Last Sunday Catholic, this Sunday not, tears and safe spaces

My memory creeps back to the small but ornate church of St Anthony in the village where we stayed in Italy.


The nearest Anglican church was Sorrento, and as we were reliant on public transport there was no easy way of getting there last Sunday. So we did the same both Sundays we were there, and joined the little Catholic congregation. I have some Italian, and Hub has classics in his background, and they dished out printed sheets, so we were able to join in most things. The order of service is identical to ours, anyway.

The only difference being, of course, that we are ‘not allowed’ to take Communion. I always find this distressing. It’s one of the reasons I’m sticking with the Anglicans, for all our faults, because we practise ‘hospitality’ to members of other denominations and they can take Communion with us.

Anyway … I took the theme of ‘safe spaces’ this morning for the service, and asked the congo where were the places they feel safe, and then I moved on to those who don’t have such places, and the work of Christian Solidarity Worldwide.


I set up a tent/gazebo at the front of the church, and asked our middle-easterner to come and sit in it, as people who convert in his country face persecution. Then I invited anyone who wanted to, to go and join him, and stand round him, creating a ‘safe space’ of prayer.

He was in tears at the end, which I had feared, so I was glad I had contacted him yesterday and checked it out with him in advance. He is a lovely, mature person and thanked me for praying for his people and his country.

Afterwards we moved swiftly into the church meeting – not giving people time to disappear! We work in a united project with another denomination, and their mode of self-governance is by the congregation, so we alternate these meetings with good ole Anglican church councils. One of the reasons I was working so long yesterday was that 4 of the 8 items on the agenda were mine.


We got there in the end, and now I’m enjoying a NICE QUIET SIT-DOWN in the style to which I would like to become accustomed … πŸ˜‰




28 thoughts on “Last Sunday Catholic, this Sunday not, tears and safe spaces

  1. What a shame you didn’t feel able to take communion but that was very respectful of you. I’m sure you know why as a non-Catholic the Catholic powers that be say you shouldn’t…. but it is a shame and it doesn’t help to heal divisions does it? 😦

    We couldn’t have communion in the Coptic church in Egypt but we were given some bread from a basket that was passed round anyway…. Can’t help thinking if everybody shared the communion where-ever… surely that would work in a spiritual way to bring us all together by the action of the Holy Spirit etc….

    One day maybe? Strange things, religions…


    1. Well, Hub and I both think it is important that we are ‘under authority’ whether we like it or agree with it or not, so that’s why we didn’t take it. I do know why we aren’t able to take Communion with either the Catholics or the Orthodox – it’s all to do with their recognising the validity of our baptism/confirmation and of our orders, as well as to do with the theology of the Eucharist. A lot of theological work is going on between Anglicans and Catholics and with the Orthodox, but I doubt it will be resolved in my lifetime. The first time I couldn’t take Communion in an Orthodox church I went outside and cried. It is just so awful, and what does Jesus think, with us dividing his body like this and arguing over Him?

      The Orthodox were always very kind, though, and we got the blessed bread and the anointing with oil that everyone got who didn’t take Communion. Hub was even invited by one or two priests to concelebrate with them … but they were rogue elements and as I said, we believe in being ‘under authority’ becoz that’s where God has put us…

      I do think though, that making friends with each other like you and me, and I have quite a few Catholics in my family too, all helps towards the day when we really will have full unity.


      1. Yes I know what you mean about what must Jesus think all dividing his body and arguing over it! I believe we will all come together one very enlightened day and that we are split about to garner different aspects and learn and do different valid things and then will draw back everything and all the strands together and finally God’s work will come to whatever it will come to at that moment…. πŸ˜‰ I think it is exciting in a wierd way.

        Yes it is good to be friends with other Christian groups like you and me because we can see our similarities and so on….. :yes: YOU are wonderful and I am wonderful too! πŸ™‚ Seeeemples! πŸ˜‰


      2. Obelix! When the kids were young we all had a phase of reading them and we knew them so well and quoted them that we could practically answer context questions on them … :)) I noticed last time my son came home that when he went to find something to read in bed he ended up with a couple of ancient Asterixes!


      3. :)) For me it was always re-reading the Narnia books…… in fact i keep wanting to read bits of them now…. Am regressing with all the family stuff I suppose going on at the moment! :))


  2. A very interesting post Gilly. Something I never forgot and frankly left a bad taste in my mouth was when I stayed with a good friend and her family in the States over an Easter holiday. They were practising catholics and when I asked if I could join them for church…the Mother said, no, because I wasn’t a Catholic!!!
    Anyway your church does sound like an interesting congregation to be part of. x


    1. We are nothing if not interesting … :))

      There’s a prayer that talks about ‘the great danger we are in by our unhappy divisions’. I subscribe to that, Janet.

      I hope you have a lovely bank holiday.


  3. Lovely post….again…and those delightful images! Re your attending the ‘Catholic’ Church…and Communion….I was very privileged to ‘know personally’ the late Basil Hume…who told me once – when we were in London…and he was Cardinal Hume – to participate in the Catholic Rite fully…NO need to tell anyone that I am not a ‘Catholic’.. a ‘mere designation’…Basil called it…;)x


    1. You were very blessed. What a sensible man. There are such people but they are not backed by ‘the powers that be’ … we had similar situations with the Orthodox in Romania.


      1. Nobody would have noticed if we’d gone up and taken the consecrated bread … except us, and we didn’t feel comfortable about that.


      2. Nobody would have noticed if we’d gone up and taken the consecrated bread … except us, and we didn’t feel comfortable about that.


  4. Thats it feet up and a cuppa. I went to church this morning and ended up going to our church secretary’s for lunch along with 3 others from the congregation, it was impromptu and her poor husband suddenly found himself descended upon and having to stretch the meal, blesss him, but it was lovely sharing together.
    We are a URC church and we are governed by *ourselves* so to speak and I find this very refreshing as I come from a Church of England background of many years. the hardest part is getting some members to move with the times but a little gentle persuasion and we are getting there :))


    1. Oh, that’s funny – our partner church is the URC! We are getting along very well (we’ve been a united project for 11 years now) and our community minister is URC, so she has been educating us …;) Fortunately, Hub is Baptist in background which is pretty similar! Likewise we’ve been educating her about the Anglicans … :crazy:


    2. Some people are willing to move with the times, provided they feel listened to and supported. Change has to be carefully managed! We find it really useful to say to people ‘let’s do this for a trial period, and see what happens’ … people don’t feel so threatened then, and feel they have a way out … by which time they’ve got used to the change anyway!!! :))


      1. We have regular meetings with all the churches in the area, in fact we have a prayer breakfast next Saturday, I’m cooking the bacon and sausage :))


      2. Yeah, we do things together as well – it’s the way to go!

        Judging from your brek I guess you’re not expecting anyone from the synagogue πŸ˜‰


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