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Established 1999
A Wesleyan-Anglican Church in Boise, Idaho

Pilgrimages

An English Pilgrimage

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Entry 10, Thursday, Second Week of Advent:
Ludlow, Shrewsbury and Manchester: Curried Favor

Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
- 2 Corinthians 1:1b (NIV)

We leave Hay-on-Wye early, see a member of our party off on a train at Hereford (as usual in England, the train is in and out very quickly), and proceed north. Attracted by the steeple of an ancient church in Ludlow, we divert to Ludlow's Elizabethan town center. Market day is in progress, and slain fowl, fresh domestic meats and mince pies are among the wares we notice (and we buy mince pies!).

Then we visit the Parish Church of St. Lawrence, by entering through a narrow passageway between the commercial buildings which seem almost to enclose it-but cannot hide the spire which drew us into Ludlow! St. Laurence's is not a cathedral, but because of its size and appearance one could be excused for thinking otherwise. St. Laurence's has been a place of worship for 900 years, and that remains its prime purpose today. The earliest church on this hilltop was built by Normans, and the church was rebuilt in 1199. During much of its history, the only clock in town was the one in the church tower, so it played a major role in regulating the daily activities of the town. The ancient clock mechanism is on display, now replaced by a computer.

Next we stop at Shrewsbury, for the historic Benedictine abbey that dates from 1083 and was most recently made popular by Ellis Peters' "Brother Cadfael" books and the television series based on them. When built, it was strategically placed on the main road from London to Wales, on the banks of the River Severn and near the Rea Brook. On this day as we are here, workmen are struggling to protect the abbey from the flood waters which are about 30 feet away-and which in recent months actually surrounded the pews, placed as they are on a permanent wooden platform the height of a stair step. (Yes, the abbey has pews, unlike many of the old cathedrals and parish churches, which had no chairs for the people in the early days and which now provide folding chairs.)

Flooding at Shrewsbury. Flooding at Shrewsbury.

Outside, across the flooded street, a restaurant shows England's proverbially indomitable spirit, as men in waders assist its customers to cross an improvised bridge to enter the sand-bagged establishment. As the people cross, they pass two chalkboards standing in the water with the messages, "We won't be beaten", and, "(Have) a ferry merry Christmas".

We proceed to Manchester, to Nazarene Theological College (NTC). Dr. Herbert McGonigle, NTC principal (comparable to a college presidency in the U.S.), generously makes available to us his excellent Wesley library and his unique collection of Wesley memorabilia. To aid Epworth Chapel on the Green in the acquisition of Wesley titles, Peter Rae, college executive, provides on computer disc a report of the McGonigle library's holdings.

So many books, so little time!

The college staff invite their visitors to join in afternoon tea, and we do. With the Christmas holiday having just begun for the students, the pace is relaxed. The hospitality continues, as Dean Kent Brower favors the visitors with dinner at an Indian restaurant-which he and the owner explain is really a Bangladesh one. As we dine on Indian/Bangladesh food-in accord with Dean Brower's suggestion of a "mild" choice for his novice guests (not actually curry, as my title for this entry implies)-we discuss the inter-relationship of worship and holiness, worship as Wesleyans, and prospects for churches in the Wesleyan tradition to be or become Wesleyan in their worship.

We enjoy the college's guest quarters in what was once the home of an heir of one of England's leading department-store families. Now the college's library and some academic offices make good use of much of that house.

Wesleyans seek to conjoin not only worship and holiness, but also "knowledge and vital piety", in the famous phrase. John Wesley evidenced dedication to those purposes in his own spiritual and intellectual pursuits, in the educational standards he set out for Methodist preachers, and in the schools he established (such as at the Foundery in London and at Kingswood in Bristol). All of the educational institutions which today derive from Wesleyan beginnings would do well to remember that initiating Wesleyan vision.

"For the splendor of creation
that draws us to inquire,
for the mysteries of knowledge
to which our hearts aspire,
for the deep and subtle beauties
which delight the eye and ear,
for the discipline of logic,
the struggle to be clear,
for the unexplained remainder,
the puzzling and the odd:
for the joy and pain of learning,
we give you thanks, O God."
- Carl P. Daw, Jr., 1989

- Christopher

Theme Verse

Luke 1:78-79

Scripture Lessons

Dec 17: Isaiah 65:17-25, Psalm 126, 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28, John 1:6-8, 19-28

Dec 10: Isaiah 40:1-11, Psalm 85:7-13, 2 Peter 3:8-18, Mark 1:1-8

Prayer Emphases

Nation: Tunisia

Denomination: Pentecostal Church of God

Congregation: Epiphany Fellowship, Camden, NJ, and the Rev. Doug Logan

Ministry: World Alliance of Reformed Churches

Parishioners: Those living on Lubkin Street

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