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July 8, 2002

Subject: England Trip - Letter #1

Greetings friends and fellow collonists (except for John Birch here in the UK),
This is my first of an indefinate number of epistles from England to you over these next two weeks. Let me put us all on the same page. The previous letter, "no. 2" was actually blank. I was preparing the list into a blank email to be saved to make my life easier while gone and accidentally hit the send key insteady of the save key. Hopefully, that will elevate several of your self conficence in email.
This idea to send a group email came from several of you and I decided to go for it. I hope you enjoy my pilgrimage over these two weeks. I took a moment and prayed for each of you this afternoon. I hope these next few weeks will bring strength and encouragement to each one of you. It was no accident that each one of you is on my email list. So many of us have needs, often unspoken, where we would like to see resolution. I expect this trip to help me a great deal in this area. Perhaps my notes will bring some cheer and fun into your days.
Offically this is a study leave trip from St. Gabriel's. I have long wanted to do what has been able to come about over the past year. I will be composing hymns and choral music here in London, seated at the same organ that Charles Wesley played about 275 year ago. It is in a little chapel called the Foundry at the Wesley Chapel in London. I plan to be over there tomorrow and get underway. Each time I visit England, I wonder what so makes me feel at home. Certainly it remains a bit of a mystery since I am from a place very far away and different from anything in the UK. It is what it is and I remain what I am.
Sunday's checkin at the International Desk for United Airlines was fun. Jonathan carried my bags in for me from the drop of lane where Jill and Christine waited for him. The line was hundreds in the domestic line and NO ONE in the international line - with three anxious idle ticket agents. I went up to one and he started processing my ticket. He saw my prayer book in my suitcase and asked if I was a pastor. I said yes, among many things. I told him that I was a pastor and the minister of music at St. Gabriel the Archangel Episcopal Church in Denver. His response was amazing, "I write a lot of music", he said. I asked him what kind and he said worship music. He became a Christian as an adult after significant drug use and other activities. I told him about my music publishing business (http:www.adorationpublishing.com ) and he was amazed. He then took out a notebook and showed me many lyrics that he had written. He even sang one of the songs for me at the ticket counter! His name is Mike Nash and we will get together when I return to Denver.
Our Denver-Chicago flight was about 35 minutes late. It was even more late arriving and when we pulled to the gate, I rushed out to what should have been a nine gate rush in 1o minutes. I learned that we had been parked at a different concourse and I was a long way from my London flight gate. I rushed as fast as I could with three bags and was almost running when I arrived at the departure gate on the C concourse at OHare. They came running up to me and asked if I was Mr. Ellis. I know that was both a good and a bad sign. She said that she had given my seat away and everyone was already on board. She then reseated the person who had been given my seat and I rushed into the 777 and went to what must have been the only available seat on the plane. The flight attendant also asked if I was Mr. Ellis. They closed the door in about 2 minutes and we were taxiing to the runway with the announcements going as usual. When we reached the runway, we stopped and turned around. We had a TV screen on each seatback and could see a map with the plane on it which was connected to the flight instruments and all of us noticed that we had done a 360. The captian came on the pa system and announced that we would be returning to the gate. A passenger had apparently had some heart trouble and wanted to go to the ER. We all set quietly and many of us were clearly praying for this unknown passenger. They came on board, gave him oxygen and took him off the plane and into an ambulance which departed immediately. We then sealed the doors for departure and left about an hour later than scheduled.
We enjoyed the "benefit" of a strong pair of lungs on a two year old that was more angry and unruly than anything else. It was clear that his mom know that he was in control of her every move. I wish her luck over then next few years. Eventually I was able to sleep for several hours off and on. We arrive around 4:15am Denver time (11:15am London time) and I took the undergound from Heathrow to downtown London exiting at the High Street Kensington terminal. The airport provides great luggage carts for bags and I was able to use it to within 35 feet of the subway. Clearly I looked confused with the automated ticket purchase machine. A wonderful gentleman came over and helped me decide what type of ticket I needed to purchase. He also helped me properly feed the machine with pound sterling in the appropriate denomiations. He seemed to be able to spot it within my comingled American coinage much faster than I could.
Once on board, the ride brought back memories of my mom and I riding it together a few years ago when I brought her over here to experience the wonders of this great Monarchy. The temperature was low (16C) and humidity was high - VERY high. Even with that I clearly was were I wanted to be.
I returned to the Vicarage Hotel where I have stayed several times before. I carried my bags to the second floor. (For those who have not been out of the US, that really means the third floor. They don't count the ground floor as one.) I have a small room that becons me even as I sit at this cyber cafe.
I have taken my blood sugar once on the plane and once at the hotel. It will be a challenge to adjust to the seven hour differential and to keep my eating on a regular schedule. I must keep on top of this in order to avoid any hypoglycemic experience. They are NOT fun.
I have begun to organize my plans and will be over at the Wesley Chapel tomorrow to get things into motion. I will enjoy some dinner shortly at one of the many places here near Kensington Palace and probably go back rather than to the theater as I had earlier planed for tonight.
Thanks for all your individual encouragement about this trip. I talked to Jill just before coming over to the cyber cafe and I will miss her a lot!
Love to you all.
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