So it is now the year 2010. I ended up spending my Holiday relaxing quite a bit and just enjoying the peace of not "having to do anything." Quite enjoyable, but not as much to report.
The pictures below are from my trip to Cambridge at King's College to see 'Nine lessons and Carols' on x-mas eve. In short, wonderful experience, LONG wait (queued at 6:20 am to be let in at 1:30 pm for a 3 pm service - no tickets issued, your ticket is waiting in line). Not sure I would do it again, but great to have had the experience. The train up to Cambridge was one of the really fast ones...smooth as ever, wish we had trains like it in the States running east/west (I think there is a bullet train DC/NYC).
A cool clock where the grasshopper on top moved as well as the lights (hour/minute/second)...
Proof BBC was there to broadcast it live.
Just a couple smart people on that banner.
Part of the choir which came out early to sing for us.
The amazing fan ceiling. Largest in the world.
The next set of pictures are from the New Year's Day parade in London... it was a little cold out so I didn't stay for the whole thing (got next to the road, but couldn't really move much to stay warm so my feet got cold. H.S. bands from all around the States (and one from Japan too) played it it, as well as a float from each borough, and some other randomish groups. A seeing eye dog training group walked through, but got held up for a little while. I felt bad for them. I helped walk some dogs from the Humane Society in a x-mas parade in Boulder last year and know how hard it is to keep 20+ dogs semi-calm in that environment. Some were in better stages of training than others!! I also interestingly saw TWO groups from Colorado. One from Colorado Springs and the other from Broomfield of all places.
Some sort of Donkey society...no kidding!
One dog is very well behaved
Since the new year I've been back to work with Bridge Builders. We are getting ready to run a course (the foundation course) in early February, followed by another for Senior Church Leaders (meaning Archdeacon/Bishop, etc... not 'old' church leaders :-) ) in March, and another in April. Between the busyness of courses and life I'm feeling like the next couple of months will fly by. We are loosing our current host couple, Ed & Phyllis Shirk on 6 February when their three-year assignment ends and they head back to Colorado. Taking their place will be Darrell and Barbara Jantz (from Oklahoma). The Jantz's arrive next Wednesday and will overlap with Ed & Phyllis for about a week and a half. It will be sad to see Ed & Phyllis leave, but that's the nature of living at the LMC, people are always leaving/arriving throughout everyone's time.
We just had a network day yesterday (one off workshop for people who have taken Bridge Builders' courses as a sort of review/expansion of information from courses) on Mediation. It was focused on the 'healing strategies' part of interpersonal mediation. Makes me look forward to taking the Mediating Interpersonal Conflicts course Bridge Builders' offers in July.
Another activity I have started helping with is a local night shelter up in Muswell Hill (north of where I live - where I typically shop for groceries). The shelter is run at local churches in Muswell Hill during 12 weeks in the winter where their main shelter apparently can't take everyone. The church I am helping with, St James, offered for an initial 6 weeks and then picked up another 6 weeks when the need was expressed again. I helped with a night shift the night before last. It consisted of arriving at around 9:45 pm, staying up with one other person while people slept until around 3 am when another set of people would stay awake while we slept until 6:30/7. Interestingly the majority of the homeless in this area are black immigrants. In another area of London (south east of where I am), the homeless population is mostly from eastern Europe, such as Bulgaria. Differs dramatically from homeless populations which I have interacted with in the States where many are war veterans.
Last night I was up past 3 am again because I went to see the movie Avatar in 3-D at the IMAX theatre. The only showing I could get a decent seat for was at 12:20 am...Tomorrow I am heading to the British Museum for a tour with the topic 'British Museum and the Bible' Should be interesting, but it won't let me sleep in :(.