Summertime, and the living is easy?

IMG 4649

Even though I’m nowhere ready to go on holiday yet, we can still see certain things telling us that summer is on its way. Yesterday was the annual staff Summer Party at work, at our owners’ holiday farm, some 40 miles south-west of the Stockholm City Center. We had a lovely evening out in the country, playing games and eating (too much) barbecued meat with lovely salads. I meant to have an early night, but in the end, I didn’t get home until 1.30am. As far as work parties goes, this was a true success!

We also have another bank holiday coming up here in Sweden, Midsummer’s Eve, or St John’s Eve. Midsummer’s Eve always fall on the day before St John’s Day. St John’s Day is supposed to be the birthday of St John the Baptist, and indeed both Denmark and Norway refer to Midsummer’s Eve as St John’s Eve. While we Swedes dance around a pole decorated with flowers and blue-and-yellow ribbons, the Danes and Norwegians make huge bonfires (which most Swedes tend to reserve for Walpurgis Eve, 30th April). Midsummer’s Eve tend to be celebrated by meeting family and friends, if possible out in the archipelago or in your summer house, and eating, amongst other things, pickled herring of various kinds. Personally, I’ll probably just buy myself a jar of herring and some fresh potatoes, and maybe some cold cuts.

Another tell-tale sign of summer in Stockholm is that the City Theatre Company (Stockholms Stadsteater) start doing their “Park Theatre”, a programme of performance in the various parks here in Stockholm. I’m debating whether or not to go to a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (in English) tomorrow, but I might just head for an early night. We shall see.

Apart from this, most of my spare time is spent looking things up for my holiday in late July/early August, where I will both visit my beloved London, and to see the Blessed Virgin in Walsingham. A much awaited holiday which will hopefully help rest and recover after a full-on prime season at work.

Posted in Church, London, Work | Leave a comment

I found a lovely prayer…

I found this lovely prayer by the great British man of letters, Samuel Johnson:

Almighty God, the giver of all good things, without whose grace all wisdom is folly:

grant, I beseech Thee, that in this undertaking thy Holy Spirit may not be withheld from me, but that I may promote Thy glory, and the salvation of myself and others:

grant this, O Lord, for the sake of Thy son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Posted in Church | Leave a comment

Book Review: Becoming Reverend by Matt Woodcock

268572_ecoming reverend.jpg

As someone who is trying to discern a possible vocation to Holy Orders within the Church of England, reading a diary or a memoir by someone who has gone down the same route is always interesting, and The Revd Matt Woodcock’s book Becoming Reverend.

While he is obviously of a different churchmanship than myself (fairly obvious, especially through some less-than-kind opinions about the Book of Common Prayer and more formal worship in general) I find his honesty about his struggles with both his faith and his vocation refreshing and I especially like his thoughts about trying to still be his old self/“one of the lads down at the pub” with Holy Orders. Those thoughts are surely shared by most of the people discerning a possible vocation.

Trying to survice theological college is also something that he describes well, sometimes rather funnily, including trying to cope with the baring of ones soul to a number of persons you didn’t know before you were put together in the same class at college. I feel a certain connection with him when he discusses trying to tone down being the “class clown” and not taking up too much space in conversations etc., as it is most certainly something I will need to struggle with myself over the coming years.

What I wasn’t overly keen on, however, was the incessant talking about sexual attraction and the sexual act itself. I get it, for a couple who desperately wants a child, not being able to have one is a terrible tragedy and something that affects you deeply. While the talking about sex might seem natural to a journalist, I find it (perhaps it’s just me being a prude) slightly disconcerting to come from an ordinand.

All in all, it was a good read, and I am glad I bought the book – it is very obvious that Matt Woodcock used to be a journalist! I finished the book happily in one lazy afternoon, but I am not sure it is a book I will read again.

Grade: 4 Ps of 5. 

Posted in Books and reading, Church, Reviews | Leave a comment

Two Ultra-Anglican Poems

I’m not 100% sure this is the kind of poetry people are referring to when they talk about the poetic inheritance of Angicanism, but as one of them is written by a former Priest at St Mary’s, I present to you two “ultra” poems. 100 pts if you can guess what worldview I’m subscribing to…. 🙂

The Ultra Catholic by E.L. Mascall:

I am an Ultra-Catholic-No ‘Anglo-,’ I beseech you,
You’ll find no trace of heresy in anything I teach you.
The clergyman across the road has whiskers and a bowler,
But I wear buckles on my shoes and sport a feriola.

My alb is edged with deepest lace, spread over rich black satin;
The Psalms of David I recite in heaven’s own native Latin,
And, though I don’t quite understand those awkward moods and tenses,
My ordo recitandi’s strict Westmonasteriensis.

I teach the children in my school the Penny Catechism,
Explaining how the C. of E.’s in heresy and schism.
The truths of Trent and Vatican I bate not one iota.
I have not met the Rural Dean. I do not pay my quota.

The Bishop’s put me under his ‘profoundest disapproval’
And, though he cannot bring about my actual removal,
He will not come and visit me or take my confirmations.
Colonial prelates I employ from far-off mission-stations.

The music we perform at Mass is Verdi and Scarlatti.
Assorted females form the choir; I wish they weren’t so catty.
Two flutes, a fiddle and a harp assist them in the gallery.
The organist left years ago, and so we save his salary.

