Wednesday, June 29, 2011

2011 travel posting - June 29

Monday, June 27, was another long day of travel. I took the train from Leuchars (near St. Andrews) to Berkswell, Coventry, to visit my friends the Rev. Mark and Emma Bratton and their children, Theo (9) and Katy (12). It involved 3 changes of trains, but it was a lovely day to travel. Although they say they've been having a heat wave in Britain, it feels wonderful after our 30 plus days of temps over 90 F in Alabama. Most of Monday was sunny and mild with just a few clouds in the sky.

Mark and I met at St. George's College and Cathedral in Jerusalem in 1993. My mother and I were visiting there and Mark was studying there while he was a student at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, one of the Church of England's theological colleges (i.e., a seminary). The next summer I invited Mark to come to the US and work with me for the summer at St. Stephen's in Eutaw, AL. Mark did a great job and everyone loved him. He was subsequently ordained in the Diocese of London and served a parish there. Then he was the Anglican chaplain at Warwick University and is now the rector of St. John the Baptist in Berkswell.

Mark's parish has 3 services on Sunday - 2 in the morning, plus evening prayer - and about 200 attend his services each week. The church building was built in the 11th and 12th centuries and has both Romanesque and Gothic elements. Beneath the church is a crypt which may have been part of an even older Anglo-Saxon church on the same site.

Mark and Emma live in the rectory which is less than 50 yards from the church. They have about 3 acres and raise sheep, pigs, and chickens for their own consumption. Last night I had some pork that they raised and it was delicious.

Katy is studying flute and ballet and in the fall she will attend what we would call "middle school" in Coventry (about 6 miles away). Theo loves math, football, and piano. In the UK they have a national, graded piano curriculum. Theo is about to take his first year piano exam and should do very well. I worked with him for a while yesterday and was very impressed.

This evening I will take the train down to London because I have to fly to Tel Aviv at 8.30 am tomorrow. I will catch up with the other members of my clergy group in Jerusalem where we will spend 6 days before going on to Rome for the final 6 days of our study tour.

See my Facebook page for pictures of the trip.