Monday, 17 September 2012

Ooopss! It's a math thing

Okay, so I guess you could say I was getting ahead of myself.  If you read my last post, you will notice I wrote that it was 30 years ago that I came to England for the first time.

Well, I was thinking:  "Saturday, 17th September 1983...2013...thirty years."  I had a brain burp at that moment--because I forgot this is Twenty-TWELVE---not Twenty-THIRTEEN. 

So, I correct myself and say, I'm an artist and math isn't my strongest subject. 

There you go...all corrected.  And for those of you who caught this error, well done. 

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
"Lady Helene"

Twenty-nine years ago today.

Misty Morning view from the balcony

As usual, my alarm went off at 7:00 am today.  As I walked to the kitchen, I caught the view out The Maverick's office window.  A mist was rising from the damp grass in the park across the street.  I hurried to get my camera, as I knew the haze would life quickly--even be gone in five minutes.
       When I first got up this morning, the date didn't immediately register with me.  As I sat reading e-mails and catching up on reding the blogs I follow, I suddenly realised that it was 30 (year thirty) years ago today I took my first plane ride.
     The date, 17th September 1983, will always remain with me.  It was my first flight.  It was my first time to leave, the USA.  It was my first trip to England.  It was the day I fulfilled one dream--travelling to England--and creating another--to one day live in Great Britian.  So, while I have a lot of things to write on my blog--I knew I had to immediately post this one.
       So, happy anniversary to me!
Lovely People--chase your dreams.

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
"Lady Helene"

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Where I went yesterday

The Alter in Romsey Abbey
       The sun blessed our day.  I joined a group (0f 36) ladies from the Mothers' Union on a day trip to Romsey Abbey.  The coach trip allowed me to become better acquainted with Mrs. C.B., with whom I attend church. 

       Romsey Abbey is located in Southern England, in Hampshire county.  It is an ancient abbey, dating back to 907 AD, when King Edward the Elder established it as a home for nuns. 

       After a guided tour, the Vicar of the Abbey, Rev. Tim Sledge, led us in a short service.  Since 3rd September commemorates the The Feast of St. Gregory, he included a short message about St. Gregory.  Since Rev. Tim patterned the service on a Midday Prayer Service, he included The Mother's Union Prayer, as an acknowledgement of our group. 

Mother's Union Banner
I'm including the prayer here:
Loving Lord,
We thank you for your love so freely given to us all.
We pray for families around the world.
Bless the work of the Mother's Union as we seek to share your love,
through the encouragement, strengthening and support of marriage and family life.
Empowered by Your Spirit, may we be united in prayer and worship, and in love and service reach out as your hands across the world.
In Jesus Name, Amen.

Several banners hung around the church, and being interested in art, illustration and sewing, I took some photographs.  

View of the vaulted ceiling.
Restoration work is always necessary on ancient building, and some of the work was evident.  Yet, the metal support bars and other props did nothing to detract from the beauty of the building. 
       The building was originally property of the crown.  And King Henry the VIII, in his resentment of the Catholic Church, suppressed the Catholic Church in England, including the Abbey--meaning he closed it and turned out the nuns.  However, in 1544, four local representitives of the town went to London to ask for the building/property to use as the local parish church.  King Henry said "No."  So the town's men asked to buy it.  King Henry said, "Yes--for £100."  Keep in mind, this was 1544, and the towns people could live on a pound for a year.  Amazingly, the town was able to buy the abbey and it became the site of the parish church.

       Currently the Abbey serves as the largest parish church in Hampshire and several surrounding communities.  

       After the prayer service, Mrs. B and I strolled down the town--a five minute walk--to find a lovely cafe, where we had lunch.  The tiny courtyard drew us outside, where several other ladies from the Mothers' Union were also having lunch.  The conversation flowed easily, the lunch satisfying and healthy.  

Bone Floor
       Following lunch we found our way to King John's House.  The property is actually three properties.  The Tudor house; this tiny museum was home for a thirteenth century merchant.  One of it's fascinating features is the "bone floor." 

Upstairs there is 14th Century graffiti--carved into the soft, white-washed walls.  Just goes to show the universal and eternal "mischievousness" of human nature.  

