Today is London Day! ("Wait a minute", you're saying, "that doesn't look like London to me....") You're right!
While many people have been bubbling with excitement about visiting Lambeth Palace and Buckingham Palace and having tea with the Queen, I have been bubbling with excitement at having something of a day off. Well, not a DAY off, but some time off; and with everyone gathered in London, Canterbury is a bit quieter than usual. Or perhaps, more usual than it has been during the Lambeth Conference. And our Communications Centre has been VERY quiet!
I decided to take some of this time to see Canterbury. The picture just above is Canterbury Cathedral - the "Mother Church" of the Anglican Communion. I knew that it was a sight worth seeing, but I actually surprised myself at how moved I was to be in that place.
To make it a little more special, I ran into +Gene while I was there. I didn't want to be a nuisance, but I did say hello, and we had a nice hug and a few minutes of good conversation together. When I left him, he was busily greeting cathedral pilgrims who were clamoring to express how proud they are of him.
A few minutes later, while trying to get a picture without disturbing pilgrims, I saw +Gene again. This time he was praying in front of the site of the Martyrdom of Thomas Becket. It was here that my emotions nearly broke out. Seeing him, the icon that he is, in that place; and, having seen him greeting his many supporters. It was just too much. Not that +Gene is a "martyr" (thank God!), and not even that his ministry has been "martyred" by this exclusion - his ministry has already been too important for his exclusion from the conference to matter in that way, but even so, there was something there. He must have paid a great emotional price by being excluded. How difficult it must be for him not to share with his brother and sister bishops in so many of the experiences that they are having.
It was a special moment for me.
After visiting the Cathedral, dropping entirely too much money in the Cathedral Shop, and then wandering through the shops around the gate in Canterbury, I met a friend for lunch before heading back to work. It was there that I discovered the "Shandy". The "Lager Shandy" to be specific. It's this delightfully refreshing beverage - half lager, half lemonade. I know, it sounds a little nasty, but it's actually quite nice. And on a warm day, like it has been today in Canterbury, it was a nice compliment to lunch. I'm told that bar tenders laugh at men who ordered them, so my friend taught me that if you lower your voice a lot when you order, you won't feel nearly as vulnerable. :)
And just to prove that it's not ALL play time here in Canterbury, some folks have been capturing images of me working. Believe me, that's the normal image of me in Canterbury - today was the exception!
This is the most common image: me in the Communications Centre, sitting at the computer. Be sure to check out THIS POST from Elizabeth Kaeton, in which she's entirely too kind to me.
Also, as an example of how I just never know what I'll be doing from one moment to the next, here's an example from SUSAN RUSSELL where I was operating the boom mic for a Fringe Event that we hosted last night. Which leads me to another tick on my skill set list - HERE is a blog I posted today on Integrity's Walking with Integrity about the event last night. You just never know what I'll be up to...
Stay tuned for more updates! This Sunday is worship in the cathedral. Peace!