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Established 1999
A Wesleyan-Anglican Church in Boise, Idaho

Pilgrimages

An English Pilgrimage

Entry 1 | Entry 2 | Entry 3 | Entry 4 | Entry 5 | Entry 6 | Entries 7-9 | Entry 10 | Entry 11 | Entry 12 | Entry 13 | Entry 15 | Entry 16 | Entry 17 | Entry 19 | Entry 20 | Entry 21 | Entry 24 |

Entry 17, Thursday, Third Week of Advent:
Oxford, Christ Church: Nevermore Thy Temples Leave

We attend what had been described as a carols service at Christ Church, Oxford, where John and Charles Wesley were undergraduates and where John Wesley was later a deacon in the cathedral/college chapel. (Christ Church was established by Henry VIII as both a diocese and a college, so the church there fulfills the two roles of cathedral for the diocese and chapel for the college.)

The cathedral's construction began about 1150, but the site has been a place of Christian worship since the 700s, when it was a Saxon monastic church at a key place for oxen to be driven across the River Thames (hence, the Oxen-ford).

Because of that rich heritage behind it, the visitor expects the carols service to be an Advent Service of Lessons and Carols. It turns out, instead, to be a mix of popular and religious Christmas and secular music and readings.

The Cathedral Choir of 12 men and 16 boys was formed in 1525, and they sing throughout each week during college terms. They perform excellently; it's just that a considerable portion of what is read or sung isn't distinctly Christian, and most of what is Christian is Christmas rather than Advent.

Then, though, a wonderful thing happens: the choir sings an arrangement by Howard Goodall of Charles Wesley's "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling", and the printed program explains that the Choir Schools' Association commissioned the arrangement "to celebrate the Millennium". The printed program says the hymn's "text is by Charles Wesley, former student of Christ Church and founder of Methodism."

"Sometimes a light surprises
The Christian while he sings;
It is the Lord who rises
With healing in his wings:
When comforts are declining,
He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining
To cheer it after rain.

"In holy contemplation,
We sweetly then pursue
The theme of God's salvation,
And find it ever new:
Set free from present sorrow,
We cheerfully can say,
Ee'n let th' unknown tomorrow
Bring with it what it may."
- verses 1, 2, "Sometimes a Light Surprises", William Cowper

- Christopher

Theme Verse

Luke 1:78-79

Scripture Lessons

Dec 17: Isaiah 65:17-25, Psalm 126, 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28, John 1:6-8, 19-28

Dec 10: Isaiah 40:1-11, Psalm 85:7-13, 2 Peter 3:8-18, Mark 1:1-8

Prayer Emphases

Nation: Tunisia

Denomination: Pentecostal Church of God

Congregation: Epiphany Fellowship, Camden, NJ, and the Rev. Doug Logan

Ministry: World Alliance of Reformed Churches

Parishioners: Those living on Lubkin Street

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