       Also upstairs, above a "Kitchen" a  "boy" is sitting in the loft--as his sleeping area.  Next to that is the banquet room, complete with "serving maids."  The maniquins are dressed in richly coloured dresses. 

       The Victorian building front of the property has a tea room downstairs.  Upstairs holds two rooms of "reconstructions"--a family parlour depicting William Moody and his sister, Mable,  sorting through family documents; the "Old Gun Shop" which displays fishing poles, guns and a few inventions (commercially unsuccessful) of William Moody's. 

Mrs. B. and I finished our day with a stop in the Tea Room.  It's difficult to pass up a lovely pot of tea and piece of cake when the decor is rustic, historical, but light and airy.  Off the tea room is a patio area where the waitresses also serve tea room customers.  

       Away to play for a day I came back a tiny bit tired--but equally refreshed and encouaraged.  An acquaintenship deepened into a friendship.  Perfect weather gave an idealic quality to our time away.  I was inspired and humbled by the vaulted ceilings, chapels, banners and stained glass windows of the Abbey; inspired by a place that has for several hundred years been a place of prayer, meditation, worship and teaching.  

       Maybe someday I'll return to Romsey with The Maverick and have a further wonder around the villiage. 

Now, I'm trying to catch up with a sewing project and unfolded (but clean) laundry.  

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
"Lady Helene"

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Our Lamb Has Conquered, Let Us Follow Him.

                        Sunday morning, and for me it immediately brings to mind, Church.  People around the world now attend church on Sundays because of the work of the Moravians.  So, who are the Moravians? 
                        The Moravians have been on my mind recently after attending a presentation at St. Francis Church on Monday, 13th August.  (I know, I’m very behind with this blogging subject.)  Mrs. R, who works with the Moravians, provided a 30 minute power-point show and answered questions afterward.
                        In the early 1990’s I watched a film entitled, First Fruits; Zinzendorf and the Moravians.  It was my first introductions to the Moravians.  My second exposure to the Moravians was in 1996, while I was working with Youth With A Mission in Switzerland.  Having a basic knowledge, I went along to Mrs. R.’s presentation, because I wanted to learn more.   
                        The story of the Moravians starts with a man named Jan Hus.  Born 124 years before Martin Luther, Jan Hus was a contemporary of John Wycliffe.  Born in the Kingdom of Bohemia, (now part of Czech Republic), Hus moved to Prague to work and study.  He was a ardent scholar and was ordained as a priest in 1400. 
                        Hus was a firm supporter of the common people, believing the Bible should be available to the people in their own language; ideology which the (Catholic) church rejected.  Hus also preached against indulgences—stating that trying to buy one’s salvation was immoral and un-Biblical.  Hus also challenged the Church’s Ecclesiology--ecclesiology deals with the church's orgin, its relationship to Jesus, its role in salvation, its discipline, its destiny, and its leadership.   When Hus refused to recant his beliefs, the Council of Constance declared him a heretic and condemned him to death, burning at the stake; he was executed 6th July 1415
                        Hus’s death led to the people of Bohemia rejecting the teaching of the Catholic Church, which then led to war.  At any rate, after his death, the Hussites split into different sects; one of which was called the Bohemian Brethren or “Hidden Seed.” 
In 1722, this group of refugees arrived in Moravia, and their leaders requested to stay on the estate of a nobleman, Count Nikolaus Ludwig van Zinzendorf.  He graciously permitted them to settle and the Brethren built a village called Herrnhut.  The community grew, but struggled from theological divisions.  On 13th August 1727, the community experienced a visitation of the Holy Spirit, much like the Biblical report of Acts 2.  Out of this revival came remarkable growth and ministry:

"Moravian historians identify the main achievements of this period as:
  1. Setting up a watch of continuous prayer that ran uninterrupted, 24 hours a day, for 100 years.
  2. Originating the Daily Watchwords.
  3. Establishing more than 30 settlements internationally on the Herrnhut model, which emphasised prayer and worship, and a form of communal living in which simplicity of lifestyle and generosity with wealth were held to be important spiritual attributes. The purpose of these communities was to assist the members resident there in the sanctification of their lives, to provide a meeting place for Christians from different confessional backgrounds, to provide Christian training for their own children and the children of their friends and supporters and to provide support for the Moravian Mission work throughout the world. As a result, although personal property was held, divisions between social groups and extremes of wealth and poverty were largely eliminated.
  4. Being the first church body to begin missionary work; and
  5. Forming many hundreds of small renewal groups operating within the existing churches of Europe, known as "diaspora societies". These groups encouraged personal prayer and worship, Bible study, confession of sins and mutual accountability."

