What a great time in London! Do I ever not have a great time there? Aside from being my favorite place in the world, I love the church. It's always great to be with the good folks at Tottenham, and I was extremely pleased with the 3W Seminar response. Our goal is to just help churches process and be a resource to them. They are free to take or reject anything they want. The overall desire is to just keep increasing the sense of inner-connectivity in our region. It's good to go on the journey together. We covered an immense amount of subjects--it was a dense presentation. But I think everyone tracked it very well and the response was very positive. I'll be sending them notes later today. Should have thought to do that prior to meeting.
I'm so glad the meeting went off without any problems. This time around, I actually stayed out by Heathrow airport because I had a very early flight to catch on Monday. Consequently, it was a 90 minute tube journey to the church. The trains stopped running on the Victoria line just as I got off at the church stop. It's a good thing I was on that last train. It would have been a shame to have been stuck far away.
This was a short trip, but I did find time to make it to my favorite travel bookstore Stanford's near Covent Garden as well as the bookstores in the area. There are no good English bookstores in Berlin so it is my trips to Paris and London that give me an opportunity to browse the bookstores. This time I only purchased one book; Philip Norman's new biography on John Lennon. It's been a while since I've read a book about the Beatles. I've read quite a few, but this will be the first since 1992 or so.
On Sunday night I attended Hillsong church on my way back to Heathrow. We're always trying to keep an eye out on the various kinds of churches that are being planted in Europe as we prep the way for what we will be doing next with the Church of God. This was their fourth service of the day which is held at a theatre in the West End that 6 days a week is where "We Will Rock You" plays. So pictures of Freddie Mercury are absolutely everywhere. I wonder what it costs to rent that place? They have interpreters for a multitude of languages. Very impressive. And the average age of the church seemed to be about 25. I sat next to a young Chinese-Australian girl from Melbourne, Australia who just moved to London for work.
So many of you have written in to say: "Please, Patrick. Enough about ministry talk. Can you please talk more about airplanes and airports." Yes, yes, I know that this is what you really want to hear about. Well, okay, if I must:
Flew over on British Airways--an A320. This small two-jet aircraft is used a lot in Europe for these short hauls. It's a safe plane, but not nearly as nice as a Boeing (Boeing rules). The new Terminal 5 at Heathrow (as I tweedled over at twizzle, or twicker, or twitter--whatever-it's-called" is a horrible scandalous monstrosity. It looks nice, but it is is almost entirely duty free shopping with few options of places to eat and few places to lounge around or entertain kids. It was constructed PRIMARILY as a duty-free shopping center as opposed to an airport terminal--and it shows. I don't understand why people can't duplicate the Hong Kong International Airport or Singapore Changi design. Those two airports--along with Seoul's Incheon really set the standard. Ironically, HKIA was designed by a British firm. It's genius.
Here is a picture of a British Airways 747-400 taken from the tarmac--which just landed from somewhere exotic. At around 7AM (when this was taken) there are a ton of 747's landing at heathrow every minute or so. That's when the Asian, African, and North American 747's and 777's of British Airways arrive before they head out again in the afternoon and evening. It's the best time for airplane watching. I had a Virgin Airways Airbus 340-600 fly right over my head before landing on the runway. SO AWESOME!!!!! Good thing it didn't land on my head before flying over to the runway.
My next British Airways flight will be in June when I head to the USA for Regional Coordinator Meetings and visit some churches. It will be a 747-400 from London to Miami. Looking forward to that flight, and immediately going to the closest Olive Garden in Miami.
Jamie's off to Greece tomorrow. Marco and I will be on the starvation diet. Pray.