Beckwith from Newark – he and I were colleagues in a clergy support group when he was Rector at All Saints’ Church, Worcester, MA – and we went to Taize together in 1999.  Larry Provenzano from Long Island – he and I were colleagues when we served parishes in the Berkshire Hills of Western Mass.    I spotted Donald Hart, former Bishop of Hawaii. His wife Elizabeth grew up in Pittsfield and I would see them at St. Stephen’s parish when they visited Elizabeth’s parents.
I met Laura Ahrens, Bishop Suffragan in Connecticut for the first time.  She made a lasting impression on me since she, filled with joy, shared her beautiful smile throughout the service.  I was able to have a brief chat with her, and thanked her for the inspiration I gained from her smile.
(1)  The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu -  an earlier photo' - (not at the consecration)   (2) Bishop Ahrens   (3)  The Family.  Ian Douglas, his wife Kristin Harris.  Their children Luke (back left), Tim (back right), Johanna (front right). (soon after I arrived at St. James's, Cambridge in 2000 I found a note on my desk from Johanna  (then aged 7 or 8). It read "Michael Povey -  you sing loud.  I sing loud.  Could we sing a loud duet".  We did that just a few Sundays later.
Now Johanna is about to graduate from High School!