Monday, June 28, 2010

so it looks like I just stopped writing after Monday

The rest of the week was pretty typical- sessions in the morning and evening.

We also got the afternoons of Tuesday and Wednesday free, which were really great in finding some energy to finish! Haha- such an intense program!

Tuesday night we went over to the dean's again- to have BBQ in his garden. Or orchard. Or veggie garden. get my drift. This space was huge!

The next night, after dinner, we went for after dinner drinks to Ed's house. (A canon at the cathedral, he's been running our program.) Also, another beautiful space...HUGE English Garden and the flowers were all blooming.

We exchanged our gifts of what we brought. I got 2 big fans and hats (straw) from Nigeria. Pretty cool stuff. However, too big to fit in my suitcase. So, the program is shipping it back. They are just wonderful there at Canterbury.

Thursday we had a normal day then a dinner with the dean and vice dean of the cathedral- we all got certificates :)

And then Friday, it was done! :( I couldn't believe it! Trained into London with a friend. Made it to the airport safely. Then, said goodbye to my friend. And wonderfully ran into another friend after he left! So we got some food and then she said goodbye to me! (She also made it home safely.)

After a loooooong day, Alan got me and I finally got to crash and go to bed.

What a wonderful trip! (Will post pics when I find my camera :) )

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

So much has happened! Monday Part 2.

After going to bed, we started off Monday morning with a 730 am breakfast and boarded the coach bus for London at 810.

Our first stop:

The Anglican Communion Offices. Staffed by 20 people, this office handles public relations, networking, Indaba (an African Tribal term, used for coming together. This was the theme of the last Lambeth Conference), among other things.

I learned that the Anglican Communion has 4 instruments of structure:
(In no particular order)

Lambeth Conference, begun in 1867, bishops from everywhere have been meeting since then every 10 years.
Anglican Consultative Council, begun in 1968, lay and clergy from all over the communion meet every 3 years.
Primates Meeting, begun in 1978, what TEC calls Presiding Bishops, meet every 2 years

What the big issue now is what is called the Anglican Covenant. Proposed in December 2009, this document speaks to common heritage and faith, the 5 marks of mission, instruments of communion, and a process set up to discuss and have dialogue about division.

What is going on now with TEC- Recently, the TEC members on ecumenical councils were asked to step down. This was because we went against a moratorium on ordaining bishops who were partnered. There is a lot of anger from folks in the US, thinking that the archbishop kicked them out, we're not wanted, we're being excluded, etc. (More on this later).

But, that being said, it was neat to see.


ON TO LAMBETH PALACE!!! Ok, I always envisioned Lambeth as being on grassy hills and pastures. Turns out, it's almost right across the river from Big Ben and Parliament! Right there! I had no clue!

But, we went in, got a little tour. Went to the chapel there with seats for all the primates- took a pic of TEC's seal.

THEN. The Big Moment!!

The Archbishop came in to speak to us! We had an hour and a half with him- to ask him anything we wanted. When he walked in, he pointed at a chair and asked if it was for him? I said, sure (like a dork) and we laughed together and said, I just follow where they tell me. Very good sense of humor.

There were some hot item questions- one considering TEC.

When he answered that, he looked at the seminarian and said, you're right, this is extremely hard. And then went on to say more conversation needs to be happening outside of the instruments of communion. Every answer he pointed to scripture and the reason why we do things. He kept talking about relations and keeping in the communion. And that when people feel we are so broken they need to leave, it's disheartening and we're not doing something right.

He was sincere. Honest. And clearly looked affected by what is happening lately. He said he has sleepless nights. Anxieties. And he also said (this has been a recent criticism) he is not the Pope and the covenant does not mean that we want a centralized authority. (It seems people do not want a pope, but they do want someone to blame for their problems, aka rowan).

He talked about his need for silence in God. For his need to do the daily office- morning and evening prayer.

When I spoke with Kathy later, she said, people won't believe you. They won't find you credible that instead of all the divisions you talked about his spiritual practices and he gave advice for ordinands. Yep, that's true. I put a fun status up, and person whom I'm not even close with put something on my wall that was mean spirited.

Yes, I understand people are hurt. But talking with Kathy about the kicking off TEC members, she said it was no surprise. He has been honest and open and we broke a moratorium.

The media is just as biased and opinionated in church matters. And Rowan acknowledged that, saying, I know my name is mud, but we need to keep coming to the table. They are strangers, but we have a common thread, find it. Find out about the other person- for they have gifts from God for you and likewise. And he said he believed when he got to heaven, God will say, where is your brother or sister? How have you related to them?

