Saturday, December 15, 2012



So, I am sitting on the train to go to London when it occurs to me to text a friend who works in London, asking if he has time to meet up for a coffee. He texts me back, saying "I don't really have time, but I am at Lambeth Palace at lunch time for an Advent Eucharist and a reception with the Archbishop afterwards. Do you want me to try to get your name on the list?"

I take a brief glance at my city outfit - jeans and duffel coat, consider whether that's the right attire for the occasion and text back "Yes, please!". How can I say no to meeting Rowan Williams, who I have great respect for?

Sadly, I didn't make it in the end. No free place available (which isn't really surprising, I guess).
So, having narrowly missed the opportunity of meeting the Archbishop, what's a girl to do but take in the sights instead ...

A beautiful restaurant front in Drury Lane

Re-used pram

When we came to London some years ago, our son was about 10 years old. Nothing we saw could impress him! Everything was "like home, only bigger". But Covent Garden DID impress. I mean, what's not to like? ...

The decorations ...

... and the inevitable street artists

Then I walked on towards St Paul's Cathedral. A beautiful building - although I found £15 too much to pay. So I spend a little time in prayer in the small side chapel instead. (You don't get charged for praying, luckily!)

The I headed back through St James' Park ...

 ... and past Buckingham Palace. Seems that Her
... past Buckingham Palace.
Seems that Her Majesty lives right next to a busy road. Location, location, LOCATION, Ma'am!

This is what I really came for. Not the Archbishop or the Queen, the PM or Santa ... but the German Embassy. Surely the place where bureaucracy was invented!

After some serious security procedures (think airport) outside in the street, I got to spend an hour inside before having my passport documents seen to. Enough time to bond with some other German expats, who were equally bemused by the whole thing (10 years is just enough time to forget the previous ordeal!)
Much hilarity, some discussions about the rights or wrongs of crossing the pedestrian crossing at red when there is no traffic about and a few stories which remind us why we all came to the UK in the first place and never left.
(If we laugh too loud, will we be denied our 10-year German passport??)

Obviously, photography is NOT allowed inside the embassy, hence no pictures of my new-found German friends.

Having the passport business finally sorted, it is time to head back towards Leicester Square. On the way I pass Chinatown.

I had a great time in London.
It was fun to avoid the Underground as much as possible and to take to the streets instead. It doesn't seem to take much longer and there is much more to see!

A final message to combat any remaining disappointment about not having met the Archbishop:

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Yesterday our church took part in the local lantern festival, which is a Christmassy but not necessarily religious event.

Here are our lanterns, spelling the word NOEL.The 'O' is in the shape of a Christingle.

 Here are other lanterns, made by other community groups and individuals.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

St Nicolas

Today is the 6th December, the feast of St Nicolas.
When I grew up in Germany, this was the day when we children cleaned our boots really well and left them outside the door ... to find them filled with sweets and nuts in the morning.

Read about celebrating Sankt Nikolaus in Germany here.

Each year on December 6, Germans remember the death of Nicholas of Myra (now the Anatolia region of modern Turkey), who died on that day in 346. He was a Greek Christian bishop known for miracles and giving gifts secretly, and is now the patron saint of little children, sailors, merchants and students. 

Find out more about St Nicolas, the Bishop of Myra here on the i-church website.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Wes' Advent Reflections

Yesterday marked the beginning of Advent, the time when Christians prepare for the coming of Jesus - remembering the story of his birth, but also being reminded that according to the Bible Jesus will come again.

I am looking forward to the Advent reflections by Wes Magruder, the Methodist pastor from the First Rowlett United Methodist Church in Rowlett in Texas who joined his Muslim friends during and reflected on Ramadan this year.

You can find his first Advent post here.

"Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry of lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching."
 Isaiah 42:1-4

May we all enjoy the journey!