Friday, February 28, 2014

Lovely People

On a guided tour to Devon and
Cornwall, we were booked one
night into a seaside hotel on the
shore of the dull grey Irish Sea.

Before dinner, we had a cocktail
near one of those bay windows
in which the British like to sit
whilst observing the drab scenery.

In one bay was an elderly couple
we labeled Winston and Clementine.
They engaged us in a chat asking
whence we came on the trip.

"Is Cape Cod near Florida?"
"No, it is on the Atlantic shore,
but a thousand miles north
of the east coast of Florida,"

"I spent a fortnight in Pensacola,
learning to fly the PBY.
I flew it for the rest of the war,
spotting U-boats near harbors."

After this conversation, we heard
the call for dinner for our group.
On the way to our table, Clementine
remarked to Winston, "lovely people!"

Lovely people once filled the pews
of Episcopal churches, in order
to worship God, be thankful for
His gifts, and visit with their friends.

Although snobbery is surely one of
the defining Episcopal sins, along
with pride, arrogance, and indifference,
it was never committed with malice.

These lovely people always behaved
graciously toward those not like them,
but it did not occur to them to try to
make friends with outsiders.

They simply assumed that different
people would be happy in churches
where they could accompany people
of similar circumstances in worship.

Episcopalians were usually the movers
and shakers of a community,
committed to performing good works
from the top down, so to speak.

Someone recently posted that the snobs
have all fled to the Anglican churches,
leaving the riff-raff and unwanted to
the continuing Episcopal bodies.

Not so, the lovely people simply
faded away like old soldiers,
leaving their names never to be
removed from phantom congregations.