Our group went and visited Christ Church and Christ Church Cathedral here in Oxford. It was really lovely. They filmed some scenes from Harry Potter there (Lewis Carroll is really a bigger deal there), but it would be a great place regardless. It’s a really interesting (as well as lovely!) place. If you’d like more information about it, check here: http://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/
After the tour, they served us tea in the priory room. Our guide, Winnie, shared her story of her search for God, which I was thought was very generous of her. I was really glad Dr. Childers asked. I was thinking the other day about how no one I know ever seems to mind being asked that question, but it’s a question which people are often embarrassed to ask. Dr. Childers (who Winnie thought was quite handsome) thinks that is because of how we’ve privatized religion– that is, we’ve made a private, personal thing, like one’s salary or bathroom habits. It isn’t something one discusses except with family, really, or very close friends, outside of church situations. I wonder if that’s true. It seems very reasonable to me, and I’m hardly better educated about such things.
After tea, we went into the Christ Church Cathedral for Evensong. I love, love, loved Evensong. It was a very beautiful and moving performance with some audience participation. I don’t think I could do with a regular diet of it, unfortunately– I feel like my usual way of worship is a little “meatier.” Maybe that’s a misperception on my part, though. Maybe I only think that because it’s what I’m used to. Anyway, I did love Evensong. It was very enlightening and inspiring. I found the program (or Order of Service, or whatever you want to call it that tells you what happens when) and the prayer books and hymnals very comforting. The singing was beautiful. I wish I had gone earlier during my stay here in Oxford; I would’ve gone more often.
For pictures from my visit, go to: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=49706&l=64ee9&id=500823168