42 of 66 | Sat | The City of DURHAM | Great Food!

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I was up at 5:30am today catching up on some typing and checking on the data backup which seemed to have gone fine tonight. Like the Trinity, broadband Wi Fi is a great mystery.

I breakfasted with John and Pat and asked them to pray for me, they did, and I was out of the door and in Durham by 9:30am.

Now I have never been to Durham before, but keeping in mind that sad old Sunderland is in spitting distance of this city, you could not find two places so very different from one another. Durham is beautiful, its’ Cathedral set high above the town and river and today, the whole city ( which frankly is much like a well heeled market town) was bustling with shoulder to shoulder people as they all moved toward the annual food festival. There were thousands of bustling people.

I knew I was speaking from Luke, but blow me down, I had not even had opportunity to prepare a wee message this morning. There was no excuse really, except I was too tired and had run out of time!

I parked my car
in one of the city centre underground car parks and joined the throng making their way across the river and into the Market Place and up to the Cathedral Green. Yes, even the Cathedral was hosting food, an extraordinarily large Marquee had been set up charging a £2.50 entrance fee just to get in and sniff the food!

On the way up to the Market Place, I went into a costume hire shop. As well as a message, I needed a hook. I negotiated a Roman breastplate, sword, shield and helmet for £16.00. I would look stupid wearing this and jeans. Wearing this and just my boxer shorts may get me arrested. I opted to leave it for now. Where could I get a leather skirt that would fit me?

The owner was from Sunderland and he confirmed the VAST difference between the two places. “Ee you couldn’t leave a pin on the counter in case they’d nick it” Poor old Sunderland, Maybe that’s why the church was like Fort Knox? The owner kindly gave me an interview.

From here, I went straight to the Market Place. It was packed with food stalls of every kind all toting their wares and boy oh boy, it all looked good and smelt good as well. St Nicholas Church was adjacent to the Market and open.

I went in to find that it too had a large portion of it converted into a café. I introduced myself to the Elim Pentecostal serving coffee in the Anglican church (go figure!) and within a few minutes the person in charge had given me permission to share my message from Luke with the customers -now!

I have often said that “if a person who has been in the Scriptures for thirty years cannot turn to any passage in the Bible and preach Jesus from it, then he needs to be fired.” I was about to find out if I could keep my job.

I took 60 seconds to briefly look at Luke and I settled on the passage where Jesus is preaching from Peter’s boat, and Peter witnessing the teaching and abundance which brought him a personal conviction and confession of sin. I was ready to go. I could keep my job.
The folks listened well, and when I finished my exhortation and declaration, mostly all applauded me thereafter, and a few even came to speak to me. Interestingly, it seems that five minutes is just about as much time as anyone iss willing to give over to religion. I thanked the organisers and left St Nicholas’ and wandered right next door into the Civic Centre.

I wanted to interview the Mayor today. “Could he give me five minutes?” They couldn’t track the Mayor down but they did find his driver. There was no way the Mayor could meet with me. That was OK. I was off to the Cathedral, stopping of at the Salvation Army’s ‘Sanctuary 21 bulding and prayer centre for the nations’. It sounded grand.

Actually it was grand.
Not in a material sense, but the buildings on the ground floor had been turned into a living prayer wall; written prayers were plastered all over it. The upstairs was a very cheap café, indeed it seemed to be occupied by homeless and poor people. I felt right at home and indeed was greatly welcomed,  and given free soup and tea, together with an interview. Listen, the two lovely ladies who were there, just blessed me up and the food they cooked and prepared for the homeless, was very well cooked, professionally presented and it tasted delicious. Ordinary folk doing extraordinary things.

The Cathedral called.

Durham Cathedral is built around the relics and legend of St Cuthbert. Whose supposedly incorruptible body provided healing and protection to both people, the surrounding area and eider ducks. It’s a long story. Indeed, one legend tells that, prior to the arrival of Henry’s commissioners, the monks covertly removed Cuthbert’s body from the cathedral, reburying it in a secret location within the grounds of Crayke Abbey. The body was replaced by that of a recently deceased local brother. Today, the legend continues, the true location is known only to 12 monks, its’ whereabouts only revealed to one of the brother’s when one of their number dies. Now how about that story for the beginning of a novel? Anyhoo, Durham Cathedral is magnificent,  and the War Memorial cross on the green bank of the North wall, overlooking the multitude of visitors, would be a great place to proclaim today. After all, I had a message now!

