Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sunday December 23 - Paris to London

We had breakfast at our most pleasant hotel, Hotel Ridgemount. We packed. And then we went to church at St. George's Church, the Parish Church of Bloomsbury.
St. George's Church, Bloomsbury, London
The church was originally consecrated in 1731. It was the last church designed by by the famous English church architect. Nicholas Hawksmoor. It closed in 2001 and reopened in 2006 after it was restored with funds supplied by the World Monument Fund, the Paul Mellon State and the heritage Lottery. Fund. I found the combination of supporters rather ironic!

The service was very familiar being almost the same as our services at St. Paul's in Daphne. The sermon was preached by the Reverend Dr. James Walters, a thirty year old priest who is the Chaplain to the London School of Economics. The sermon was excellent and focused on the many ways, silent unknown ways, that God enters our lives. Certainly less spectacular that the much anticipated end of the world as foretold for December 21 by the Myan calendar, and less spectacular even that the expectations of many early Christians. The Gospel reading was the story of pregnant Elizabeth's reactions to a visit from expectant Mary. Dr. Walters wove this scripture into his sermon as an example of the startling revelations that sometime occur and the less spectacular, even events that lead to doubts about God's interventions as expressed in the letters of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, as well as in the lives we live. In silence, however, and in the everyday aspects of life, we find God there and we come to appreciate his advent now and at a variety of times in our lives. Even when we least expect it.

Having found quick transfers to the Chunnel train in France very problematic, after church we headed for St. Pancras station and the Eurostar. This time I was the first to board our car and had full access to the luggage racks at the end of Car 2. Some in Car 3 were not so lucky. Announcements threatened the permanent removal of baggage blocking the emergency exits in Car 3. But that was Car 3. Not Car 2

We are nearing Paris as i write this. We will take a cab to our hotel and quickly leave for dinner at the home of Jim Haynes. I will report on that dinner in my next post.

No, I'll add it here since I am completing this on December 26.

We were delayed in the cab ride from Gare de Nord by a major accident on the ring road, but the taxi driver finally got off and wen through city streets to reach our hotel in Boulogne-Bettancourt.
Jim Haynes
Arnold and Jennifer were waiting for us. We took another cab with a very chatty cab driver to the atelier of Jim Haynes to join the dinner gathering he holds every Sunday night for the first 60 who sign up. His story is fascinating. Read about him on his web site Jim Haynes We met a lot of interesting Americans there and a few locals. Included were a transplanted writer, Martin Belk, from Charlotte who has been working with your prisoners in Scotland;
Adrienne Donley
Adrienne Donley who works in human relations in San Francisco for Abbott Drugs; a friend she met on the plane to France, Lisa Brogran from Huntsville; her daughter Amy who is completing her studies in Ireland to be a Veterinarian;
John David Reagan
John David Ragan, an historian who works as a laborer on the slope in Alaska for 6 months and then lives in Paris and writes for 6 months; and David Turner, an architect from Australia turned photographer.
Dinner at Jim Haynes' house
And many more
Dinner at Jim Haynes' house
I thoroughly enjoyed it!

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