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Scenes from Clerical Life (2) – Salisbury

April 1, 2009

imagesAfter my Curacy at St Salvador’s, Edinburgh, I was appointed Chaplain and Lecturer in Salisbury Theological College. This gave me the privilege of living for three years in what may be the most beautiful Cathedral Close in England. 

The seminary had about a hundred men studying for the priesthood to whom I taught courses in New Testament and Moral Theology. I was also able to attend Choral Evensong almost every day, sung by a superb men and boys choir, often with a congregation of just a few of us from the College and a handful of Canons’ widows and other inhabitants of the Close. It was there I learned that worship is not about numbers or instant intelligibility, but about mystery and beauty and faithfulness.

Crowds of tourists and visitors came through the Cathedral daily, and in my cassock I was often fair game for their questions. I always tried to give a helpful answer, but for once I was silenced, when a large American lady (who had no doubt just come from Stonehenge just up the road) asked: “Is this Cathedral A.D. or B.C?”  Where does one begin?

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