Wednesday, 24 August 2011

La Liberte!

So, guess where we went are some cryptic clues, shout when you know you know the answer!

Clue 1
Clue 2
Clue 3

Got it yet? Last clue...

In case you've been baffled by such hard clues, yes we went on a ferry trip to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

We got a fairly impressive view of the city of New York too, once Var got out of the way!

We saw a short movie about Ellis Island and how it was once the main place for processing immigrants. Very moving, a glimpse into the real lives and remarkable journeys people have taken. And another perspective on the American story...

So, we now have less than 24 hours in the USA...what a trip it has been. Over our family curry this evening  we were reflecting on our time and we were sharing how we have mixed feelings about going home...looking forward to it but also sad to leave.

We've met some wonderful new friends along the way:

Gay & Rich Miller - our wonderful hosts in Souderton and their three turtles
Steve Kriss - it's his fault we came in the first place!
Scott and Andrea Hackman - tutors in lightning bug hunting
Ertel Whigham - living the dream of multi-ethnic church and inspiring our socks off
Rose Bender - Pastor and 'mother' of Zume house in Allentown and teacher of the art of "Racko"!
Tom & Carolyn Albright - Pioneers for the Kingdom, leading Ripple in Allentown.
Kayla McClurg - House manager extraordinaire at Andrew's House in DC
Joe - great company and Mr. Fix-it!
Jim Melson - for his inside/outside vision and telling us the Shaw district story
Thomasine - for connecting us to people and being beautiful
Sue Peterson ( & husband Matt who we'll hopefully meet at some point!) - prophet and great ATV guide.
Vicki Caleb - Such a lovely lady who organised such a good time for us at Reba.
Tim and Patty Peebles - Ace Open-House hosts and fellow coffee-lovers
Allan & Jean Howe - inspirational couple who we could've listened to for much longer
Judith & Hannah Maendel - who took great care of us all just when we needed it.
Ann Stewart - peace-making veteran and encourager.
Charlotte and Karl Lehman - fellow David Attenborough fans and generous pastors (with a flair for showbiz!)
Helen Hudgens - kindred worship leader and gospel choir addict.
Sally and Orwin Youngquist - announcers of God's liberty.

Plus all the other wonderful folk in Norristown, Allentown who we met. The great people of Church of the Saviour and REBA and the loons in Wisconsin!

God bless you all!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Start spreading the news!

We said goodbye to Vicki at Chicago Midway airport

We sang ...'Da, da, da, da, da. Da, da, da, da, da. Da, da, da, da, da. DA.... Start spreading the (etc.)

And we landed in a city that never sleeps!

We went to Central Park...

Found our room...

And went to bed...

I guess we need our sleep!

Nightie, night!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Loaves and Fishes (and Ducks!)

This by the lake at Northwestern College, Chicago. Who do you think has the upper hand - ducks or fish?

We've had more great times by the lake...

... getting wet...

...being weird...

...posing... as quaterbacks...


...working out...

...conking out!

We've had some lovely times with Judith and Hannah (seen here) who've understood our need to chill out in between all the other stuff we've been doing.

They looked after the boys while we (Mum and Dad) got some grown-uptime in the city.

We had fun eating Chicago pizza-pies!!!!


There was a great free jazz concert in Millenium Park...

...the Pavillion is an amazing outdoor theatre...


We looked at Chicago's great sights...

And then it's always great to get back with the boys...

Our time here at Reba has been so wonderful.

Look, we even went to a wedding which was a great worship experience too.

The things that don't show up in photos have been amazing too. We have heard great stories and felt the power of new life in covenant community (with all it's pain and brokenness). We have asked many questions and have many more and have been reading plenty too. The books we have yet to read is extending all the time too!

Today is our last day here. We are going to spend time with Reba Church pastor, Charlotte and the with two founding members of the Reba Fellowship community, Virgil and Julius. We hope to pack too!!!

Tomorrow we fly to New York.

So, until we meet again...

Thursday, 18 August 2011

New Reba friends


We went to 'Mana' which is a food pantry operating out of a garage behind out apartment. Here's the team running it (the main guy, Isaiah, is holding Emma's hand!)

It's open to the whole community - you just turn up to qualify. We got food too!

It meant we could afford Starbucks!!!!

This is where we are updating this blog.

Here are some wonderful people - Jeanne and Alan Howe. They were at the 'I have a dream' speech in1963, and both involved in the cilvil rights work in Mississippi, Alan organised a debate with Yoder (not from Star Wars) and .... well we just had to stop questioning them because we try not to interrogate out hosts too much!

Jeanne and Alan have been involved in the 'common purse' radical community for a long time and yet their passion for people and christian community is as fresh as daisies!!! We all found it so exciting being with them we needed cooling off....

Noah took time out to open a new playground built in his honour!

... And demonstrate traditional farming methods!

This is Anne Stewart who gave us lunch and we became friends immediately. She works in race reconciliation and runs workshops for organisations.

We really loved her and lapped up her advice. 'If race reconciliation seems complicated - that's because it is! Don't give up!'

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Windy City

We swung our way south from Tomahawk... CHICAGO!!!

This city is beautiful - it's love at first sight!

It has a beach!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Who thought of that? So cool!

Big fish...

The best coffee bean ever... surreal man....

It has tasty hot-dogs and Blues Brothers...


It has awesome buildings....

...and friendly dolphins.

It's nice.

We are staying with a Christian community called Reba. It's heart is that
following Jesus is lived,
and experienced
in community

(i.e.impossible in isolation/segregation).

We have met some lovely people already.Vicki has lent us her whole appartment while we are here and has been so kind organising our schedule.

Sally and Orwin (Sian's connection here), Tim and Patty, Judith and Hannah... what can we say... we are enjoying your welcome very much!

Here we are, last night, visiting 'Cana' house. We had a great time discussing the relationship between humming birds and lions (guess who led that?).

We are being affected by all we've met and experienced in the States.
The mennonites have been practising peace church for 350 years,
Church of the Saviour has been breaking social barriers since 1947 (original members still goin strong!),
Reba has been sharing all things in common since 1957

These guys aren't dabbling.

It's making us ask questions?

For example...

We enjoy omlettes when we break eggs,
We enjoy honey when we care for bees.
Is there a way for us to enjoy community without committment?

(For 'committment', read accountability/faithfulness in relationships and serving the poor)

Let us know.