Wise words for such troubled times.

So much has happened! Sunday Part 1.

It's amazing what can happen in 2 days on a trip like this.

Sunday was pretty low key.

In addition to the two church services (eucharist and evensong), we had a discussion with one of the canons here at the cathedral.

The Rev. Sheila Watson has been an archdeacon in two cathedrals. She began the process in the late seventies. And even though the Episcopal Church canonical allowed women to be ordained to the priesthood (and episcopacy) in 1977, the Anglican Church in England didn't vote in this change until the early 90's. Long time to wait!

And, although they do have women on staff at the cathedral (2), it appears the men always lead morning prayer (either the dean or vice dean). The morning eucharist appears to be scheduled by a rota. (Sheila celebrated this Tuesday morning). It was interesting to hear of her journey.

She also talked about transformation. And that in a rally for women priests (she was walking by) a staunch no-women-as-priests person walked by her and said, 'hope you win!'. Incredible.

However, she also talked about transformation. That transformation needs transition and we too often talk about the one without the other. This invaluable point is something to further reflect on.

We then went off to St. Martin's Church- the oldest church in England. We thought there would be a Eucharist, but it was the monthly Taize service. However, after an hour of discussing the 'women's issue' it was lovely to get some silence! :) And, it was the best service I've been to outside of Taize. Well done!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Friday. Saturday.

Happy Fathers Day!!!

I can't believe we've been here for over a week now!!

Friday's morning schedule was pretty normal- Bible Study and then groups.

However, we did switch groups. We talked about our testimonies and how we see (or don't see) the providence of God.

Then the next group- we preached our sermons. Lots of fun to hear different preaching styles from around the world (Nigeria, Mexico, America, and Australia).

Then after lunch, they had a library and archives tour.

Lots of fun, old things to see. We saw in particular a parish registry from the 1774. The priest was writing how an old toothless guy was marrying someone :) haha

Then there was the Winchester Accord in which the Archbishop of York and Canterbury and William the Conqueror decided who had power where. Yes, all three of their signatures were there!

Then there was a letter from one of the knights that killed Thomas Beckett pledging money to a monastery in honor of Beckett.

There was a William and Mary gold tooth bound Bible. An Algonquin language Bible for the Iroquois. And there was an illustrated hours book.

Then I did some shopping to help the cathedral economy. Pretty typical souvenir stuff over here, but I did get Alan and I some candlesticks that looked like pillars in the cathedral hahaha. Also I got some cross necklaces for my beautiful goddaughters!

Then we had a session on the Bible in Anglican Liturgy. It was fairly basic though, but had good reminders.

After evensong and dinner, there were people going out for one drink. I thought about it. Then one of my profs (NT) who is doing the program here came around asking if we wanted to watch an Agatha Christie movie. So, there I was, with 3 other students, watching The Body in the Library in England, with my NT prof. LOVE IT. And the movie was great too! It was a perfect option for such an exhausting week.


Even though I feel like I'm getting more sleep here, I'm waking up more and more tired. I believe this is a testimony to how much we're doing here.

The days just keep getting better and better- the trust, the laughter, the conversations, the experiences.

We left Canterbury, walking, to St. Augustine's Abbey.

This, plus Canterbury (Christ Church) Cathedral were the two monasteries in town back in the day. For The Abbey, St. Augustine brought 40 monks and they set up home. They worshiped 8 times a day. After the dissolution by Henry VIII, it was made into a palace. St. Augustine's body was first buried here. However, during the reformation, like Beckett's body, the were moved, or destroyed, or burned, etc. No one knows.

Then, we got in a bus and rode to Richborough Fort.

Once overlooking the sea (the land has taken over...) this was most likely the fort that Augustine arrived at with his monks. (The cooling towers are for coal power, not nuclear.)

Then, we ate lunch in the bus (it was raining) and set off on our hike (it had stopped raining). There were probably 15 out of the 35 that didn't go for various reasons. However, the 11km hike to Canterbury cathedral was incredible. It was wooded, then little villages appeared, then over cow pastures (literally) and over gates and everything! It took probably 3 hours, but it was incredible!!!

Then we got back, had an hour to chill, went to Evensong. Then off again- this time to Bishopsbourne. (25 people went.)

