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July 15, 2002

Subject: England Trip - Letter #06
Monday, July 15, 2002
Dear Great Friends,
This morning the Birches and I had a beautiful breakfast of hot poridge with warm milk, two fried eggs over toast and a little baked fish with white sauce and ICED tea. Diedre has learned how to make great iced tea through my tutiledge. It is not a common drink either here in England or in South Africa. She started a new job today at 10am at a nearby home for the elderly about 10 minutes away. She will be doing food preparation, cleaning and adminstrative work there five days a week.
When John returned, we enjoyed more tea and attempted to install a second hard disk into his computer. Sadly we failed. The disk is from him computer in SA (South Africa) and contains quite a number of his musical composition files, he would like to retrieve. He wants to add it as well as a new large disk that his son brought over from the US last week. He is using a 133 MHz P1, for those of you who can appreciate his challenges. AOL is his ISP.
Around 11:30 we left for Christ Church (a town), which was about 20 minutes away via the coastline of southern England. The coast of England is very beautiful. The latitude here is slightly above that of Maine in the US, and the weather is heavily moderated byt "the sea". There we visited the Priory Church. This was built in 1094 and was a monastary for a very long time. In that capacity the Monks worshiped there daily. The congregation has recently restored their 18th century pipe organ and installed the 900the anniversary window.
Their "history stewards" know a wealth of information about the past and present ministry of their parish. They had done a very nice job of moving the choir, altar and pulpit on the congregation side of the 'screen' so that it is visible to the parish during worship services. Screens were very high walls that obstructed the view of the monks and choir boys who sang the worship services from the commoners who came to worship at their local parish church.
Since John was born and spent almost all his life in SQA, he enjoys discovering these English treasures as much as I do. As John and I visit we seem to discover many tracks of our lives that have been parallel. He was raised as a Baptist by loving Christian parents who did all they knew to follow God. He became an Anglican when he discovered the music and sacremental worship, which could not be found in his present worship family. He deeply loves Cathedral Music, composes for the choir and organ all for use in Christian worship. He has had a passion for music, actively lead in schools and parishes for over 45 years. He and Dierdre were married when he was 32 and she is nine years younger than he (I am six younger than Jill). Their marriage and child rearing experiences as well as John's personal spiritual journey has enjoyed many insights and discovers that are similar to mine. He told me, "I have had quite a difficult time, getting past knowing exactly that everything is either right or wrong or black or white. There are many more shades of gray than I believed earlier in my life." Hearing him talk about Katharyn, I would swear he is talking about Christine. Their son Michael and our son Jonathan could be friends, if like persons could get along. The first time John set foot in England, he felt like he had come home. This is exactly how I have felt, every time I have come here - including the first time. This year in England for John is a life-long dream being fullfilled, through spiritual growth, music and cultural richness. I feel that my being given to do my musical composition at the Wesley Chapel on the Charles Wesley organ is also a once-in-a-lifetime dream come ture. I have wanted to do this for many years, having John went to evensong at Kings College, he thought there could be nothing closer to Heaven on Earth. If you want to read about my such experience, go to www.worshipandchurchmusic.com and select that link. Finally, John also loves ginger snap cookies.
Those are some of the many ways he has expressed that are parallel to my life, half way around the world and unknown to him or me. It is truly amazing and I think God every day for John's heart to listen to and follow God. It is an inspiration to me. John, thank you for not playing it safe and neglecting to contact me. Without your initiative with me via email, we would never have become friends and this trip to England would have been much less for me.
Anyway, back to my events of the day... John then dropped me off at the Bournemouth (pronounced "born'muth")for my £29 ($45 US) train ride back to London. I arrived back at my hotel around 18:30 (6:30pm for those of us in the colonies)and then enjoyed a wonderful dinner at an Italian Ristorante. They happily prepared two excellent glasses of iced tea (about 6 oz each) for £3.20 ($4.80 US).
Tomorrow I return to the Wesley Chapel and continue my composition work. I will continue with my setting of lenten Psalms to music.
A week has passed and I know virtually no news from the US. I will visit www.cnn.com and check it out. The British media cover very little about the US, unless it is a good scandal or disaster. I guess we do about the same at home. I am beginning to miss being home. I have talked to Jill, Jonathan and Christine and my parents several times. Certainly I will be more relaxed when I return to my normal hectic pace. I just hope that I might retain some of the quietness and focust aht can only be had when you break your endless chain of daily activities.
One thing that I will be enjoying working with when I return is the many new musical works that John has composed. He provided me with quite a few pieces of music in computer files, which I can review and publish on my music web site (http://www.adorationpublishing.com). As I go through each one of them, will certainly bring me back to our wonderful time together, sitting in the little church where we played them together and Dierdre was sing along with us.
Thanks for listening to this latest saga from England. I will be in touch again soon.
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