Sep | 12 | Mon | The City of CANTERBURY | PRAYER REQUESTS |
- Ask | That the folks who took Bibles would read them!
- Thanks | For being able to proclaim God’s message in CANTERBURY
- Implore | For God to begin a work in Cantebury. For Divine appointements
PROCLAMATION LOCATIONS & NEEDS |
- TODAY’S LOCATION | CANTERBURY | ??? |
- PROCLAIMING FROM | the book of | EXODUS|
- ACCOMMODATION NEEDED? | Not Today Thanks 🙂 |
- TOMORROW’S MESSAGE | ROOTED IN the book of | LEVITICUS |
- IN THE CITY OF BRIGHTON | OFF THE FENCE OFFICES | & HOOK ME UP! | 07975 805 323
- ACCOMMODATION NEEDED? | Not for this day – Thanks 🙂 |
- THE DAY AFTER’S MESSAGE | ROOTED IN the book of | NUMBERS |
- IN THE CITY OF BRIGHTON & HOVE | NO IDEA! | HOOK ME UP! | 07975 805 323
- ACCOMMODATION NEEDED? | Not for this day – Thanks 🙂 |
See my Full 66 City Tour List by Clicking HERE
I was up at 4:50 am this morning and sat working soon after that, pounding on these here keys and updating the blog.
THIS IS EXODUS AGAIN..
Then 6 hours later, no honest 6 blooming hours to get caught up on the backlog of mails – updates and other related stuff – it was time to update the Sidewalk / Pavement sign with the words, EXODUS and CANTERBURY, pack the car up and get on the road down to that great old city to see what God would do.
So about an hour later I arrive and park the car up near the near North Gate of Canterbury, put my money in the meter, get my rucksack out, load up my camera and start walking down to the Cathedral. I mean c’mon you CANNOT go to Canterbury to preach the word of God and then NOT go and pray in the Cathedral. I used to live in Deal and so have been to Canterbury many times, so it was real nice to walk by some of the familiar shops. I was already praying before I got to the Cathedral. What was going to happen today?
£9.00 later, (it’s worth it) I was in Canterbury Cathedral. I love all the ancient community paraphernalia, old churches all full of torn-ed colours redeemed from bloody battles far and far away in space and time. Though the plaque dedicated to the lancers who were killed in Afghanistan a couple of hundred years ago nearly, did sneer at me when I explained what was happening now and said “You’re kidding me, right?”
I went to the Martyrs chapel and prayed, strolling over the stones that pooled the blood of Becket into a crying condemnation condemnation against the King. I sat there, prayed and then in the quite, checked the email on my iPad.
In my mind I had seen three places it might be good to set up the PA unit and begin proclaiming, but as usual in Canterbury it would be to a crowd of 90% foreign students who were all there to learn English. Still, this is what I had come for, so it was a long walk back to the car, put some more money in the meter, collect my gear and then get to it. As I was about to leave, an Irish American voice echoed around the Cathedral welcoming people and then asking them to pause and in their own language to follow him in reciting the ‘Pater Noster,’ and so together we did.
Our Father, which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.
It was wonderful. The cleric who led the prayers said he would remain at the foot of the pulpit available for anyone to speak to him. A lady collared him first and after a few minutes with tear streaked face, walked away smiling. I love the look of a face sporting tear’s relief and of burdens slightly lifted.
I was up next and explained to the cleric, John, what I was doing, why I was in Canterbury and asked for his prayers. He though that preaching on street corners brought ridicule to the gospel. In the 21st century, I kind of agreed with him, but explained that it is what God has asked me to do. He wasn’t convinced and suggested that a better way was to be there for the ‘hurting – to be an answer for the grieving.’ Of course I agreed, but, is that it? Is that all the church can project to the world, “here we are folks! A crutch to the limping, a wheelchair to the crippled, bread for the hungry, a shoulder for the weeping, hope for the hopeless!. You know, some sad spiritual knocking shop for the down and out and the destitute, some vast spiritual social care program for those who can’t make it in the real world? If that was it and that alone, then I knew again why many men won’t come near the church.
