A day spent overseas. We were on the 8.55 ferry from Lymington to Yarmouth, IoW, heading for St Michael's, Swanmore. Until a few months ago it was looked after by Fr Malcolm Jones. Now he has retired to a House for Duty post at Holy Trinity Winchester, so priests on the Island are looking after them most of the time.
Swanmore: the Sanctuary
The day started out very dismal, low cloud and little white caps on the waves during the crossing. The day itself, though, proved far from gloomy. They were celebrating their patronal festival, a litle group of singers had been imported to enliven the occasion, and we had a very jolly time indeed. I preached about the folly of calling someone (like the late Princess of Wales) "an angel". We are at present 'a little lower than the angels'; but in the fulness of time, our destiny is greater than theirs; not disembodied spirits, but the sons and daughters of God, come to full maturity in the Kingdom of Heaven.
After Mass there was a wonderful buffet lunch - hardly a bun-fight, for there was so much food that no-one needed to fight for it - and a chance to talk to people. It was wonderful to find them so gung-ho for the Ordinariate. It may be, of course, because they have a number of 'third resolution' parishes on the Island. All Saints Ryde is a strong member church of Forward in Faith; but there are others, too. We called on old friends in Cowes, Ryde and Godshill, and everywhere they were speaking enthusiastically about the Ordinariate. This may be because there has been good clerical leadership. Even today, I heard, one of the Island Churches was distributing printed material about the Ordinariate after the morning service.
So we should be calling on Michael and all the Holy Angels to strengthen us as we put on the whole armour of faith to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil; and even to resist the siren voices which would try to lure us onto the rocks of half-heartedness and Anglican fudge.