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Hallo again to all.

Missing church. It happens.

Regular attendance at worship, usually in our own church, is an integral part of our lives. The daily and weekly rhythm of life includes time for family and food, rest and exercise, work and play, learning and relaxing, and worship. We never stop to think, at bedtime, 'I wonder if I should sleep tonight?' We never stop to think, on a workday morning, 'I wonder if I should go to work today?' And we never stop to think, on Sunday, 'I wonder if I should go to church today?' It's just part of what we do because it's part of what we are.

Yet sometimes there are, as some business contracts phrase it, 'circumstances beyond our control'. We are writing this on an airplane, returning us home a day late after a business trip that ended in flight scheduling problems. We didn't spend last night at home with family, as we had planned; we spent last night in an airport hotel (paid for with a voucher from the airline) a long way from home. And this morning, Sunday morning, instead of going to church, we took a shuttle from the hotel to the airport to get a flight home. After getting our hopes dashed several times yesterday trying to get a seat on standby, we are now in seat 22B on a Boeing 737-900, heading homeward, but to arrive a day later than planned. We thought through whether it would be possible to rush off to church after the airplane lands, but figuring in the realistic delays of gate arrival, deplaning, getting through the crowded airport, getting to the car park, finding our car, and driving to our church, we figured we'd arrive just in time to hear the dismissal.

In a few hours we'll be home, in a welcome place, hugged by family, licked by excited dogs, nuzzled by cats pretending to be standoffish, and catching up on things quotidian, trying to feel normal after the strangeness of being in a faraway hotel. For us, part of what it takes to feel normal is to go to church and receive the Eucharist.

Our own parish church has no regular weekday services. Our diocesan cathedral has daily Eucharist at noon, but it's an hour away. After the endless hours of this bungled air travel we shiver at the thought of a two hour round trip to anywhere, even for something so vital as the Eucharist. Anglicans Online doesn't record information about which parishes offer weekday Eucharists, so it won't be trivial for us to search the schedules of nearby parishes.*

It annoys us to have no answer for the missing Eucharist. Tonight we shall surely read Compline before bed. Perhaps by later in the week we can steel ourselves for a train trip to the cathedral for noon Eucharist. We could sneak anonymously into a Roman church, almost all of which offer weekday Mass, and break their rules by accepting a wafer. Or we might just have to go hungry. At breakfast this morning, having grumpily accepted that we were going to have to miss church in order to catch a plane, we mumbled to no one in particular 'This is the coffee of the new Covenant, which is brewed for you and for many for the remission of sleep.'

Do you depend on regular Eucharist? If you miss it, what can you do? We'd be delighted if you could put your thoughts into a Letter to the Editor.

See you next week.

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All of us at Anglicans Online

11 January 2015

*You would be amazed at how many parish websites don't list information so fundamental as weekday service schedules.

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