If you walk to the corner and then to the end of Convent Road, you find one of the gracious examples of an earlier Christian presence in Thailand – Christ Church. In 1864, King Mongkut granted some land by the river to the Protestant Christian community so they could build a worship center in Bangkok to serve Christians of all denominations and nationalities. By 1905, the community had outgrown that site and King Chulalongkorn, the son of King Mongkut, graciously gave them a new tract of land upon which this church building was constructed. This beautiful stucco sanctuary has served the English-speaking expatriate community in Bangkok since that time. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II worshiped here on a visit to Thailand in February of 1972.
Since this church is so close to the Bangkok Christian Guest House, Mom and Dad came to know one of the Anglican priests, Stephen Gabbott and his wife, Marion, very well. That was one of the reasons why Mom and I chose to worship here on Maundy Thursday and share in their remembrance of the Last Supper and Holy Communion. It was a beautiful Anglican service, with responsive prayers, collects, and hymns. Peter Cook, the current rector, led the service and the message was brought by Jane Fucella, the wife of Mike Fucella, who met us at the airport. Following the message, we all received communion kneeling at the altar rail and drinking from a common cup.
We appreciated the Maundy Thursday service so much that we elected to return to the church for their Good Friday service at noon the next day. This time, several members read portions of scripture about the crucifixion experience, others gave reflections, and we listened to songs from a variety of musicians related to the messages and reflections. After the service, we were invited to stay and experience the seven stations of the cross (contemporary ones) that were posted at different places along the outer wall, in a similar fashion to the stations that we set up for our Services of Healing and Wholeness at First Presbyterian Church in Stephenville.
I have tried to capture some of the unique aspects of Christ Church in the thumbnail photos below: A. The beautiful stained glass window behind the altar in the chancel area. (The church has several stained glass windows, both traditional and contemporary.) B. The woven-cane seats and backs of the wooden chairs that serve as seating for those who attend services. (Kneeling benches have been replaced with simple cushions for those who choose to kneel.) C. The long extensions on the ceiling fans that were a blessing to those who worshiped in the earlier times. (Christ Church is air-conditioned today, but the fans are still used to move the cool air around.) D. The carved wooden altar, set with the elements of the Last Supper in preparation for Holy Communion on Maundy Thursday. (The same altar was bare for the service on Good Friday.)