There are two other symbols that many of us see at Christmas that have their origins in the Moravian Church:  the Moravian Star and Christingle.  I might write more about these things at Christmas.  
The main Centre for Moravian’s worldwide church is still in Herrnhut.  The town is about 90 kilometres/55 miles east of Dresden.  The official page for Herrnhut, Germany is, of course, in German.  Google does have a translate button, which I did.  Although some of the translation is a bit confusing, overall, you can find a lot of information for tourists—including informational trips to the Moravian Worldwide headquarters, cemetery, and other sites of interest. 
What inspires me most about the Moravians is their commitment to missions.  The film mentioned above, First Fruits, Zinzendorf and the Moravians, tells the story, set in 1737 of two young men called to take the Gospel to the slaves of the West Indies.  They committed to live amongst the slaves—even becoming slaves themselves—in order to minister to the needs of the oppressed workers, and show them God’s grace.  These two men were the first missionaries to be sent out by the Moravians.  The legacy of missions remains with the Moravians today. 
The film is available for purchase/rental from this website:
I will probably write more about the Moravians as time goes by.  But this, I hope, is a good introduction. 
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
“Lady Helene”

Saturday, 1 September 2012

It's Here!

First of all, Happy September. 
Now, onto the news!  It’s here!  What’s here?  Our new washing machine.  Yippee!  Outwardly I haven’t seen overly excited.  But truly I am pleased.
                        Since it was ordered on 27th July, we’ve been waiting patiently for the delivery of our Bosch washer.  We were told it would be a week, two at the most, before it came from the store.  As it turned out, the model we wanted is VERY popular—so popular that the manufacturer is having trouble keeping up with all the orders.  The small company we ordered it from had to wait until the manufacturer had enough to fill their order.  We got a phone call on Tuesday, (28th August) telling us it would be delivered on Wednesday, 29th August.
                        Wednesday morning, having just sat down at the table with our scrambled eggs and watermelon, we saw the delivery truck pull up.  The clock on the lounge wall read 7:55 am.  John left his plate and went to meet the young man delivering it.  By 8:10 a.m. the new machine sat in our kitchen awaiting installation.  I had to miss that fun, as I had to go to work. 
                        It would be fair to say the normal expectation would be for me to grab the instruction booklet and have a load going as soon as I could.  But in all honesty, I was tired after work and was more occupied with a sewing project I’m doing.  Besides, I had all day Thursday to get acquainted. 
                        Thursday, I had taken my walk, had a shower and was eating my breakfast whilst watching an episode of Great British Bake Off on my laptop..  The phone rang. 
                        It was our friend, Philetech.  Philetech and his wife, Sandgroper, had acted as our “Chinese Laundry Service” during the past month.  They picked up our dirty clothing, washed, dried, organised it and then returned clean clothes to us.  We were so thankful.  (I baked them a chocolate pie.)
                        “How are you, Philtech?”
                        “I’m fine, thank you.  I’d like to ask a favour.”  He replied.
                        “Sure, if I can.” 
                        “I was wondering if Sandgroper could bring a load of laundry over.  Our washing machine just packed up.” 
                        With a grin on my face, I said, “Are you kidding me?”  The irony twisted my brain; it was almost unbelievable.
                        “Honestly it quit working.  This morning, as I was looking at it, it gave me a big jolt of electricity. “  ( I learned later he’d unplugged the wrong appliance.) 
                        I assured him it was a pleasure to help, and yes Sandgroper could come straight away.  So, I didn’t have the pleasure of initiating my new machine; that privilege fell, appropriately enough, to the folk who had so generously provided laundry care for us.  Their new machine, which was immediately in stock, was delivered today.
                        One of the features on this new machine is that it squeals when the load is finished.  Okay, so it’s really a loud beep!  And speaking of that beep, I just heard it telling me that MY first load is done.
Time to go stick move it to the dryer.
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
“Lady Helene”