Monday, July 03, 2006

London's burning

Here I am, in sunny, roasting hot London, and the sweat's tripping me!

We're here for the Proclamation Trust Preaching Summer School, and with Day One done, it is going well so far. It is tough stuff though, with lots to do and take in. This year, as I've said, the students have to preach a sermon and receive criticism - it's been fierce so far. Mine isn't until Wednesday or Thursday, so I have a chance to see how others are doing first. The heat is shocking though... I'm not sure I'll be able to stick it.

Let's go back to Sunday though, and give an update of what's happened so far. Sunday morning, very very early, we set off from Dromore (That's Standeley and me) and made it to Dublin Airport in good time. So we checked in, got our gate number and sat beside it, waiting... and waiting. The announcements were impossible to hear or understand, and time got close to the flight and still there wasn't a queue forming, and our flight had't been called. Until we checked the board again... the flight had been moved - thankfully only to the other side of that particular inlet.

When we got off the plane (remembering that it had started raining as we got on the plane in Dublin), the heat was oppressive! It was like stepping into an oven - thankfully I remembered to bring my shorts! The train wasn't too bad going into the city centre, as we weren't at a window, so no sun rays getting in... but the Tube was roasting too!

The hotel is the same as last year, nearly beside Victoria Station, so handy to get about, and with lots of stuff around it. However, we aren't in the same room as last year, as there's just two this year, and not the third musketeer. So we were told the room number, and went up with the key. I tried the door... and again... and again... with various combinations of putting the keycard in, then puching the handle, or putting the keycard in and out then the handle... until we realised we were at 220 and not 222!!! We just about managed to get into our room as room 220 opened its door to see what was happening!

After relaxing for a bit we went for a walk, getting lunch at Trafalgar Square, then walking on past St Paul's to St Helen's Church Bishopsgate for their evening service (via the Temple Church a la the Da Vinci Code - sadly it was locked up!). St Helen's is one of the more evangelical churches, shaped similarly to Dromore Cathedral, but with the focus shifted to halfway down the right hand side, where their enormous pulpit also stands. There are no pews, just moveable seats, and could indeed be a model for Dromore to follow. [Any parishoners or the Select Vestry want to take a field trip?]

The praise band were excellent, the church was full of 20s and 30s, and the speaker was very good, looking at the reconciliation of Jacob and Esau (Genesis 33). The fellowship was good, and we got talking to a couple who had previously been involved with Proc Trust, and they gave us a lift back to the hotel - much better than getting back ito the warm Tube!

Today then has been taken up with the conference all day, and this evening we came up to Oxford Circus for Standeley to get some shorts as he's roasted! I bought some too, to save me running about in the one pair all week. Everyone will be grateful! So after dinner, we looked for an internet cafe... and we're sitting here now, in what is a sort of Chinese video shop and internet cafe... with the language bubbling over our heads and the heat sweltering us!

Hopefully we're going to make it back to the hotel in time to see the Channel Four programme at 10pm, about the awful things people do when they sleepwalk... poor Standeley, in the same room as me for the next four nights! The first night contained some talking and shouting... let's hope I don't try to smother him, like I did to Scott one time...

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