The Parish Church of St John-at-Hampstead

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The Installation of Philip Buckler as Dean of Lincoln

Paul Hickey & Stella Greenall

On Saturday 3rd February a group of doughty HPCers gathered to catch a coach to Lincoln to be present at Philip's installation. It was a beautiful, clear day but very cold. Some two dozen of us clambered aboard the [somewhat elderly] charabanc and we were off.

Some time later, with not a cloud in the sky, up sprang Lincoln Cathedral. We could see it from miles away [very flat, Lincolnshire] and it presented a quite awe-inspiring sight. Duly fed and watered we joined the packed congregation in the cathedral. The scene was glorious: the church in its best bib and tucker and swathed in sunlight.

The service itself was very moving. It was one of those services that the Church of England is so good at when it gets it right. It was grand but not grandiose, moving but not sentimental. There was a large amount of processing, but none too obtrusive. Indeed, given the organization of the various processions, the Precentor, sometime in his past, must have picked up his skills as an air traffic controller! The Bishop of Lincoln gave a warm and witty welcome to the Bucklers, including Bertie the dog. Sadly, Bertie recently suffered a stroke, though we worked out he must be about 112 in dog years. The music was splendid [apart from some rather dreary Walton] and, before we knew it, the Very Reverend Philip Buckler, Dean of Lincoln, and Prebendary of South Scarle was presented to us. He seemed extermely happy.

Historically the position is fascinating. He is following St Aelred of Hexham and William de Montfort, although I suspect the one closest to Philip's heart will be George Herbert, sometime Canon and Prebendary of Lincoln, who wrote the following, sung at the service:

"Thou who hast given so much to me, give one thing more, a grateful heart. Not thankful when it pleaseth me, as if thy blessings had spare days: but such a heart whose pulse may be thy praise. Thou who hast given so much to me, give one thing more, a grateful heart. "

There were a lot of grateful hearts on the bus back to Hampstead that evening.
Paul Hickey

Lincoln, England

Perfect blue sky, green level fields
A shining setting for our English Lincoln
Serene, tall, rainwashed, lustred,
glittering; indoors - cathedral light

Light - violet, rose, emerald, ochre
Over the ordered, pillared nave
Moving as the sun moved round;
Each stone bearing its apportioned share

Graceful, essential, permanent -
As also the service; claiming, sharing,
Each part duly serving all,
Welcomed another new beginning, -

As rises from that splendid cope
A voice we know, familiar message.

Stella Greenall

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