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Posts Tagged ‘National Cathedral’

Cathedral Church of St. Peter & St. Paul

Cathedral Church of St. Peter & St. Paul

Since we didn’t get a chance to really see the cathedral, Jill and I stroll back there after lunch. They have tours from 1 – 2:30 on Sundays, so we join one, and learn all about the history of this imposing edifice. Officially the Cathedral is the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul (couldn’t they decide?), it took 83 years to build and was only finished in 1990. Clearly that was before I became an avid NPR listener, because I had no idea it was completed so recently.

We followed the story of redemption through faith from the west rose window (representing creation), through the clerestory windows, to the sculpture of Christ in Majesty at the High Altar. A word about those windows . . . they’re amazing. The search for freedom, Lewis & Clark’s travels, Apollo XI, and more are all represented in jewel-toned pieces of glass. (The space window incorporates a piece of moon rock, how cool is that?)

Space Window

Space Window

We take special note of the window depicting Jesus’ feeding of the 5 thousand. Did you know the boy with the loaves and fishes is a picture of the artist’s son? His (the boy’s) name was Nate Saint; he grew up to be a missionary pilot and was one of the men who died with Jim Elliot.

We also learned about “grotesques” (you may know them as “gargoyles”), which are around the outside of the cathedral. I never knew they had an actual purpose: they direct rainwater from the roof away from the walls. The National Cathedral is probably the only church in the world with a gargoyle depicting Darth Vader. (Who knew the old boy went to church?) They held a contest for children to design a gargoyle, you see, and Lord Vader won.

It’s such a beautiful day that we can’t stay in the dark confines of the Cathedral for long…not with this glorious garden to explore.

Bishop's Garden

Bishop's Garden in the Cathedral Close

There are 59 acres surrounding the Cathedral, much of it designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., the son of the man who designed Central Park in NYC. The garden includes plants of historic interest, plants of the Bible and Christian heritage, and native American plants.

Besides, today is Lavender Day! The Herb Garden is having a special event with lavender everything: herbs, lavender tea, and cake. We’ll pass on the cake; those lunchtime doughnuts are too fresh in our memories. I will pick up a birdhouse from the delightful little shop, though. My front yard is home to a plethora of feathered friends and it’s a nice souvenir of the day.

Outside the Herb Cottage

Outside the Herb Cottage

After all that, it’s time for the 4:00 Choral Evensong. Jill and I join in (where directed—decorum is in order here) and more-or-less-humbly acknowledge a few admiring glances from our neighbors. (That’s just what happens when you put two Dallas Symphony Chorus singers in the congregation.) After the service, with a song in our hearts, we leave the Cathedral behind. Jill to dash to the airport (even her virtual self has to be back at work tomorrow) and me to the hotel for an evening of room service and Iron Chef. Tomorrow, another adventure beckons. Join me, won’t you?

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Also from Coldwater Creek

Also from Coldwater Creek


Today’s outfit. There was a day I would have died rather than wear slacks to church, but I’m over that now. Besides, I love the scarf. And the whole successful professional woman image it projects.

Today is Sunday, so we’re going to church. Not just any church, though—the National Cathedral. I must confess, I LOVE cathedrals. Before moving to McKinney I attended church in a cathedral and I always loved the feeling of walking in that tall stone building. It made God seem so big and me so small—just as it should be. I want to worship a God who’s infinitely bigger than me, otherwise what’s the point? Cathedrals strike me as more reverent than modern multi-purpose buildings, however practical they may be. Don’t get me wrong, we can (and should) worship God in any setting. But my soul gives a deep sigh of contentment when I enter carved wooden doors and walk through a narthex into a spacious stone-walled sanctuary with stained glass and arched ceilings high, high overhead.

Image courtesy National Cathedral

Image courtesy National Cathedral

But we’ll get to that later. First, Jill and I are going to something called “The Sunday Forum” to hear NPR religion correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty and the Very Reverend Samuel T. Lloyd III discuss “What Can Science Tell Us About God?” (I guess that’s the National Cathedral’s version of Sunday School?) It’s . . . interesting. And should provide us with conversational fodder for days to come. On a side note, what makes one “very” reverend, I wonder?

Barbara Bradley Hagerty

Barbara Bradley Hagerty


Next it’s on to Holy Eucharist, aka the Sunday morning service. Neither of us is Episcopal, but the Very Rev., who is preaching today at this service, won’t hold that against us. It’s a formal but lovely service, and the music…music just feels different in a space like that. The organist says the reverb can last up to 9 seconds. One Mississippi, two Mississippi. . . mercy, by the time you get to nine you’ve had time to sing harmony with yourself!
Image courtesy National Cathedral Web site

Image courtesy National Cathedral

After church, a nice lady working in the Herb Cottage gift shop (more about that later) recommends a place called 2 Amys for lunch. It’s not far, so we walk over and it’s immediately obvious that she’s guided us well…there’s a line to get in! Still, it’s worth the wait for what the Washington Post called “some of the best pizza in the country.” It’s baked in a wood-burning oven (oh bliss) and is pizza perfection.

The perfect Sunday lunch

The perfect Sunday lunch


I order the Abruzzese, which is topped with polpettine, garlic, parsley, and pecorino. Yes, I see that hand, thank you for asking. “Polpettine” are tiny Italian meatballs; pecorino is a hard, salty Italian cheese. Jill decides on one of the stuffed pizzas with extra ricotta, grana, salami, prosciutto, pancetta, and tomato. You look confused. Oh, grana? It’s an Italian cheese. With a glass of red wine, it’s the perfect meal to linger over as we discuss what we heard this morning and plot our afternoon.

2 Amys Doughnuts

2 Amys Doughnuts


And just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, along comes the waiter to tell us that on weekends, Two Amys offers fresh, handmade doughnuts. Hello. Sunday . . . doughnuts . . . it’s a match made in heaven. We have more to see and do. But for now, all I have to say is, “Mmmmmmmmm.”

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