We started the day right - getting everyone out of bed to go to church in downtown Halifax. I had thought that we could go to St. Paul's because of its history - the oldest Protestant church in Canada at 260 years old. The later service was Matins and I knew that wouldn't feed Owen's soul. So we decided to go to the Cathedral Church of All Saints. This is a newer building built in 1910 or so. They advertized that they were having a choral mass. We got there and discovered that it was Marbeke. I haven't sung a plainsong mass in years. I wasn't sure how Owen's family would respond to such an old service but they enjoyed it.
This was a very welcoming church. I really think the Maritimers have ministry of hospitality. We found the people at All Soul's chapel in Charlottetown very welcoming. I had put it down to the fact that with Rob we doubled the congregation that day. Even at All Saints - a cathedral - we were made to feel so welcome. At the beginning of the service one of the Sunday School teachers came and introduced himself and invited Owen's niece to join them (reminds me of a few Sundays back when the children of St. Thomas came to their teacher to tell her that there was a new kid in church and he was made to feel welcome in so many ways - including the children choosing him to be the one to extinguished a lenten candle). after the service Owen was approached and welcomed by a woman. When she found that we were visiting and interested in learning more about the church she called her husband over. Her husband is the son of a former dean and takes great pride in the cathedral.
In all honesty, the outside of the church is not very attractive. The inside could appear rather cold due to its size and ornateness. But the congregation has done a very good job of making it warm and welcoming. During Hurricane Juan windows were broken and water got into the cathedral warping the hardwood flooring. The congregation replaced the wood with tile - which had been the original idea for flooring when the cathedral had been built. Instead of pews they had padded chairs with kneelers on the back. There were book holders on the sides. This allowed for flexibility in the nave. We saw how this worked around their various services. The back rows were turned toward the baptismal font instead of the front altars. There was a third altar set up just in front of the font. The nine o'clock service used this space. The ten thirty service used the traditional space. These chairs also allowed for rearrangement for concerts and other functions. Even the pipe organ console could be moved out and placed where the lower altar sits.
There was a corner, visible in the second picture, for a commemoration of the Battle of the Atlantic. A congregation member had done a number of pictures of the battle (and other pictures throughout the cathedral). There was some controversy around the pictures with some people feeling they were to real with bodies and such. Just in front of this commemoration is the columbarium. Our guide explained how the cathedral could support expansion of this when the present space became full.
The wood carvings were amazing. So much of the wood was carved with intricate detail. There were chairs for the various canons as well as the bishop's chair and the one for the chancellor. A few years ago the woman had a needle work project. They did seat and kneeling cushions for each chair. Each chair represents a different regions so each cushion has its own crest or symbols.
For the first time I was able to see an Easter garden. This was something I read about briefly when putting together my Easter Day services (I came across a blessing for an Easter garden in Times and Seasons out of the Church of England). I was quite interested in this as I had thought it would make a good project with the Sunday School children. I will research this a little more when I get home.
We left the church and headed out for Mother's Day brunch - us and everyone else in Halifax. We were able to get a table at a fancy cafe a short distance from the cathedral. The food was definitely not plain and was excellent. Owen leaned over to me and suggested a price for the buffet. The two men argued over who was to pay the bill. Owen won. He took one glance at the bill and told Bill that they could go fifty-fifty. The cost was double what he had expected.
Later in the afternoon we decided to head out to Peggy's Cove. I had been there back in '72 with my parents but Owen had missed it in his '93 trip. Off we headed through little coastal towns and down windy roads. We got to Peggy's Cove. The wind was not too bad but it was still enough to satisfy my soul.
The sea gull in the last picture was quite well behaved. We checked the roof of the car (not ours) and he had left no reminders of his presence. We just thought it was neat to see a sea gull on top of a car and took the picture.
The power of the sea is amazing. I feel an affinity with the sea. Marie means salty water or salty tears. Its origins are with the sea goddess - Mari. I love sitting on the rocks with the wind blowing through my hair (this does not do wonders for the hair do) and watch the waves crash on the rocks. I also love the challenge of climbing on the rocks to get from one point to the other. I am in my elements here on the rocky coast. Still the quiet sun on a prairie meadow also speaks to my soul calming it and lulling me into peace. The harsh wind and rocky shores of the coast speak to me in a different way - the awesome and untamed wonder of God's creation.
We took a few moments to stop off at one of the memorials for Swiss Air Flight 111 on September 2, 1998. I sat quietly here thinking of the people on the plane and of the rescuers and spectators helpless to bring life to such a death scene. I can only imagine how people felt as they stood on that spot looking out to the sea knowing there was little they could do other than bring in what ever the ocean chose to give up.
Today we are headed to the wharf in Halifax.
Love and Prayers,