As you know I recently headed to London to fly the St Pauls Symonds Street flag at the St Mary’s ten year anniversary celebrations. I was really looking forward to going and seeing some old friends and telling some of the amazing stories of what God has been up to here at St Paul’s. As you know back in 2004, Bex and I and a team from St Mary’s came to St Pauls to replant the church at the invitation of Bishop John who was then the Bishop of Auckland.
I left Auckland and jumped on Air New Zealand (the best airline in the world) nearly three weeks ago. I anticipated watching at least twenty movies but actually just sat for most of the way staring mindlessly in to space having rushed around frantically packing and sorting out all of the loose ends that have to be sorted out on a trip like that.
I stayed a night with James and Janie Cronin and Chris Jones some of you will no doubt remember who were around in 2004. It was great to catch up with those guys and be back in my old flat (I lived with them from 1997 for a couple of years). They all send their love and are great form and James and Janie are due to come out in January next year.
On the Friday night, the St Mary’s crew had put together a fantastic party in a house in Little Venice for the church plant leaders and some of the key people who have supported St Mary’s over the years . A couple from St Mary’s called Hugh and Sinora hosted the evening and it was great to catch up with John and Jenny Peters and Barry and Mary Kissell again.
On Saturday night there was what can only be described as an amazing banquet at St Mary’s. All sorts of people who had been involved over the last decade were there. It almost felt like a school reunion. I had not seen some of the people since the early Nineties and I found myself telling people how they had not changed. Sadly this was not reciprocated with more than one person telling me I looked smaller and balder. Richard Chartres the Bishop of London was there and he spoke incredibly well about the importance of blessing what God is doing. All in all it was a great night of celebration of all that has happened through St Mary’s over the last decade.
On the Sunday there were celebration services at St Mary’s. Andy and Emily came along as did Mary and so we had a little reunion which was fun. It was amazing to hear news from all of the churches that St Mary’s has planted over the years including The Exeter Network Church, “KXC” in Kings Cross London, River City Church Jacksonville, City Church Charlotte and The Garden Longbeach California.
I also managed to spend an afternoon with Rich Johnson who travelled down from Worcester. We had a coffee in the British Museum and swapped news. He sends his love to everyone and misses New Zealand enormously. He is doing some great stuff in All Saints Worcester and the church is going really well.
I also caught up with Graham Tomlin from St Melitus College, Simon Downham from St Pauls Hammersmith Simon Ponsonby from St Aldates Oxford Mark Melluish from St Pauls Ealing amongst others.
It is great to be back with Bex and the boys and all of you.