I must say after this conversation my heart sank slightly within me and the thought of me brining the Gospel into open ridicule on some street corner wasn’t sitting well with me. Plus, I didn’t want to be a Pratt either. And as to the poor being ‘always with us’, well, it was me that had gotten £30 from the hole in the wall and out of my already overdrawn bank account to pay to pray in the Cathedral, pay for parking and pay get some grub and supplies. “Poor” I thought, “Poor I can do myself mate! I don’t need to go looking…”
It was a long walk back up the North gate to get my PA system, and I was thinking about what my friend Mark had said to me in London just yesterday “If the church does not take care of the poor – it’s not really the church anyway” and as I chewed on his observations which were now mixing with the Saliva of regret produced by Father John’s black smocked words, I walked through Canterbury’s North and not so beautiful gate to be greeted by a young man sat on his haunches sporting a torn piece of dank cardboard which simply said “I’m Hungry”.
In the back of my car, I not only have a sleeping bag and a cheap tent from Millets bought on my credit card, but I had some Sainsbury specials. The Cheapest peanut butter, crackers and Sultanas and rice cakes you can imagine. In my house, we live on Sainsbury’s specials you see! So after asking the young man if he was really hungry I simply say “Come with me, I have some food for you.”
Carlos was just 21. Spanish, a language student and in short, an economic migrant. In broken but very understandable English he told me that ‘if we thought it was bad in England, we had better be thankful we hadn’t got into the Euro.’ There was no work in Spain. Apparently even though we had massive male unemployment in his age range, he felt he could still find work here. A young woman was waiting around the corner, his girl friend, 17 year old Raquel. She was from Portugal originally and both of them were now living in a tent in a Park somewhere in Canterbury, desperately trying to find work.
At the car I loaded them up with my Sainsbury’s specials and asked them if they would like some hot food. They explained that there was no electricity in the park and they had nothing to cook on anyways. Apparently I do look that thick! Across the road was ‘Beanos’ serving all day breakfast, a full English for £3.99! It was time for three full English and some hot tea.
Carlos and Raquel sat with me and we ate together. We shared stories and Jesus. They were both Roman Catholic and Carlos had been to local RC church and when asking for food had been told that ‘The church was not a restaurant’ (he’d never been to a Southern Baptist Pot Luck supper that’s for sure). Some of the congregation had been kind to him, but as he was a card carrying Catholic (he had a picture of Jesus in his wallet) he was not too impressed with the churches response. I have been fooled before but Carlos and Raquel are genuinely looking for work. Like oh so many of us, they just need a chance. Carlos reminded me of my son. Raquel reminded me that my wife of some 31 years who was also just 17 when we ran off and got married. Life is tough, and we all need angels with hope and groceries to come knocking on our door occasionally. We all need a help up sometimes and many times a hand out. I have Carlos permission to give you his mobile number. If you can give this young man and his girlfriend a job, or even some encouragement, then please call them now. ( 0753 055 7825)
Roy Baylis, (I won’t even begin to try and describe my brother here!) has been project managing 66 Cities for a wee while now, (all free) and has come up with a few brilliant ideas. One of which was to occasionally hire someone on the streets, to video the proclamation of the word of God. After paying for three prayers in the Cathedral and three plates of breakfast I had a tenner left. So I asked Carlos if he wanted a job for an hour. He was up for it.
Meanwhile, ‘Beanos ‘was going barmy. A traveller’s family had come in for lunch and one of the kids was screaming the place down. Momma was struggling, so I give her the wink and then shout over to the wee one “Hey now you! Stop that shouting right now, I’m trying to eat my food!” She stopped. It’s amazing what a different voice can accomplish. Momma smiled. The little girl’s name was Sadie. Little, sweet and noisy. A bit like me really. The Dad was happy to take a New testament and Psalms from me when I stopped him in Car Park as he was leaving in his flat bed truck, the whole family tucked in the back with Sadie once again belting her lungs out.
So me, Carlos and Raquel, our newly formed little band of street preachers are now all geared up and heading on back down the high street to , well, to preach in the open air. It’s still windy and the crowds are still mostly tourist. I quickly tweet to the world what I am about to do and ask for prayer. Later I find that because I don’t have my glasses on, I have in fact tweeted that I am about to engage in an act of public obscenity. Bridget will later slap me for this, holding her hands up in despair. I hate that automatic text interpretation stuff. A combination of that and £1.5o’s worth of help the aged charity glasses might just cause a war some day.