Bishopsbourne was Richard Hooker's parish for 5 years before he died. His body is buried somewhere under it. Pretty darn cool. The medieval items: a few stained glass windows, a statue of Beckett, and Beckett's pulpit- which he bought for the church from his will for 3 pounds. :)

Then back home, late dinner (the staff graciously stayed over for the group that went) and then one drink out and back.

Got to sleep in this morning and catch up on things :) New pics uploaded from the days.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Not much to report tonight!

Wednesday went well! I feel like I can't even remember it now! Hahaha. Last night we headed out to a pub called Thomas Beckett- there were about 15 of us- good time.

Today was typical. Church. 2 sessions in the morning. Lunch.

In free time, 3 of us went to the Canterbury Tales museum. I got some pics, but you couldn't use flash, so they're mostly dark; but you get the idea. You've moved through room to room and listened to an audio device. Lots of fun- kinda cheesy and tacky, but lots of fun.

Then we went to this hospital. But it wasn't a medical building. No, it was a building for hospital. It was used in the 15th century for poor pilgrims. They could stay one night and get a breakfast for free!

Then session, evensong, and dinner. Fwww. The sessions are going well. The theme is creation. What is our doctrine of creation? What do other countries say about creation issues?- land, rights, women, environment, etc. It affects everything.

So yesterday, we created posters: What's the good news. What would the good news be if you looked out your window?

Then, draw a pic of either the problems or solution in considering how to respect the integrity of all creation.

And finally- write a confession or hymn of praise. Most people wrote confessions for the wrongs we commit to one another and creation.

And then today, we presented them.

We are also doing indepth Bible Studies- reading in particularly the creation stories, and the prophets. They are always especially good at pointing out the worlds problems.

Then for the afternoon session, we talked about priesthood and prayer (yesterday we did servant leadership). BUT today's session was in this secret chapel!!! We went into this staircase in a wall! So awesome. 2nd floor. Who knew?!

Then Din. And FINALLY a night to sit! hahaha. Last night was our first night off. But we all went out. So tonight, I'm laying low.

We have to write a homilette on Psalm 146: 5-7 (5Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in theLord their God,

6who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever;

7who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free;)

So, I'm composing now. 300 words. I have a few sentences in and I'm at 45 already...sooooo hahaha

Talking with mom in south korea! (dad's asleep)

Praise God for safe travels!

Will post pics tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


New Pics!

What day is it anymore? Haha, the days are so full that I feel like I just go along- day by day- and the days are quickly running into one another.

We had our usual sessions in the morning. The daily schedule is:

Matins (if you choose) and Communion (if you choose) (I'm a daily morning prayer kind of girl, so I go to matins (730) and leave. A number of people then head to Communion (8) after Matins. No thanks hahaha).

Breakfast 830.

Program piece- Bible Study most often. We have been doing large group then splitting into smaller ones, but yesterday we simply did one big Bible Study on the 2nd creation story. (We did the 1st on Monday).

Then Break with Tea/Coffee.

Then a session with teaching. Yesterday Kathy Grieb did a 'map' on a piece of paper connecting how the doctrine of creation was intricately connected to all of the different doctrines in Systematic Theology. And to think she sat down last night and plotted it out hahaha. Impressive.

Lunch falls at 1.

Then a number of things have been happening in the afternoon: teachings, free time, tours, etc. Yesterday was the Indoor Guided Tour of the Cathedral. Our tour guide's name was Alan and in his previous life he was a civil engineer :) I thought that was fitting! But, the tour was 2 hours long and we went everywhere- in and out of the cathedral and heard lots of fascinating information.

Then we had another session.

Then Evensong always at 530.

Then dinner usually at 630.

Last night we watched the movie The Road. An American film, this apocalyptic movie was bleak and did not end with an overly happy end, as American films tend to do. But it was really interesting to watch. It was optional and a number of people did go out into town, but I'm glad I stayed and watched it.

Then talked to Alan briefly and went to bed. And now, it is Wednesday! Having just finished Matins, I was thinking how crazy it is that in 48 hours I will have been here for a full week already!
Today we have a Bible Study and session in the morning. Then following lunch, we will have free time from 130ish (when we finish lunch) to 330/4. Maybe I'll simply walk around town, maybe I'll head to the Canterbury Tales Museum. The good thing is that we also have an afternoon of free time tomorrow- so plenty of time to see things.

At 4 we'll have a session (4-5) and then Evensong 530 and dinner 7. Then a free night!

Whew, it's been so packed lately this looks like it'll be a day to breathe a bit!

Candlelit Cathedral Tour

Ok, so, they tricked us with the candle thing haha. I saw at the end the young woman who was our verger did have candles, but Ed might have forgotten.

