This is day 28 in a series: 31 Letters from London. And it will be the last installment as I have lost my mind thinking I could write every day in October while at the same time, finish the manuscript for my first book. Oy Vey! Idealism is good but not when you need to be realistic. If you are interested in reading from day one, begin here and find the collection of letters here.
It’s about time I tell you about St. Barnabas, Kensington (STBK), the church who brought us here to London.
I have put it off because I don’t have proper pictures to show you of the amazing people who have wrapped their arms around us. And I don’t have time to tell you about the history in this beautiful structure built in 1829 with stained glass windows created by the famous Edward Burne-Jones. But see what I just did there? I linked you up if you are interested in learning more.
I have trouble writing about this because it feels almost sacred to put words on the way God links us with people, places and purpose.
The first time we walked up the concrete steps into the blue doors of this historical church, people standing in a circle broke apart as soon as they laid eyes on us. I felt like the bride and groom finally arriving at the reception after a long photo shoot across the ocean.
Except instead of toasting us with well wishes, they encircled us and prayed fervently with thanksgiving, prophesying hope like family members.
H is only a part time vicar. He was asked to come to St. Barnabas as an associate, tasked with something unusual. The pastor and his wife were sensing their time leading the church was coming to an end so because of H’s broad experience, they asked him to coach and lead the church through a transition.
Most people don’t want to enter a new place or position during a season of upheaval but not my man. This is where he thrives well in his gifting. H is fulfilling the role of leading the church through an interim period (or Interregnum as the Anglicans call it), the process of searching for a new vicar.
And here’s a little secret. I wasn’t too excited about H pastoring again. We were enjoying sitting in the audience instead of arranging chairs and standing behind pulpits. But I can’t wait until Sunday morning arrives now. Not kidding.
Generosity, faithfulness and commitment are qualities we look for in a partner for marriage. We found the right match in St. Barnabas. We are thankful.
The other day my friend Deidra asked this question on Facebook: “Home. What is it? Is it a place, a concept, an experience? How do you define, home?”
I responded. Home isn’t a place as much as a sense of belonging. It is the place where you can be fully yourself, accepted, loved and cherished for who you are, not what you do.
The people at St. Barnabas welcome in a way that makes you feel like you’re sitting with all your neighbors in your grandparents kitchen eating a stack of pancakes covered in maple syrup. Just because they know pancakes are your favorite. We are home.
All those months when we were waiting to move to London, weeping and wondering why God was silent, they were waiting too. While we were preparing for a cross cultural move, God was preparing the people to receive us.
Waiting isn’t a solitary endeavor. While you are waiting, biting your fingernails and stressing out about the unknowns to all your questions, God is pulling together a host of people, places and circumstances in a way that your mind cannot begin to fathom or compute.
Rest assured He is silent but He is never still.
He is working all things together for your good and His timing is perfect.
You can follow St. Barnabas on Twitter @STBKChurch and like us on Facebook @St. Barnabas Church Kensington and listen to sermons here. If you are visiting the city, we would love to see you!