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The Ten Weeks, 17 January,:”You don’t do what you’re told, you get hung from the palace gate.”

The Arnolds’ Daimler Majestic Major was the appropriate car for them to arrive at Christ Church on Point Collina for Morning Prayer at 1100. Although not the cathedral church for the Anglican Church of Verecunda, Christ Church was certainly its flagship parish, and being its Rector was a plum appointment. The only two churches on the Island to compare architecturally were St. Sebastian’s Catholic Church, which Anglicans generally regarded as the product of a hopelessly tasteless nouveaux riche Lucian Gerland, and of course the Church of Serelia’s Cathedral of St. Thomas.
Mark Arnold Jr. and his wife Helen generally came to church by themselves. The boys hadn’t darkened the door of the place much past confirmation and Cathy went to Mass every now and then with Terry Marlowe and her father. The latter was a fearful proposition for the Arnolds, compounded by the fact that Cathy’s best friend was the granddaughter of the man who “took Verecunda away” from them. Cathy had promised that she would emigrate if she converted to Roman Catholicism, and in any case they sensed that the only reason Cathy went there is because Terry did.
The church was across the street from Point Collina school; the spacious front lawn of the church gave one a nice view of Verecunda city across the bay from the narthex. For a number of those in the parish—and that included the Arnolds—it allowed them to view the city they felt they had built as they left proper Anglican worship each Sunday.
As Mark and Helen came in, they took a copy of the bulletin, walked down the centre aisle to their appointed pew, made one of two bows he would make the whole week, and sat down. The memorialisations of the various items in the church—some subtle, some rather conspicuous—were reminders of those who had contributed to the church, many the Arnolds’ ancestors and relatives.
But, after they knelt and prayed, Mark’s attention was taken far away from the reminders of greatness past. As the organist played the prelude, he looked down in to the rack affixed to the pew in front of his. He realised that the cloth hardbound Prayer Book usually in place there—a slight modification of the 1928 one the Episcopalians used in the U.S.—was missing. In its place was a ungainly collection of mimeographed papers stapled together. He picked it up and looked at it.
“Trial liturgies,” he said to himself. “What is this? Where is our Prayer Book?”
“Don’t make a scene,” Helen whispered to him.
“But I wasn’t told about this,” he whispered, almost breaking into normal speech.
“You can ask Dr. Langley after church,” she scolded him, almost as if she was scolding Jack or Cat.
Mark settled back into his pew. It wasn’t long before the prelude stopped and the pause that did not refresh turned into the processional hymn. The acolytes entered first, followed by the choir and the celebrant. Mark realised that part of the problem was trailing the choir: Dr. James Woolsey, the new Assistant Rector. Mark had come to despise him in the few months since he had come to Christ Church. Almost fresh out of seminary in the U.S., his decidedly “Roman” insistance upon being addressed as “Father” was just the beginning of Mark’s gripe list about him. As he processed, he had the odd habit—odd, at least, to the older parishioners—of looking up at the ceiling in a silly way, as if there was a bird overhead on the verge of unloading its guano on him. The silly way continued through Morning Prayer; he had a decidedly shmaltzy delivery that Mark found especially irritating.
Woolsey began the announcements by informing everyone that the Rector had been called away on an unexpected visit to Serelia and would be back next week. He then showcased the new Morning Prayer liturgy. He promised that more suitable books would be arriving from the mainland shortly, but that it was necessary to inaugurate the trial liturgies at the proper time. He also announced that, beginning the First Sunday in Lent, that all Sunday services would be Holy Communion, and that Morning and Evening Prayer would be relegated to the weekday services. He apologised that this could not have been instituted at the beginning of the liturgical year six weeks earlier, but that other exigencies had arisen and the delay was unavoidable.
Mark’s recital of the General Confession and his reception of the Absolution was pretty much of no effect by the end of the service. When Woolsey gave the ceiling another inspection as he followed the choir and acolytes out in the recessional, Mark almost drug his wife down the aisle and into the narthex.
“Good morning, Mr. Arnold,” Woolsey said as Mark and Helen came up. “And Mrs. Arnold.”
“What’s good about it?” Mark barked. “Where are our prayer books?”
“They have been retired,” Woolsey replied.
“And why wasn’t I told about this? I am the Senior Warden on the Vestry here, in case you have forgotten.”
“You must have been somewhere else when this change was announced at Christmastime.”
“We were in Serelia on necessary business,” Mark informed Woolsey. “Using a proper prayer book, I might add. I heard the rumours upon my return, but our Rector informed me that this would be discussed at our next meeting of the Vestry before it was implemented. You know my opposition to this.”
