London Journal – Sunday, May 3, 2009

Today we went with Carmen to her church, Holy Trinity-Swiss Cottage. Casual dress; contemporary worship style; message on the complicated question of why there is evil and suffering in the world; and holy communion. This is an evangelical Anglican Church.

Part of the minsitry of this church is to offer the Alpha Course, a series of teachings, with discussion time, on the common questions that people raise about life and the Christian way.

Then, our usual schedule for a Sunday.


We picked up a sandwich at a shop and went to All Souls Church for a workshop and prayer. Jay is back from Australia and gave a report on the tone of the churches and college campuses there.

Then off to Speakers’ Corner to have conversations about the Christian faith with any interested persons.

Because of what I saw at the very edge of Hyde Park, I will digress to talk about city sidewalks in London (maybe in England in general, for all I know.) Most sidewalks are not solid cement. Instead they are small or large pavers, laid on a bed of sand, and packed tightly together, so that when work is needed under the street, a few sections can be taken up and replaced without destroying the sidewalk. Here is a new section of such pavers being laid in Hyde Park.

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Leaving this digression, I return to the activity at Speakers’ Corner. As usual, people were giving all kinds of messages, some spoken, some written.

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The strangest character I saw was this one.

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Perhaps you are noticing that his headpiece is an elephant’s head and that he has a rubber lobster hanging in front of his robe. He spoofed taxes and government and religion. A few of his comments were totally bizarre, but most of the time he seemed to be more of a comedian than a proponent of any credible ideas.

From our group one fellow (the usual one) got up on a ladder to present the Christian faith, with another Christian as his dialogue partner – also on a ladder. Before long a Muslim man joined them for a debate, on a third ladder! This attracted a crowd of 30 or 40 people, who shouted questions and cheered or jeered, depending on what was being said.

The others in our group (15 or more of us) talked with a few Christians, a few atheists and several Muslims.

We pray that the good news about Jesus will fall on good soil, to use the language Jesus himself used in one of his stories about the kingdom of God.

Tomorrow we fly to southern Spain for a retreat for our workers from four nations, so I will probably not post a blog again until Tuesday.

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