Regent’s Canal – Mile End to Angel/Islington
After a crazy first week in London, was under strict instructions to do no work at all on Saturday. So woke late, wandered dishevelled downstairs to find both the kitchen and garden filled with people chattering as might be expected at the Associates’ House at brunchtime. Hurriedly fixed up a yoghurt + British summer berries + nuts + Chia seeds snack, but not before several people came over to talk, politely trying very hard not to look at the state of my hair.
After getting into a relatively more presentable state, had a nice little meander by Regent’s Canal from Mile End to think and pray about the week. After Mile End’s Millennium Park, the waterway starting near The Palm Tree (127 Grove Road or is it Haverfield Road?, Mile End. Traditional East End boozer innit.),
Popped up for a bit of a gawk at the Broadway Market in Hackney. Surely I must return, with reinforcements, for F. Cooke’s jellied eels.
Then past riverside cafes and slightly tipsy boating parties, and even a Slovakian kitchen in a houseboat (Vareska), and shopping trolleys in the towpath,
where i scored Noam Chomsky’s Profit Over People at Oxfam Books for 1.99 for a read on the return trek (“Nothing like a little heavy reading for the weekend eh,” said the nice shopkeeper).
With a nice warm glow from the setting sun, a slight change of scenery on the way back. Different angle on the “street art”. Boating party even more tipsy.
Well-designed student accommodation at Queen Mary and Westfield University – Pooley House and Chapman, Chesney and Selincourt.
Was thinking about how thankful I am for possibly the best week of my life, doing not only what I love but what is right to do:
Sunday: first Sunday with new church family – a very warm welcome at morning service with everyone who had been praying for me being happy to finally put a face to the name (and were hopefully not too disappointed), fantastic lunch + conversations including something about someone’s travels in North Korea, encouraging exposition on Psalm 73 at evening service, curry dinner with evening church at Brick Lane.
Monday: bank holiday welcome barbecue. Many nations and cultures and backgrounds, same God. Lovely.
Tuesday: practical briefing – loads of passwords, procedures, and a personal set of keys to the church (and my name’s not even Peter) building. The building manager was a magnificently God-fearing man who explained how arranging the chairs exactly so everyone could sight the pulpit and how locking up properly would help gospel proclamation. Then helped at lunchtime service for cityworkers. And after, a lovely whole staff meeting with introductions and a bit about what everyone did over summer + preview of Sunday’s sermon + 1 Corinthians 12 + prayer during which The Cook encouraged us greatly with God-centred petitions.
Wednesday: breakfast bible study – amazing turn out considering the time of the day, with everyone raring to get stuck in in the Word. Then IT training with another wonderfully Lord-dependent man who was also responsible for the mp3s we benefited so much from in the last few years. His deadpan wit cracked us up – “This printer won’t print anything. Not even a sausage.” and “Here, you will find everything you need for identity theft.” Later, a tour of the buildings – up creaky spiral wooden stairs that had been there since the Vikings, into bell-towers, onto rooftops, but not into not-so-secret secret passage ways. Fascinating.
After staff lunch, a good explanation that ministry is all about God and getting people to love Jesus, not leading quality bible studies or giving top-class talks. Then a whole church evening talk/study. Birthday drinks after.
Thursday: practical work setting tables and chairs for events. Then changed out into smart stuff for the lunchtime service – had a good long conversation with an old boy on the sovereignty of God, suffering, being on patriarchal councils etc until all the tables were cleared around us. Then back to practical work clothes for good spot of toilet cleaning.
Friday: The Cook drilled us in food hygiene and safety, explaining also how godly hospitality and neighbourly love should inform our actions. Utterly dry wit. We sat an exam after to be certified by the state to handle food. Then walked across town to a welcome dinner and good chat about the church situation in Scotland, unofficial service in the church body, cultural.
Saturday: DAY OFF! Housemates and I had a good talk about how we can encourage each other and pray for each other, being wary of the trials and tribulations of living in close proximity and also being careful that things might get competitive.
Sunday: we were introduced to the church family. Morning service with sermon on Luke 3:1-14 (repentance), delicious lunch with The Rector and family, evening service with sermon on righteousness. Was pleased to have had the privilege of welcoming several newcomers. Dinner of bangers and mash with the whole church after.