“The Bishop ordered its immediate implementation,” Woolsey replied. “I would suggest that you take this matter up with him.”
“I certainly will,” Mark thundered. “Our prayer books will be restored, I can assure you. They haven’t even been removed like this in the U.S., from what I understand.”
“There’s no reason for us to wait for the Americans to institute progress,” Woolsey answered. “Good day.” With that he abruptly turned to greet another parishioner, leaving Mark fuming and Helen embarrassed.
Mark resumed dragging Helen towards the car, but there was no need for coercion: she was glad to get away from the church. “You didn’t need to be so rude to Dr. Wooley,” she said as he opened the car door for her.
“He’s usurped the authority of the Vestry and the Convention,” Mark replied. “I’m tired of high handed know-it-alls coming from the mainland and telling us what to do. We’ve governed our own affairs for a hundred and forty years. I’m going straight to Farnsworth about this. My father is rolling over in his grave, along with the rest of our forbears.”
“Maybe he should have stayed in Serelia like Bishop Cord did,” Helen observed, finally being seated in the car.
“Maybe she’s right,” he muttered to himself as he went around the front of the car to get in on the driver’s side. They went back to the house, picked up Jack and Cat, and went on to the Yacht Club for lunch.
Mark’s mood became more sullen with each scotch and water. The rest of the family knew not to say anything when this happened; Helen had the advantage of being able to consume a few vermouth martinis. Although the children certainly drank, they did so away from their parents, who still believed that they weren’t ready to drink until they got out of secondary school.
“I’m going to check on the boat,” Jack said after inhaling his dessert.
“Go ahead,” Mark replied.
“I’ll go help him,” Cathy said. The two went out to the boat, a small, fibreglass hulled powerboat about eight metres long.
“I hate it when he gets off on this Prayer Book thing,” Jack said as he pulled the canvas cover off of the boat to go aboard and look things over.
“Me too,” Cathy said as she helped him pull the cover onto the dock. They got on board and stood on the stern. The boat was facing north-east; from the stern they could see the sweep of the Point Collinan coastline as it curved rightward towards the Dahlia Bridge’s south approach.
“Hey, Cat, when you go to church with Terry, do they use a Prayer Book?”
“No, they have these chintzy little missalettes, booklets made out of newsprint, with all of the Mass and the readings.”
“Didn’t they change over from Latin last year?”
“Not last year,” Cathy informed him. “But they do have a ‘new order of the Mass,’ I think they call it. They’ve been through a lot of changes in their service, from what Terry and her dad tell me.”
“They didn’t go whining to their bishop, like Dad wants to, did they?”
“Catholics are different,” Cathy answered. “They were told what to do and they did it. That was it.”
“Kinda like the East Islanders,” Jack added. “You don’t do what you’re told, you get hung from the palace gate. Glad our grandfather didn’t stay there.”
“Well, let’s check this thing out, our parents are probably watching us from the shore to make sure we’re inspecting the boat,” Cathy warned. They went below and looked around. They came up. Cathy stood on the stern and looked over the starboard across the bay in silence.
“What’s wrong, Cat?”
“Grandpa,” she replied mournfully. “I miss him. Remember when he took us up in the belfry when we were little? We thought that was so cool.”
“Yeah, we did. And when he took us to the club. . .come to think of it, he gave me my first tennis lessons. You’re right, Cat. . .and he wouldn’t put up with what Dr. Woolsey’s doing. He was ‘old school,’ as Dad would say. Just seems like yesterday when he was still here.”
“He only died last year,” Cathy observed. “He didn’t like it when I sneaked off with Terry to St. Sebastian’s. But he didn’t gripe like our father does.”
“Wait a minute. . .St. Sebastian’s. . .what did you say about how they did.”
“They were told to change the Mass. They did it. That was it.”
“You think that someone’s telling our church what to do?”
“Now who would do that?”
Jack shrugged. “Denise’s dad, maybe?”
“Now why would he care about what prayer book we use?”
“Denise cared about everything. You had to do everything her way. Even make love. Maybe it runs in the family.”
“That’s stupid.”
“Maybe not. . .we’d better get this canvas back on before they figure out we came out here just to get away from them.” Cathy complied and they wrestled the canvas cover back on and secured it. They walked back to the club house. Mark and Helen were already in the lobby, waiting for their children.
“Now how come it took so long to inspect a twenty-six foot long boat?”
“Eight metres, Dad,” Cathy corrected him. “They make you do it.”
“You’ve been spending too much time with Terry,” Helen observed. “Let’s go home.”


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