I set up the PA. I go into all the surrounding shops, introduce myself and say I will only be loud for about ten minutes. They are happy. Preaching does not seem right at the moment though, so I use the PA system to invite people to take part in survey I am doing and in return I have for them a free gift ( A Gideon’s Bible). Another charity is a hundred yards down the road, literally chasing people to get them to sign up to give money. I assure everyone that I do not want their money. As I am interviewing a young woman with four kids, ‘ Hyacinth Bucket’ on angry pills strides out of age concern and with a loaded finger tells me I need a licence to use my PA. She is a former Army wife, and a deputy Lieutenant of Kent. I tell her that if she is on the PCC I feel sorry for her vicar. We laugh. I move down the road. My fighting with a Lord Lieutenant of Kent in a charity shop is not good press. She is adamant though. Everyone else is rolling their eyes behind her back.
Down the road, I continue the survey and a young Vietnamese woman comes and takes a Bible and as she leaves four young men begin mocking her. “I call out to them and say “Gentlemen if you’re big enough come over here and help me with a survey” They come over. They are big enough.
- Who Wrote The Bible | ANSWER = GIDEON
- How Many books are in The Bible | ANSWER = DUNNO
- Do You know What The Bible is about? ANSWER = GOD
- Do you know the Main Character of the Bible ANSWER = JESUS
- Is the Bible Relevant to our Society ANSWER = YES ( Yes? I am surprised)
- Do You Have a Bible ANSWER = YES (Yes?)
- Do You read The Bible = SOMETIMES
- Would you to hear a Sermon from the Bible ANSWER = YES ( you’re kidding me right?)
- Would you go to hear a Talk from the Bible ANSWER = YES
- Would you go to church | ANSWER = YES
Three of these guys have recently come out of prison. They are in a hostel. They seem open. They seem genuine. I like them. They have sad stories. I ask if I can pray for them there and then and they say. Yes. Ending my prayer I ask that God makes sure they don’t become twats in misusing their new found freedom. They are really thankful and as three of them walk away one stays behind and says to me, “Thanks for praying for us like that, ’cause we can be twats you know.” I laugh, hug him and say “can’t we all. I know lots of Christians who have been twats with their blood bought freedom as well.”
It’s getting windier and the crowds are diminishing. Carlos has done a GREAT JOB ( I had No problem trusting him at all and recommend him to you) with the filming and it’s time to pay him. The workman is worthy of his hire. That being done, we troop back to the car, I put my last £1 in the meter as the Phone rings. It’s Des from the News Desk at Premier and he wants to do an interview which will be aired tomorrow. I tell him that we have sent out 90,000 emails and the church is not interested. “Shame on them” I say. I wonder if they will air that?
God still is not finished with me in Canterbury. It’s late in the day and I have still not proclaimed from Exodus. I walk back into town. I need a venue. I decide that even if I stay here until midnight I am not leaving until I have found that venue. I decide that I will go into the pubs and introduce myself to the Landlord and see if he will give me ten minutes with his punters. This was going to need more prayer. My ticket was still good for the Cathedral, and it was just before 5pm so I could get back in again.
Inside the Cathedral two vergers were chatting away together. It was end of day and they were getting ready for Vespers. ( I am so glad that the CofE is being frugal with their transportation costs. -Bu-bum) “Excuse me” says I, and I introduce myself, tell them about my partners, give them my card which says ‘Rev. Victor Robert Farrell’, tell them that preaching in the open air is like naked bungee jumping to and its cold outside and windy, and can they recommend a venue…a nightclub, a house group, a church ..maybe….(did I have puppy eyes at this point?)
It was Julia the verger who said “well maybe you can do it here. Let me take you to Chris and see what he says.
Chris Robinson is as magnanimous as he is tall, generous and brave with it, and eventually says to me “Well would you like to do this on the spot where Becket was murdered?” Would I like to drive a Ferrari whilst eating Roast beef and horseradish sauce , with a stash of Toffee crisps in the glove compartment for afters? Would I ever Chirs!
So instead of naked bungee jumping, this ‘oik’ is allowed to give a brief overview of the book of Exodus delivered in the Martyrs’ chapel of Canterbury Cathedral on the spot where Becket was murdered.
I wonder where I will be tomorrow?
P.S. I woke up this morning and the Cheshire cat smile was still on my face. Thank you SO MUCH Canterbury Cathedral, John, Julia and Press officer, who is most definitely the son of Christopher Robin. Thank you so much.
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