Thankful that the slightly heavy social calendar has been more encouraging and energising, than draining.
Last Monday: dinner at a boys’ house – readily identifiable as such by bikes thrown about in an overgrown backyard, a Christmas tree awaiting re-use on the window sill, and several x-box controllers next to the telly. Delicious Hungarian, chats about ministry, the misunderstood Puritans, and the infamously divisive sausage pie. A photo of The Tutor as a young man had pride of place in the kitchen. Several people took photos of it to remind themselves that he was not always as scary as he is now in training sessions!
Last Tuesday: bunged together a hot pot of pasta for the house from leftovers in the fridge, which we ate while talking about Ephesians. Like a magic pot, this seemingly little bowl of meat sauce fed 5 hungry individuals very well indeed.
A gloriously sunny day for walks along the Thames and for visits to city farms. I acquired some eggs at Hackney City Farm but later left them on one of the tombs in church and they’ve since vanished. If there’s the smell of sulphur around the pulpit a few months from now, let not the congregation look suspiciously upon the preacher!
After the first training session, a banker and a lawyer were kind enough to take me to meet their friends over dinner at a homey Italian joint, Baracca (2C Cherry Tree Walk, near the Barbican). A good evening of encouraging each other with testimonies.
The next evening, some of us were at The Old Rectory again for another delicious meal of pork and curried gravy accompanied by wonderfully cooked peas and roast potatoes. There was a new doctor in the house to congratulate, a discussion about Christian country music and, separately, the adoption situation in the UK, and stay-at-home moms to encourage.
Last Friday: a training session on how to read the Bible and then PA training (“Isn’t it great that this old tomb is still of some use to the church?”; “This building is not the church, it is a rain shelter.”). So glad to be able to play a part in allowing others all around the world to benefit from mp3s of sermons as I have benefitted over the last few years. Hopefully I don’t mess up!
Then a natter about being thankful for all that had gone on in the past week with the neighbours while huddled in front of a little bonfire (The Cook generously donated a wooden crate for the purpose – “Boys and girls, what must you remember?” “We must remember to be careful of the nails!”) in their backyard. After the fire went out, and before i could wash up, another neighbour came over to introduce a Singaporean he was reading with. We went in for hot mugs of tea and cold creamy eclairs and chatted till midnight about the criteria for choosing churches.
Sunday: full-on looking out for lost students at all three services while the Student Team was on their weekend away, with a break to cheer on the marathoners at the Paralympics! Was great meeting new city folk, including one lady from my old college who currently works in the Houses of Parliament (“When I saw your quilted jacket I knew you had to be from the same school!”).
Monday: School started. Hung about listening to and discussing Christian rap before heading to a fencing session after school – unfortunately, the right-handed epee equipment didn’t fit this leftie and being unable to defend properly against attacks, emerged with horribly bruised triceps.
Tuesday: finally met the infamous sausage pie and liked it. An excellent talk at the small group leaders’ training session about how pastoral care isn’t about counselling but pointing to Jesus as the True Shepherd.
Wednesday: dinner with Brits who were new to London – sharing testimonies and how God calls people to himself in many different ways, encouraging both the employed and unemployed to make the best use of time and opportunities.
Yesterday: spoke at some length with someone from the stock exchange about persevering in the gospel after the lunchtime talk, really appreciated how The Rector and Teamleader were eager to pray for the many people we met, then had drinks with young city workers, then dinner at Mudmee Thai Restaurant (Artillery Passage) and long discussions about workplace ministry and strategies to make the best use of lunch hours.
As we were walking away from the bar, the Scotsman remarked how he was convinced of the need for directed conversations cf. Ephesians 6.
(At some point, it would be good to get cracking on the currently 5,895 unread emails at one email address, 46 unread messages on Whatsapp, 10 unread smses, an unknown number of Facebook messages…..but now, to bed.)