Archive for June, 2013

Exploring Windsor
June 20, 2013

Here is my last post about our time in England in May 2013.

We took the train from London to the town of Windsor. We always keep our eyes open for pretty flowers.

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At a phone booth we caught a glimpse of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

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I would have expected to find this fellow in Wyoming or Montana, but here he was outside a store in a shopping center in Windsor!

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And here I am,standing at attention with two friends.

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Queen Victoria stands at an intersection outside Windsor Castle.

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View towards the center of the castle, which was originally made of wood, built by William the conqueror in 1070 to guard the western approaches to London. The castle is the primary residence of the Queen and her family, who stay here many weekends.

King George V’s affection for the castle was shown when he chose Windsor for his family surname in 1917.

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Here we are looking up the bank of the moat (it was always a dry moat, not water-filled) to the Round Tower, the most secure stronghold of the whole castle – the keep, properly speaking.

Windsor has three sections, all surrounded by stone walls and towers. It is like a small town, with over a hundred people living and working here.

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Iconic scene of guards changing duty.

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Looking across the yard to the Queen’s personal apartments for the Queen and her family. Tourists are not admitted here.

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In the Lower Ward is St.George’s Chapel. A plaque states: “St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle College of St. George, was founded here in 1348 and has sought to fulfill its vocation of offering prayer to Almighty God ever since.”  Ten monarchs are buried here.

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Sorry, no photos are allowed inside the chapel. But we came back for a 5:00 PM vespers service of prayers and Scriptures, a service that is open to the public.

Before vespers we had tea and sandwiches at the Harte and Garter restaurant. On the wall was an art piece of the Long Walk, the private entrance to the section of the castle that consists of the Queen’s personal apartments.

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Back to St. George’s Chapel, the mix of religion and patriotism and half-unsheathed swords gave me time to reflect on Jesus our Lord who told the disciples to put up the sword, and on the sad union (sad to me) of piety and church-sanctioned war that is England and is also common in many other nations, our own USA included.

I pray that Christians everywhere will have the courage to say no to the world’s way of violence and say yes to Jesus and his radical way of peace.

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Salisbury Cathedral
June 19, 2013

Another adventure in England

In May 2013 we went with our friends Paul and Claire by car to the town of Salisbury to see the famous cathedral there. The weather was mostly cloudy and cold, but remember, this is England!

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The cathedral was built in the 13th century and is a fine example of the early English style of Gothic architecture. The spire, at 404 feet, is the tallest in England.

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Above, you see a model of the cathedral in construction.

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In the nave is an unusual modern fountain, perfectly balanced so that a small stream of water runs off a lip at each of the four corners into grates in the floor.

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When you llok at the proper angle, you see the reflection of the stained glass windows. I stood entranced at the beauty of the scene and the skill of the designer.

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Above, scenes of the cloisters, the largest in England.

The cathedral has the finest of only four surviving originals of the Magna Carta, from 1215. It is written in Latin on vellum and contains some 3,500 words. The black letters are still bold and clear because iron of some sort was added to the ink. No photos allowed.

The cathedral also has, indoors, the world’s oldest mechanical clock.

It was a privilege to pray in this place where prayer has been offered and Christ has been worshiped for so many centuries.

Americans in London – Part 2
June 16, 2013

Here are a few more scenes of London when we were there last month, May 2013.

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Almost everywhere we saw the majestic sweet chestnut trees, not to be confused with the American chestnut (almost extinct) and the horse chestnut. They were in full bloom.

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We stopped by Kensington Palace. The front view is obscured by renovations.

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You will note that this was a sunny day, of which we had very few during our stay!

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The east end Of the Palace is not undergoing renovations.

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Not far from the Palace is this statue of Queen Victoria, designed by one of her daughters.

One end of the Palace is open for tourists and currently features a display called “Victoria Revealed,” a presentation of Victoria as a wife and mother, with numerous personal and family items, along with quotes from her journal.

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One of her gowns.

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Her husband. Prince Albert, was one of the principal promoters of having the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, also called the Crystal Palace Exhibition. This was an international exhibition, held in Hyde Park in 1851.

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We had lunch in the cafe of Kensington Palace. I had a dish that was new to me – beet soup. Quite good, although a bit earthy in taste. And what else would you expect from beet soup?

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Behind the Palace is The Orangery. Once a greenhouse for exotic plants for the royal family, it is now open to the public as a restaurant. We went there one day for breakfast.

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And enjoyed the flowers as well as the meal.

So many beautiful things to enjoy all over London.

 

More Ministry Experiences in England
June 15, 2013

June 15, 2013

At last I am back to reporting on some of the additional ministry experiences we had in England last month.

One evening we met with Pathway, the church planting group in Walthamstow in northeast London. This group consists of our five workers from North America, five or six from the Forest Gate Brethren in Christ Church (located in a nearby borough), and several other Londoners who are committed to this church planting venture. Paul Kiss led the study this evening. We met at The Meeting Point…

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…in this spacious room.

