We get to the summit early. Not just a few minutes early but the better part of an hour early. The church just stirring into life but for now quiet and peaceful in the morning sun. They've hung twenty miles - twenty miles ! - of green and blue ribbon from the ceiling. The ribbons sway and jig and dance in the breeze, changing colour with the light.
Half an hour before the service and the nave is suddenly beyond packed ; thronged. Ushers trying, unsuccessfully, to keep the aisles and doorways clear. Grandmothers in salmon pink suits and black broad brimmed hats, teenage sons in sensible two sizes too big '' he's rocketing up '' blazers, a Nobel prize winner from Stanford, a seven foot tall NBA player, hundreds of young , twenty something , couples of every hue and unorthodoxy - this after all is San Francisco. When the organ starts up the ribbons shimmy into life.
Twenty two babies to be baptized this morning by the dean - a woman of gentle demeanour but ferocious intellect . Sanaz and Ayana and Cuiya joining more established Episcopalian names like Nicholas and Charlie on the order of service . Then the closing words '' But looking up , at dawn, they saw the great stone rolled away, and a light more dazzling than the day " ( strange how some baptismal sentences have a natural scan and beauty ) , the organ thunders, the babies gurrgle, people laugh, the doors are flung open and the crowds spill out.
Angus can't help but wonder what change fearing cathedrals in England would do to have a calm and intelligent congregation like this filling the building , the youthful overflow eddying down the steps and into the park beyond.