We’ve started a ‘Sodality of John of San Fagondez,’
Consisting of the five young men who serve High Mass on Sundays;
And though they simply will not come to weekday Mass at seven,
They turn out looking wonderful on Sundays at eleven.

The Holy Father I extol in fervid perorations,
The Cardinals in Curia, the Sacred Congregations;
And, though I’ve not submitted yet, as all my friends expected,

The Ultra-Liberal, author unknown to me, I found it floating around Twitter:

C9x8VS8XYAAczQw

Posted in Church, Fun | Leave a comment

Catching Up: May 2017

…and so finally, we’re at my last catch-up post from the Spring 2017: Mary’s Month of May.

St Nicolaus Finnish-Orthodox Church

For Mary’s Month of May, it might be suitable to start with the little day of church-crawling I did with my friend the Revd Dr. The photo above is from the Finnish Orthodox Church in Stockholm (interestingly dedicated to St Nicolaus, which happens to be the same dedication as the Stockholm (Lutheran) Cathedral as well!) to see an exhibition of works by the Finnish artist Ina Colliander (sadly no biography available in English). We (the Revd Dr and I) try to visit each other at least twice a year, as she lives in Västerås, a lovely cathedral city little more than an hour away from Stockholm. I’ve known her since college, so it’s always nice to catch up!

I also had the first taste of something that’s been a rare treat to me this spring: a weekend that’s completely empty in my calendar. I do like doing things, but a weekend just pottering around was just what the doctor ordered, especially as I came down with the manflu as soon as the Revd Dr left Stockholm. I rarely get the flu, and it’s even rarer for me to get a proper manflu, but this time I was small and needy….

One cannot, of course, write a summary of May without mentioning the atrocities in Manchester, where so many people were killed, but somehow this feels even more barbaric as so many of the victims were children.

O blessed Mary, Mother of God, Our Lady of Walsingham, Intercede for us. Amen.

Posted in Church, Miscellanea | Leave a comment

Catching Up: April 2017

My penultimate catch-up post – ladies and gentlemen……*drum roll*….Petter’s April:

View from Montelius Väg

This month began with a first – my friend James came all the way from Hertfordshire to visit my humble abode. We did a lot of walking (the picture above is from one of our walking tours, and shows Riddarholmen/The Old Town), a fair few tourist attractions and two of the local gay nightclubs. We have been discussing him coming to visit for ages, so it was good fun to finally be able to show him my home town. I think his final judgement was that it’s a nice city but too expensive. Think I can agree with that….

Shortly after that came the atrocities of the terror attack in central Stockholm. While we have had one incident a few years ago, something like this with several fatalities makes it feel so much closer. I was lucky, none of my friends were hurt, and I made it home from work only marginally later than normally (I live on the NW side of town and work on the SE side of town), but the Collect for Aid against all Perils felt very poignant that night.

Speaking of Collects, I spent Easter in London, and it was very nice to be back in my two home parishes again and be able to receive Holy Communion. I went to St Mary’s Bourne Street for the Solemn Liturgy of Good Friday, and while Good Friday isn’t supposed to be a joyous occasion, I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the Passion well sung, as well as meeting old friends and colleagues again. Easter Day was celebrated at St Barnabas, Pimlico, followed by a tipple with one of their two Wardens, whom I try to hang out with every time I go to London.

A lot of shopping and socialising was also done, including bookshops, shops for antique prints and Spitalfields Market. All in all, a lovely trip, and I surprised myself by finding a reasonably priced hotel 5 mins from Trafalgar Square that was quite nice/posh…

Even more travelling – I went to Oxford over the Walpurgis weekend. A lovely city, and I thoroughly enjoyed browsing some shops and attending a lot of Anglo-Catholic Churches. I did, however, realise that you might travel too much if you’ve found a favourite restaurant in an airport you don’t even live near…

Posted in Miscellanea, Travel | Leave a comment

Catching up: March 2017

By now you know that I’m trying to catch up on posts for the 5 first months of 2017, so, without any further ado, here’s my March:

33132583901_ab83a3cf98_d

A rather mixed month. March 2017 was the month of the Westminster terror attacks in London, as well as the kerfuffle around the appointment of the Rt Revd Philip North CMP as Diocesan Bishop of Sheffield, when he was made to withdraw his acceptance of the See after (what at least many call) bullying from some of the more liberal elements in our Church. +Philip was, and remains, suffragan Bishop of Burnley in the Diocese of Blackburn, and sits on the Council of Bishop of The Society.  His withdrawal from the See of Sheffield was lamented by many, including a fair few of the Church of England’s female bishops. All in all, an event that must have been very hurtful for +Philip and made a few of us traditional Catholics in the Church of England rather uneasy, to say the least…

HOWEVER – it was by no means a month that was solely doom and gloom – I had a lot of fun too! Lots of eating out this month as well, including a re-visit to Wijnjas with another friend, and this time we (well, he) ended up on their company social media. I also flew up to the cold North to help the folks install their new broadband – which all went surprisingly well. It was also good to manage to be there for grandmama’s birthday (the picture of the month is of my old playhouse, which mum and dad use as a storage room these days)!

As most months, I spent some time with my friend Monika, and we did go to see the Tom of Finland movie – well worth seeing (especially if you are interested in LGBT history as I am), but terribly depressing and dark. I also had to wave goodbye to my friend D, and we managed to make steak on soapstones on one of his final evenings in Husby.

All in all – a rather good month, despite some extremely sad events.

Posted in Church, London, Miscellanea, Travel, Work | Leave a comment