Month: September 2017

Fifty Years Ago Today

Published / by kathleen

For some reason, the past few days Kathleen has been greeting me as I wake up by singing, “Get up, get out of bed, pull the covers off your head.” I’m not sure whether she realizes that this is a slightly adapted version of some lines from a Beatles song, and I’m sure she doesn’t realize that it’s from Sergeant Pepper, and she wouldn’t know that exactly fifty years ago today that song, “A Day in a Life,” was the last song ever played on the pirate radio station Radio London, when pirate radio became illegal in Britain on September 30, 1967. I was listening, at 1:50 in the afternoon that day.

It was the day after I was ordained priest, fifty years ago (which makes the opening lines of Sergeant Pepper itself, “It was fifty years ago today,” the more poignant). I don’t actually remember the collocation of the two events (the ordination and the end of pirate radio) but I know I was priested on Michaelmas Day 1967 and know pirate radio ended on September 30, 1967, because I checked it out on Wikipedia. I was looking to see what else happened that year. The answer is:

  • Ronald Reagan became governor of California
  • Thurgood Marshall was nominated to the Supreme Court
  • The Velvet Underground albu
  • m with the picture of a banana was released
  • The final episode of The Fugitive was shown
  • Bonnie and Clyde was released
  • Sweden switched from driving on the left to driving on the right
  • Disraeli Gears by Cream was released
  • John McCain was shot down over North Viet Nam
  • Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner was released
  • The U.S. population passed 200 million
  • Bob Dylan’s John Wesley Harding was released
  • The U.K. started negotiations to join the European Economic Community
  • The Graduate was released
  • Apollo One caught fire
  • Reach Out by the Four Tops was released
  • A group of American leaders agreed that people needed more positive reports about Viet Nam
  • 2001 A Space Odyssey was released
  • Israel defeated Egypt, Syria, and Jordan and won control of Jerusalem and the West Bank
  • The Songs of Leonard Cohen was released
  • The first Boeing 737 made its maiden flight
  • Planet of the Apes was released
  • Elvis got married

And I was ordained priest. As a deacon I was already working in a parish in London and I stayed there for two or three years. One day I was walking through our local shopping center, not wearing a clerical collar. I had longish hair (not very long, but longish) and the wind was blowing and my hair was blowing with it. I happened to meet my rector and he took me on one side and said, “I have never seen anything looking less like a clergyman of the Church of England.”

I stayed in the parish for a while and then I drifted into seminary teaching for the rest of the fifty years. Six years ago I became volunteer priest-in-charge of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Pasadena, and it’s been like the completing of an arc that got interrupted for forty years ago (though I’ve always been involved in church ministry through the time in between). I am so grateful to St. Barnabas for this privilege.