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From All Saints' Parish Magazine,
Volume 104 Number 6 JUNE 2003

 

A Glorious Day

 

Mrs. Olive Hughes writes

 

On the 27th February, Dr Rowan Williams was enthroned as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury.

Margaret, my daughter and I made an early start from Hampshire to Kent in glorious sunshine - perfect pilgrimage weather. Having avoided the .rush hour' traffic on the M25, our journey was stress free. We lunched with some good friends before they drove us into the City. Although security was to the fore, the City was heavily policed and we managed to park near to one of the main entrances. We walked through gardens filled with spring flowers. Crowds of people were chatting and greeting one another - an air of excitement and anticipation was all around.

The first person we recognised was Terry Waite, sitting and chatting away with an elderly clergyman. shortly followed by Huw Thomas (one-time Curate of Oystermouth - many years ago) . His late parents lived in Gilwem where Huw's father was master at the Approved School. Huw is fondly remembered as 'Huw the Cue' during his time at All Saints. He is now Principal at St. Edwards College on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border.

After seeing so many friends and acquaintances. it was time to make our way into the Cathedral, treading the steps that had been trodden over the centuries. We took our places a few rows behind St. Augustine ' s Chair where during a sollemn moment in the ceremony, the Archbishop was installed by the Archbishop of Armagh in the marble Chair of St. Augustine - placing him at the head of the world-wide Anglican Communion.

We saw very little, being completely surrounded by very tall people. However. the music more than compensated for our lack of vision. The wonder of technology afforded us seeing the entirety on video later - choristers, clerics with red robes, Cardinals, Archbishops and exotic finery from various countries and faiths - Hindu, Buddhists. Jewish, Muslim and Sikh faiths.

It was a day when the Cathedral rang not only with the strains of a Welsh Harp played by Bethan. the daughter of Vicar and Mrs John Waiters of Pontarddulais. After the penillion she was joined by Rachel Grey - a soprano who sang mystical words by the poet Ann Griffiths which had been translated by Archbishop Rowan. We also heard the chants of African singers and dancing to the sound of drums. Before the final blessing by the Archbishop, the most famous Welsh hymn tune 'Guide me O Thou great Redeemer' was sung by the congregation in great 'hwyl'.

After the service we joined others for tea. It was getting late. but as we were about to leave the new Archbishop entered the Hall, we were able to congratulate him and give him our very good wishes. These wonderful few moments will always be treasured.

Travelling back to Hampshire we were tired but yet so happy to have been part of such a wonderful and important ceremony.

They may have sealed up the Post Boxes in Canterbury on the day of the Enthronement for fear ofa breach of security. However. they could not stop the explosion of brilliant yellow daffodils along the City Walls that greeted the new Archbishop of Canterbury. Thanks be to God.

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