Showing posts from July, 2010


We left the Northumbria Community on Sunday at 2pm and caught our trains from Berwick to Edinburgh to Glasgow and arrived at Oban about 9:30pm. In the morning we caught the ferry to the island of Mull, the bus across Mull and the ferry to Iona. The journey to Iona takes you from the pastures of northern England and lowland Scotland through the southern highlands of Scotland with the lochs and hills to the coast. Iona is cold and drizzly, but the people here are welcoming and rugged.
Iona is a small island to the west of Mull, one of the Hebrides islands in the southern Highlands of Scotland. It's history is rich. St. Columba came here in the 6th century from Ireland and established what is considered to be the cradle of Christianity for Scotland and England. The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, which we visited last week, was started by Aidan, who came from Iona in the 7th century.
In the 12th and 13th centuries the abbey of Iona was built, along with a nunnery that provided education,…

Northumbria Community

We have been here at Hetton Hall, the mother house of the Northumbria Community, for five days. We traveled from Bath to London and north to Berwick Upon Tweed, the last stop before the border of Scotland. A volunteer staff picked us up and brought us to the house where we met the couple who serve as priest and overseer of the community. Amy and I were given a tour of the house and shown our room, which is Brendan named after the Celtic saint Brendan the Navigator.

The hall is an old farm house, some if it built in the 14th century as a military tower. It has bedrooms and shared bathrooms for twenty people, a well stocked library, reading room, bookstore, a large dining room, garden and kitchen. It is surrounded by farmland with wheat and ranches where cattle graze. A store is many miles away, so we are fairly isolated. It has rained off and on until last night when we finished our walk and saw the sun shine brightly through the clouds. A new mother house is being built out of a 200 ye…

Dartmoor, England

We flew from Moscow to London last Saturday morning with Rick and Cecily Jaynes, rented a car and drove to the Dartmoor National Park in southwest England. The countryside is beautiful whether it's sunny or rainy. We've had the opportunity to hike, drive across the moor, and enjoy pub food. Crosses were placed as boundary markers, prayer spots as recent as 100 years ago and as early as 1000 years ago. Christianity didn't come to Britain till the 7th century and the earliest churches were founded in the 10th century. We stopped at Bennett's Cross, near the Warren Inn, which probably served as a boundary marker. Maybe they were used like celtic crosses to tell the gospel story to travelers.

We attended evensong at the Exeter Cathedral on Sunday and Tuesday. This beautiful gothic cathedral has the longest continuous vaulted ceiling in England. The evensong is a very special service offered ever day of the week. The sung liturgy is beautiful and the setting is beautiful, b…


It's Sunday night--Amy and I have arrived in England after a week with the Choir in Kiev and Moscow. We had a special time with the choir, enjoying their concerts, sharing insights, hearing their stories, laughing together and understanding more of Eastern Europe and the churches we visited.

Dan and the choir did an amazing job memorizing 20 pieces of music and adapting to all kinds of venues. People were amazed at our choir and bells. We had to remind ourselves that our choir is a called choir, not a professional choir, because they sang with such conviction, skill and energy. Their faces told the story along with music from different genres, from classical to spirituals. I turned to Dan on the last night of the concert and told him I couldn't imagine the choir and bells sounding better. I was impressed and proud they were representing Christ and our church.

Here's a few thoughts from our first time in Moscow:

The Kremlin is a walled ancient city with impressive historical…

Kiev, Ukraine

Yesterday Amy and I woke up at 4am, took at taxi to the Orvieto train station for a 5:05 to Rome, flew from Rome to Budapest (had a great pizza in the airport) and continued on to Kiev. Our driver picked us up at the Kiev Airport and drove us downtown. We arrived at the Central Baptist Church at 5pm, just before our choir sang in the sanctuary. As we opened the doors with our bags in hand, the choir broke into applause and hugs. It was a great reunion with our choir that we haven't seen for two months.
Although the turnout was small, the choir sang and the bells played beautifully for 90 minutes. Our driver held up his cell phone for the whole concert so that his wife could enjoy the music while she worked.
After the concert we were driven to the Matt and Tricia McMurrin's apartment, next door to the Music Mission Kiev offices. Matt and Tricia are in their early 30s with three children six and under. They moved here from suburban Richmond, Virginia, where Matt was Worship Dire…