Month: April 2018

A Royal Peculiar

It was a royal wedding in peculiar place. When William and Kate exchanged vows last April 19th they did so in Westminster Abbey, a “Royal peculiar.” In today’s usage, we call something “peculiar” if it is unusual or odd.   Prior to the 17th century, however, the word “peculiar” meant “property,” from the Latin word  peculiaris  …

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Sanctuary – An Old Church Practice

They ran for their lives,  scrambling through the Devonshire sheep-paths, the cry of the sheriff’s horn behind them.  Adam, the Miller, his wife Matilda and their two sons grasped every whisper of freedom possible,  Back in the village, Stephen de la Done lay  a grotesque heap on the mill floor.  The miller’s son had delivered …

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The Real Christmas Grinch

Christmas was cancelled. The news media shouted it loud and clear “No Christmas! No Christmas!”  Riots broke out. In Canterbury thousands clumped together to protest.  The mayor  issued a statement declaring Christmas a “superstitious festival,” insisting it should be replaced by a normal working day, ordering every shop in Canterbury to stay open Christmas day. …

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The Origin of Maundy Money

This Maundy Thursday parishioners and clergy across our diocese will wash one another’s feet, re-enacting Our Lord’s actions at the Last Supper.  There, he commanded us to “love one another,”  Maundy from the Latin word, mandatum meaning “commandment.”  As early as the 4th century  washing the feet of beggars was part of the Maundy Thursday service.  Popes …

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The Return of the Deaconesses

It was an historic – though controversial event.  In mid-July, 1862, Bishop Archibald Tait of London,  laid hands on Elizabeth Catherine Ferard, and licensed her as a deaconess,  the first deaconess in the Church of England. In the early Church, deacons and deaconesses were vital. They were pioneers, setting the standard for the diaconal ministry …

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The Origin of the 8:00 Service

Sunday communion is something we take for granted. Regular communion was the practice in the early Church, yet it hasn’t always been that way. Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire in the 4th century. Services were scripted, liturgies were introduced, the worship life of the Christian Church was ritualized, and the clergy …

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The Peculiar History of the Church Pew

We take church pews for granted.  The story of their evolution and devolution says much about the shift of spiritual values across the ages. In its first few centuries, Christianity was either begrudgingly tolerated as a cult of Judaism or openly oppressed.  Worship took place in homes.  Once the Faith was legalized in the early …

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