Sunday, December 25, 2016

Trinity Church on Wall Street, New York City, Christmas Eve

I’m Anglican.  Church of England.  I attend St. James Anglican and Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, Canada.  Trinity Church was once English.  The English invaded New Amsterdam when it was Dutch and named it New York.  This was in honour of the Duke of York who became James II of England.  King William III granted the Trinity Charter in 1697 and Trinity opened for its first service in 1698. Captain Kidd was a Trinity pew holder.
The American Revolution occurred between 1765 and 1783 with 1776 the year the North Carolina Provincial Congress issued the Halifax Resolves calling for Independence.  The Declaration of Independence was signed July 4, 1776.  The Great Fire of New York occured September 1776 . Nearly a quarter of the city’s buildings were destroyed including Trinity Church though St. Paul’s Chapel survived.  The second Trinity Church was consecrated in 1790 but torn down because severe snow storms weakened it.  In 1846 the third Trinity Church was consecrated.
In America, monarch-deficient Anglicans call themselves Episcopaleans.  When we arrived for Christmas Eve service we were sufficiently early that there were relatively few people there. I considered single handedly taking the church back for Queen Elizabeth remembering that in the past the Americans had won almost all their fights except when they came up against Canadians.  However, I’m suspicious of our present Prime Minister not being loyal to country and queen, a young man who favoured Castro.  I didn’t feel he’d have my back in royal combat. Besides it was Christmas Eve.  Even WWII combatants lay down their arms on Christmas Eve along the front.
Laura was overtaken by the splendour of the flower arrangements.  The church soon filled and Avi Stein, the Associate Organist and Choirmaster began making and directing very fine music. We were encouraged to ’sing along’ and the first carole was “In the bleak of winter. ” I didn’t know it at all so let the choir carry the song to the pleasure of the congregation.  It was followed by “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear’ the least martial music in the human repertoire. I belted this out with the best of them.
Pretty soon I had a tear in my eye and was remembering all the childhood Christmas Church Services I had attended with my mother and family. Laura was radiant.    We sang our hearts out.
Then the procession began and incense  filled the church. We all sang “O Come All Ye Faithful”. The eucharist service began.  The only difference for me is that they sang, not chanted, but actually sang, the Nicene Creed. There was a first reading from the Book of Isaiah 9:2-7 and a second reading from a letter to Titus, 2:11-14.  We all sang, “Angels we have heard on high” .
The Rev. Dr. Willam Lupfer’s sermon alluded to Bob Dylan getting the Nobel Prize for Literature and Sufi’s,miracles and renewal and the  new life in Christ..  It was  original, spicy and just right.  I think Jesus would have liked it  We did.
The Communion Hymn was “Silent Night, Holy Night.”  Laura and I went to the front to take the bread and blood of Christ. When we came back to our seats the row was  politely waiting to let us go in first as our seats were deepest.  A star lit in the ceiling sometime. I liked that.  The service closed with “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and then the organ played Bach as we all gathered our things to go out into the night.
Laura and I stopped to see the Nativity scene that the church had set up in the corner.  It reminded me of the Catholic women in Saipan and their love of the baby Jesus.
We walked up to St. Paul’s Chapel and almost stayed for the midnight mass. The Trinity Church Christmas Eve service had ended at 11:30. pm.  Looking at the beautiful old St. Paul’s we almost went in but just at that moment a yellow taxi came along. I hailed it and we went back to our hotel feeling very blessed on Christmas Eve in New York City.  
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