Basically- we went into the cathedral at 8 pm and we had the cathedral ALL to ourselves! It was an amazing time to look at the building and hear the history without being pushed around by all the people that come and visit it.

We went all over, and finished standing on the shrine of St Thomas Beckett. He died near the nave, but they buried his body almost immediately in the crypt so people would not steal it. Then, years later, they moved his shrine up to the main level as it has quickly become a pilgrimage site. There is an always-burning-candle sitting atop the space. And if you kneel down, you can feel the groove where millions of pilgrims came and prayer.

We then stood in a circle around that candle and people prayed in their own language. It was extremely moving and powerful- that's what the Anglican Communion is about :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Another Busy Day

And it's not even over yet!

This day was pretty busy after a laid back weekend.

We started off with matins in the cathedral. Then did a Bible study with Kathy Grieb (my New Testament Prof) and split off into our groups.

Our group has been a little rough. We've got a couple people who are very quiet and it's hard to get the conversation going.

After lunch, Norman (a fellow VTS'er) and I went to take pics of the cathedral. It's simply massive.

THEN! We climbed the tower! It was great!

After that, we had another session where we talked about what the gospel means to us- if we looked out our window, what would we say to the people around us? The group worked a bit better...I think we're switching up groups tomorrow though to meet new people.

After that, we headed to evensong and soon, dinner!

BUT after that! At 8 pm- we'll be entering the Cathedral for a candlelit tour- this is going to be great!!

Canterbury Belongs to Everyone

Dinner at the deanery was amazing!

First off, the house is enormous! We entered in and went upstairs to a sitting room filled with pictures, a fireplace, and a few pianos!

Having cocktail hour, the dean of the cathedral circled around the room. He spoke with us a bit about his tenure there (9 years so far) and how he is given the keys to this house when he becomes dean. He also said Rowan comes and visits often, in the last month he's come 2 times. And that when Rowan is there, he is 'on break'. And likewise with Lambeth Palace. It is owned by the diocese of Canterbury, not London.

The dean was telling the history of the place and told this story:

In the bombing of WWII, 2 houses were completely destroyed. People were throwing fiery bricks off the tops of buildings to save them. The facade of the deanery was blown off. And there was a woman- who thought all was destroyed and this life was over. And then, the bombing stopped. And she heard the clock strike. And the bell rang. And then it was time for Matins- and the rhythm of life here continued on. Ok, looking at this, it sounded way cooler when he told it. I teared up like a big dork- pretty typical, I get that from dad :)

I sat next a person at dinner who is living in Mexico and serving a parish there. It was wonderful to hear about what he was doing. Maybe a trip to Monterey, Mexico?

Overall, a wonderful evening at the deanery. I really love it here.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Alright! We're up and running now! Haha.

Got up at 930- it was wonderful sleeping in!

Went to church at 11. A person didn't show up to take up the gifts, so I got to!!!

I carried the host up at the offertory! It was INCREDIBLE! Here I was- at Canterbury Cathedral! Following a Cross and lights...I mean, wow!

After that, we did a coffee hour type reception. A few of us met the choir director, which was fabulous. Then it was a kid's birthday, and he wanted to do a birthday lunch...

So I went, after all, I'm usually not in the right place at the right type to be invited to these things. But I felt awful about it. First off, he was like, ordering wine and all this other stuff and I just, don't do group things well because I don't want to split it! But, he actually paid for everything which was amazingly gracious (there were 7 of us!) But doing that we did miss lunch at Canterbury, and I just felt weird doing a separate thing when lunch is already provided. Eh, no need in over-analyzing now, just feeling guilty about it...BUT haha, it was good- I got a 4 oz steak and fries (it was on the light menu side, 8 pounds) but they killed my steak. Ordered it medium, no pink at ALL. Sad, but still good. Fwww, a lot of 'but's in that paragraph hahaha

We went straight to Evensong which was nice.

Now, I'm here! One hour break! Which is very very nice. Another thing with that lunch is it took 2 no break between church, lunch, and church hahaha

In 20 min we are going to another group thing. This time it's a Bible Study. Our Bible Study Groups are different than our other groups, so we shall see who is in this one. The schedule says we're doing a Psalm 139.

I have also been not keeping track of things! Not entirely uncommon BUT (haha) I left my key in my room for the run (they made me a new one) and I lost my schedule (just got back from getting one) . They are very kind and gracious here to say the least.

