There is something unexpectedly powerful about 2,000 people from some many parts of the world all saying Anglican liturgy together.
There is something even more remarkable in hearing the Lord’s Prayer said, aloud by the delegates, “each in their own language”- in fact over 100 of them. It might be thought that it would sound something like Babel but cadence, phraseology and rhythm creates an effect much more like Pentecost.
A further recognition of the diversity of our nations came in Morning Prayer on this, the last day of the conference. The singing of, “How Great thou Art” included the familiar second verse,
When through the woods, and forest glades I wander, And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur, And hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.
It was explained to the delegates, however, that this did not translate well to countries that don’t tend to have sweetly singing birds or burbling brooks. And so a second version of the verse was sung, originating from Australia,
When through the bush and on the beach I wander and hear the birds sing loudly in the trees.
When I look out across the vast horizon behold the land that stretches sea to sea.