Baptists, on the whole, don’t “do” Ash Wednesday, at least, not at home. For those who want to do it, we tend to “visit”. Today, I went with Patient Colleague to the college at which he is chaplain – an ecumenical setting.
It was also a return for me. Patient Colleague is chaplain at the college where I did some of my most significant study. And while I was a student there, I worshipped in its chapel once or twice a week; once according to Anglican rites, and once a week in Orthodox liturgy, often joined by Instructing Friend.
It was good to be back. The chapel has been refurbished since I was attending – but it is recognisably the same place, and a very beautiful place.
I loved going to worship there, and was very involved with the whole chapel community,
But it was also there that one of the most painful experiences of being a woman in ministry – or would-be ministry – happened. It’s a story I have often told (it was to do with being gradually excluded from certain roles because of being a woman – effectively taken further and further away from what was regarded by the High Church worshippers as the “holiest” of the places and actions). When what was happening became clear, those who could, sorted it, and I remain deeply grateful to the then chaplain for sorting it out.
But, sitting in the chapel today, I realised that I do still tell this story quite a lot. That is, it still plays a significant part in my story of myself.
Lent might be time to let go of this. And since, by force of circumstances, I am going to do a bit of “revisiting” various places from various parts of my story, I wonder if this might become a theme.