Monday

40. The Third Week


This week I’m staying with the Bish. He’s my bishop in our newly re-named church The Flower of Carmel. It used to be The Apostolic Church of the Risen Christ or, according to predictive text, The Apologetic Church of the Risen Crisp.
We’ve now amalgamated with a big American Church which gives us all the bells and whistles we need to step up in the world and be recognised – including the chance of studying for a legitimate doctorate, which is really exciting for me, and having parishes all round the world. And it’s definitely ‘Independent Catholic’ with capital letters and a lot of mysticism thrown in.
As ordained priests, we still had to apply to join them – very fair given that their seminary training is much more intense than ours was.  However, all of us who have jumped through the appropriate hoops have been accepted and welcomed in that uniquely enthusiastic American way which is both enchanting and overwhelming and more of us will do the jumping when they’ve got the time.
The name’s a bit of a challenge to me ‘Ascension Alliance’ – there’s a lot of New Age stuff about ascension that I do find to be rather WBX. But as the Bish says, ‘we were risen, now we’re ascended, so it’s in the right direction.’
Staying on the Bish’s sofa will be interesting. I’ve slept just one night there before. The living room is also his temple and it’s full to the brim with spiritual presences. Now that’s probably just as WBX to you as New Age ascended masters are to me but my experience from just one night was that it was quite a gloriously splendid place to sleep — in a ‘what the fuck was that?’ kind of a way. Interesting to see how I do four nights in it and who shows up to have a chat or – as may well be the case – to administer a good, healthy spiritual slapping.
Friends have come out of the woodwork in the last week or so – Londoners that is – so it’s going to be a pretty sociable week with morning coffee/herbal tea with people every day. I’m going to be knackered but I think I’ll enjoy it very much.
And on Tuesday I’m having morning tea with the A-list comedian from the Guildford gig. He asked me to suggest somewhere (he’s the one who knows London!) I ventured the Savoy and he said ‘glorious’ even though he’s  a hardened Northerner.
Why the Savoy? Because it’s beautiful, the tables aren’t sticky and you don’t get rushed out. I’ve used it as my London office in the mornings for more than a decade now. You can hire a corner of a delightful, quiet room with attentive service for two hours for the price of two cups of tea. Knocks Starbucks into a cocked hat if you ask me.

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