That says 5 on the schedule. There isn't an end time posted. Drinks and Dinner tonight is at 7 in the Deanery. That'll be awesome. The deanery has been here forever. In WW 2 the front was blown off so that dean lived there for years without a front on his home!

I hope the Groups thing is only an hour and then we have an hour off before dinner. That would be lovely. We will see!

The internet wasn't working all day- and they had called out for someone to come in and fix it! So glad!

A busy weekend- Saturday.

I have been extremely lazy this trip! I haven't taken many pics yet!

Here is the site:

As I sit and write, I sit in my window seat overlooking the cathedral. Striking.

Yesterday was busy- morning prayer and then off to our first group session.

We learned a bit about the history of Canterbury. I hoped it was more specific- but it was overall general. But good to be reminded of church history a bit.

We had lunch and then a bit of a break. I went on a run with a new friend around town. It was nice to get lost (not too lost, the town is quite small) and see some new parts of Canterbury.

After that we had a tea break and then had our first small groups.

These small groups were assigned- to mix us up- and the people in my group are from Madagascar, Ethiopia, Nigeria, India, England, and another American. (There are 10 Americans out of 35 participants.)

We just spoke a little about our lives, calls, and where we come from and where we're going.

Evensong was next. The worship here is non-participatory- except standing, kneeling, and singing the last hymn. The men and boys choir is simply incredible, and it's nice to listen and sit back for once...however, I do not think I could do this all the time- I need a bit more congregational participation personally.

But this is a time for rest and rejuvenation- in worship and meeting new people. The director said that this is not a prison camp where they're marching us from place to place. And so far it has been busy, but not overly-stimulating. We only have our schedule up to tomorrow, so we shall see what the rest of the week holds.

After Evensong we had dinner- pork chops, veggies, and this amazing dessert- the desserts of all desserts....cobbler- apples, cherries, melted vanilla

Then off to a pub for world cup! The streets were EMPTY and the pubs were PACKED. We were in a place with a big screen and then a TV. But space cleared eventually and we had a great view.

As mentioned on facebook---

We found an American living in Canterbury and we hung out with her. She was a blast- and def needed to vent some, as their seemed to be some bitterness towards the Brits haha.

But--- as we scored--- I just couldn't control myself and went nuts. And so the 6 Americans started cheering. I started the USA chant, we got sworn at, and then I raised my glass high in the air and toasted our goal hahahaha. It was awesome.

We did have some friendly banter though, so it was good. There was a guy with a drum there, and he was fairly obnoxious, but I would've been the same in America...

We got back and then my friend and I went out again! I just wanted to not be lame and go to bed at 10 like I normally do hahaha We hit up two places- one a small dance club and the second a place with live salsa music. The band was great and it the dancing was a blast!

Back at 130, went to sleep at 2...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 1

Or this could be entitled day 2, as day one (overnight) was spent traveling. I am first and foremost so thankful for getting here safely and easily.

Thursday: Alan and I got dinner at an Alexandria Irish Pub and then he dropped me off at Reagan about 5:15.

There were no lines at the ticket counter, so I walked right up and checked my bag.

There were also no lines at security :) Overall a very easy check-in process.

I flew to Ottawa Canada: went through customs, waited for my bag, grabbed it, rechecked it, went through security, and made it to my fly with 10 minutes before boarding!

But, I was in seat 19 and they loaded rows 40 and above, then 30, then 20 and finally the rest! I was 2 rows back from 1st class sleepers! So close!

I didn't get much sleep because the guy in the next seat over thought my seat was his too, leading to him hitting me with his elbow or leg just as I fell asleep :(

But I survived! Got into London Heathrow at 1030- was out of customs and baggage by 11. Met a friend at the airport, took the tube for an hour, then hopped on a train (1.5 hours) and we were in Canterbury!

I haven't taken any pics yet, really just wanted to get the feel for the place since I'll be around for 2 weeks.

The lodging is wonderful! Big bed, my own bathroom, heated towel rack, the works!

Had tea this afternoon and met some new people and then we wandered around the town of Canterbury (so many little shops and alley-ways!) and then hit up Eveningsong- sung by the priests and the men and boys choir. It was incredible!

Then we walked a bit around the Cathedral Grounds and ate dinner- lasagna, veggies, bread, fruit for dessert.

Now, off to try out a pub. Tomorrow, the director hopes we have a 'lie in' as morning prayer doesn't start 'til 930 (yay! there is eucharist at 8, but he does not expect anyone to be at that).

And, MP is in the crypt!

Until Tomorrow.