Vexen Crabtree (vexen) wrote,
Vexen Crabtree

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Going Easterly...

I've had a really lazy few days off. Am now packing to go back to Dorset... depending on finance and commitments, I should be able to return to London a few weekends a month - although it'll probably be less than that the potential is there in theory.

On Sunday I ... w e n t   t o   c h u r c h, which surprised me... thankfully it was about as a liberal church as you can possibly get, a Unitarian congregation at Essex Unitarian Church. Accompanied shuripentu. The service was generally Christian but highly nonspecific; they are without a minister at the moment (in that sense it felt more like a Church of England service...). There were some attempts at building a sense of community through a request for people to stand up and introduce themselves.

Unitarianism like many extreme liberal churhces attract a largely wealthy clietelle, as is expected, so the congregation had a large proportion of world travellers, from Canada, USA, Spain, and not so many locals. Shuri made the best introduction, everyone else stuck to textbook "I am x, from y, happy easter everyone".

The congregation were no doubt initially confused why an inverted pantagon-wearing, and heptacle-wearing pair of black-clad youngsters were there, but the group leaders seemed proud we were there and (as expected from a U group) spoke out that Unitarians were a diverse bunch.

People lit candles and voiced a concern, good wish, condolency or rememberance. The entire congregation was 50+, with a child or two, and a younger mother or two. There were two (*secular*) liturgical singers, but the other hymns were mostly Christian.

The whole event was very white-light and was a bit oppressive - singers and sermons were interspersed without a real good usage of silence or punctuation. In short... I could have programmed a better service :-)

At coffee & cakes afterwards we talked to many of them, they're generally (on account of class & age, I guess) quite intelligent, a few of them actively interested in comparative religion, a few of them surprised by Shuri & mine's knowledge of stuff. When they ask "Do you have a religious background" as we talked about gnostic texts in particular the gospel of St Thomas, and I said "no..." they'd sort of look blankly until Shuri rescued their sanity by pointing out I'd been studying religion for years.

Unitarian congregations are random in that I guess you never know what particular mix of people you're going to get... I'm unlikely to try another, unless there is somewhere in England, a congregation where people are perhaps within a generation or two of my own... but that's unlikely no matter which light light establishment I decide to darken the door of!
Tags: dorset, london, religion, shuri, unitarian universalists, unitarians
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