Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Sunday I went to a high Anglican service in one of the oldest churches in all of Britain, St. Bartholomew the Great (built in 1123). It was, according to my teacher's wife, more Catholic than any Catholic service she went to, but there were still bits and pieces I could pick out from my own experiences as a Presbyterian (the Lord's prayer, the Apostle's creed, those kinds of things). The building was dimly lit, the service was highly structured, and the choir had about 8 people in it, but they sang in Latin and wooed me completely. The Reverend was a jokester as well, commenting on the fact that the "incense" they were using was actually from a fog machine. The whole experience had this very archaic feel to it, which was a fascinating foil to the world we had just stepped out of.

Interesting trivia about this particular church: Hogarth (the painter and namesake of a road some of my fellow classmates live on) was baptized here, and

(this picture was lifted from the Daily Mail)

scenes from Shakespeare in Love, The Other Boleyn Girl, and Robin Hood Prince of Thieves were shot in the premises!
If you want to find out more about St. Barts, they've got a nice little site online that you can visit.

In other heavenly news, today after our visit to the Tate Britain we took another little field trip to a mosque in St. John's Wood (home of Abbey Road). It was the first mosque I've ever been to, and I enjoyed it greatly. We had a soft-spoken, articulate (and sharply dressed) young "tour guide" who filled us in on the history of Islam and the reasons for some of their particular customs, such as the removal of shoes before entering (they don't want to get the carpet dirty).

While I'll freely admit that I know very little about Islam, I found it fascinating how similar it is to its relative religions, Judaism and Christianity. To put it in a harsher light, it was easy to see the mini-version we were given as Christianity, plus a couple extra chapters (Muhammad). We witnessed a call to prayer, and reveled at the remarkable acoustics at work via the gilded dome. This is a subject I hope I'll be able to expand upon later, perhaps tomorrow, when I have time to flush it all out, but it was definitely a beautiful thing to experience.

I forgot to mention! Before we made it to St. Barts we stopped by the market where, apparently, William Wallace was drawn and quartered. It also gave a little history of Queen Mary, who (tale tells it) garnered her nickname from the sheer number of people she had executed.
Bloody Mary,
Bloody Mary,
Bloody Mary.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kinsley, you have a beautiful writing style. I didn't know you had a blog until just now.. but I will definitely be reading it from now on!