On another day we went with Paul and Jay to Cambridge. En route we saw many fields of rape (canola) in brilliant bloom.

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In Cambridge, at a modern hotel, we met with a Christian barrister, or attorney, who represents cases of Christians who have been discriminated against because of their faith. United Kingdom has a long history of promoting the Christina faith, but in recent recent years because of multiculturalism and political correctness Christians in many situations are being restricted in giving expression to their faith. The barrister welcomes Jay and Paul to send him information of any cases they know of, where Christians are facing such .

Then the barrister friend took us on a brief walking tour of part of the city and a few of  the colleges of Cambridge University.

 

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Punting is the British term for using a pole to maneuver a boat.

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This is called the mathematical bridge and was first built without bolts or nuts.

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The River Cam (hence the name Cambridge) flows behind the university.

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Street and college scene.

 

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Above is the courtyard of one of the colleges – Clare, I think.

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This is the famous and much-photographed King’s College Chapel, seen from the rear, across the River Cam.

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The same Chapel seen from the front, that is, from a street in the town. And below are two more views of the Chapel.

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For much of the afternoon the weather was cold and rainy, so we were glad to step into Michaelhouse Coffee Shop, which is part of St. Michael’s Chapel, the oldest college chapel in Cambridge. The coffee shop opens into the small chapel, shown below, which is still in use.

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Late in the afternoon we went to the historic Round House Church, modeled after the much larger Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

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This church is now occupied by Christian Heritage, a group that highlights the influence of Christianity on the story of Cambridge and on Western culture generally, and that challenges people to consider the impact of secularism.

Today Christian Heritage had Jay Smith speak on what is known historically about the rise of Islam. A few Muslims attended the lecture, and they and others asked perceptive questions in the response time.

Here is one of the stained glass windows in the Round Church.

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It is only about 50 years old. It is titled “Jesus Crucified and Crowned.” It presents the theme of Christian hope, centering on the living Christ who reigns as “the Lamb who was slain” (Revelation 5:6). The Cross is now the Tree of Life “for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2).

In the town of Cambridge the witness for Jesus Christ goes on in many ways.

Small Town Kansas
June 3, 2013

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Today JoLene’s cousin Vi took us on a drive through the KS countryside…

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…to have lunch in the town of Marion.

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Typical of so many small towns here, Marion is also the county seat for the county of the same name.

We had lunch at a cafe.

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Then I noticed that Marion has an art “theme.” Just as my home town of Harrisburg, PA,  has life-size decorated cows all over the city, this town has the theme of rhinoceros – go figure! Each place of business has a small decorated rhino out front, as this Oriental  beauty.

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Today is the annual Arts and Music Stroll, so there were swveral vendors on Main Street.

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Here is Ronald Beeton, a photographer, with some of his work. You can check out his photos in detail at beetonphotography.com.

Of keen interest to me was the fact that a Mr. Schmidt of Lehigh was giving rides in a covered wagon pulled by two mules.

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Of course, I had to have a ride, and to my surprise, JoLene and Vi got on board, too.

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Meet Tom and Jerry.

Then I went around the corner to get a photo of the Court House…

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…important in my memory because JoLene and I went here to get our marriage license in December 1965.

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A rain shower at sunset in KS. Good night.

 

A Funeral Service in Kansas
June 2, 2013

June 2013

The funeral for Rev. Charles Norman was held on Saturday, June 1, in Abilene, KS. Three other ministers assisted me in various parts of the service: Mark Stanger from somewhere near Abilene; Charles Duncan from Alabama; and Stan Norman, Charles and Elaine’s son, also from Abilene. David Rohrer was the soloist.

The service was a glorious celebration of the grace of God, Jesus Christ as the cornerstone chosen by God (1 Peter 2:4-6), and God’s long-range plan for the resurrection of the body and the creation of a new heaven and earth.

Here are Elaine and Stan Norman.

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Stan is the founding pastor and current pastor of New Trail Fellowship Brethren in Christ Church at Abilene. At the present the church meets in a barn at Stan’s home.

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But the church has bought land northeast of Abilene and has plans to build a large facility that will combine an auditorium for worship, meeting rooms, an arena and stables.

When you visit Stan and Beth’s home, you will see this sign on the wall of their living room.

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Burial for Charles Norman was at the cemetery of the now-closed Rosebank Brethren in Christ Church, located south of the town of Hope. Here is the church.

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Thaine Plank has bought the church, has kept it in good repair and has set up a small museum in it. Thaine’s father, Rev Cecil Plank, was pastor at Rosebank in earlier years.

Rosebank was JoLene’s home church while she was a child and teen. Charles Norman was pastor at Rosebank for 14 years, from 1964 to 1978.