A Great Banquet

A dinner at the Mansion House in London for bishops from the churches of the British Isles. Overtones [sic] of Gilbert and Sullivan in the uniformed guards, watermen and lightermen. Stirrings of memories of being taken to London as a child to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Some signs around one that the dressing up box and the Oxfam shop have been raided for anything vaguely purple. But most of all at such moments one is aware of the strange sense of lurching from one mode of life to another – a slightly Cinderella-ish feeling that one suddenly finds oneself at the ball without being quite sure which is real life – going to the ball or life at home with the ugly sisters. Most interesting of all in these fragile times for the church is the sudden sense of Christendom recaptured and the joining up of various bits of establishment. Yet to say that is to suggest that this was about wallowing in the half-forgotten comforts of the past. For what was said by the Lord Mayor and the two Archbishops was all about one of the key challenges of our times – the building of an inclusive, tolerant and accepting society.