My foray into fandom has been a baptism by fire. I have had huge highs where I am floating on Cloud 9 and I have also had the blackest days of despair when I have retreated to the National for comfort and solace.
What the experience has made me realise is that I want a regular spiritual/moral message that I can work on over the week. So I thought that now was the time to return to the Anglican Church.
My family are Hindus. But I went to an Anglican primary school. Our vicar came to talk to us every week and we regularly attended Church. My parents were comfortable with that. So comfortable that they allowed me to read a poem I had written about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane out in the Easter service. I regularly took communion too.
My secondary school was supposedly non-faith based but we sang hymns in Assembly and almost always had bible readings as part of Assembly. We studied the Bible in religious education. We regularly went to Church services.
The messages of Christianity on a very basic level have always resonated more with me than the messages of other religions, including my family's religion - Hinduism. The fact that within the Anglican Church the services are in English makes the messages accessible to me. In a temple the mantras and the prayers are in Sanskrit and therefore completely and utterly meaningless to me. I cannot work with them or use them in any way - I have no clue what they mean.
On one of my darkest days in fandom, I met someone at the National. We got chatting about every topic under the sun. We are both National geeks. We have become good friends very quickly. She was my second ticket when I day ticketed Frankenstein. Benedict as Creature. She loved it! She is a member of an Anglican Church.
The Church is All Souls. It is based one minute from Oxford Circus. They are here:
So on Sunday I went along. It was amazing. Their strapline is "Growing an international community to reach a multi-cultural society for Christ". They have a congregation of 1,000 people. They have all ages - babies and toddlers to OAPs. They are international and diverse - all races and nationalities were there. They have a building that is architecturally stunning. They have a full orchestra and a choir. They have sermons, based on the Bible's text but illustrated and brought to life by personal stories and film clips. They are open, welcoming and friendly. I loved it and I got a lot out of it and I am going every Sunday - they run 3 services each Sunday and I will definitely be able to make one of the three services that they are fronting.
Key messages I took from my visit:
From a hymn sung by the choir:
"On Christ, the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand."
From a hymn:
"Saviour, thank you for your love,
the love that gives me shelter from the storm.
Held in your wounded hands,
for ever I will stand,
safe beneath the shadow of your cross."
The Lord's Prayer - I have missed you in my life!
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kindgom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.
This is a slightly different version to the one I am used to but the words are so powerful.
The words I have cited above are strong and powerful. I can use these messages in my day to day life.
I have nothing to fear and I am safe. This is what the National also makes me feel! I will be returning to All Souls next Sunday. I firmly believe that I met my new friend at the National on that day (one of my darkest) for a particular reason. It was fated.