Anglicans Online banner More about the gryphon
Independent On the web since 1994 More than 250,000 readers More than 30,000 links Updated every Sunday
Will you help support
Anglicans Online?

The Paypal logotype

Noted This Week
Sites new to AO

News Centre
News archive

News flash: a summary of the top headlines
Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us by email
Be notified each week

Start here
Anglicans believe...
The Prayer Book
The Bible

Read letters to AO
Write to us

Resources A to Z

World Anglicanism
Anglican Communion
In full communion
Not in the Communion

Dioceses and Parishes
Hong Kong
New Zealand

South Africa
Sri Lanka

Vacancies Centre
List a vacancy
Check openings worldwide

Add a site or link to AO
Add a site to AO
Link to AO

About Anglicans Online
Back issues
About our logo
Our search engine


Hallo again to all.

Lesson learnt.

Sparks were flying today, though not in the way you are likely imagining in the light of the last decade or so in the Anglican Communion. Rather, sparks were literally flying—right into our eye. As we were standing in the sacristy after returning from the gospel, heating an additional disk of self-lighting charcoal to add to the thurible, we might have gotten a bit excited and close to the flame. A few sparks flew into our eye and burned for several minutes.

Admittedly, it was not the worst pain we've ever had as thurifer. Not as bad as the time we gave ourselves a concussion learning to do figure-eights a few hours before an Easter Vigil as a teenager (sorry, Mother Susy—this may be the first you are hearing of this). And not as bad as the time we severely burnt ourselves quickly picking up charcoal and incense by hand after a child ran into us just as the opening hymn was starting (the parts of the service that didn't involve incense were spent running cold water over our injured hand). Neither was it as bad as whatever led to the small hole on our sanctuary floor*. Our boat boy laughed at us, but that seems to be completely ordinary behaviour for someone ten years old.

So here we sit, typing this from a coffee shop with a still slightly-sore eye, pondering the gift of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost. Incense, of course, the laughter of that ten year old, song and chant, worship, communion, and those flying sparks. It would be silly to suppose that we are the first to slightly injure ourselves in an act of worship**, nor that this will be the last time. We can't pretend the pain that built calluses on our hands from swinging the thurible comes close to the pain intentionally caused through the wearing of sack-cloth, hair shirts, or self flagellation.

Perhaps we are grateful that it was merely physical sparks flying. Our beloved Anglican Communion has gone through so much turmoil, both theological and ecclesiastical. Sparks of anger, sparks of disrespect, sparks of conflict. Perhaps some sparks of the Holy Ghost are what we need to bring us home and make us whole.

See you next week (when we will be more careful with the thurible).

Our signature
All of us at Anglicans Online

24 May 2015

*We've been told it was from a bishop who was inexperienced and overly excited and spilled the contents of the thurible on the floor and didn't snuff it out with his feet, but we can neither confirm nor deny this.

**Certainly not as the young female acolyte we witnessed briefly setting her hair on fire as her head fell forward towards a torch.

A thin blue line
This web site is independent. It is not official in any way. Our editorial staff is private and unaffiliated. Please contact about information on this page. ©2015 Society of Archbishop Justus
. Please address all spam to