Whilst seeking out the head verger
I was invited to attend coimmunion. I did. The service was to be taken by a priest in the side chapel behind the preparing orchestra. It was very well attended, scripted, and full or rite and mini-pomp. This was a Cathedral after all. There was a broad spectrum of people attending, including some young people. I was really surprised. It was a blessing. It was like a laundrette, ok to use whilst you were out of town, but could never be a substitute for your own washing machine.

I sought out the head verger,
who despite being overrun by thousands and preparing for a Bach recital with attending singers and orchestra this evening, met with me and heard my story. He would help and be delighted to do so (these vergers are special folk you know) but wasn’t quite sure where and when. I suggested the North Wall and the cross on the bank. He agreed. I asked if he could provide a cameraman. He agreed. I was introduced to Neil and would meet him in 40 minutes at the Stone Cross on the green back at the North Wall. Amazing. I asked if I could go get my car and park it up here. They said it was down to the events staff who were controlling the road which went right up through the Market Place to the Cathedral. On the way down I consulted with two guys wearing fluorescent green jackets and leaning against the barrier. My hat and card and God’s great favour worked a charm. I could get my car and they would escort me up the hill, walking in front of the car and clearing away, much like a funeral director with an attitude,  guiding a hurse to its’ resting place. And that’s how I got my board and PA,  all the way up,  and later down the hill. Escorted and made way for. I felt like Mordecai, “This is what happens to the man who the King favours!” Unfortuantely the old dear in front of me also being escorted up,  did burst my spiritual bubble somewhat!
Neil was waiting for me.
I had already prepared the board and I powered up my friend the PA and went for it. It went well. I was applauded.

Neil was a great guy and we talked for some time. His father is called Valentine, in his 70’s and has been diagnosed with cancer of the Oesophagus. I prayed with him for his father and he asked that I request of everyone who reads this blog to do the same. Thank you.

I packed up the car,  now parked at the back of the Cathedral, and headed into town. It was near 3pm and I was hungry. The place was packed, and a wild boar burger set me up for the remainder of the day. There were a couple of prime spots to further proclaim my message. But really, people were shoulder to shoulder moving along to their next destination. Still there was one prime spot, where the pedestrian packed roads split into two, which would have been great. I had lost my courage? Where had it gone? Do we only get a limited supply for each task and was I already overdrawn today? So instead, I went to Nero’s, it being overwhelmed with people, I could not get a power socket and so left to wander around the shops. Tomorrow I was in the Book of John, and might possibly be in the open air again. I needed a hook. Something to do with light. I went into a Toy Science shop and got a couple of things, one of which was a couple of false thumbs with L.E.D lights in them. I will let you know how it goes.

I made my way back to my hosts
and they had some visitors, two of which were small twin girls. My ‘Light of the World’  thumbs impressed them greatly. I was as powerful as Jesus, calling light out of thin air.

I went to my room and rang a Methodist church in Ripon. I spoke to the minister and asked if I could speak at his church on the morrow. He said ‘yes’. I would be preaching on the Gospel according to John tomorrow evening in Ripon. I also confirmed my bed in the house of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship leader’s house as well. Tomorrow was sorted a whole day in advance. I honestly felt the favour of God upon me today.

The appointment at the Methodist church and the bed to sleep in, had brought me some peace concerning tomorrow, and so I spent the rest of the evening, tidying my car, packing my case, allowing Pat to put some of my washing on, eating yet another fantastic souffle style flan, downed with a Bud and followed by trifle. Thirty minutes into ‘Dad’s Army’ it was 9:00pm and beer and trifle had done its work. I was ready for bed. And so after ringing Bridget to say goodnight and then lining up some video uploads, within the hour, I was asleep. Tomorrow was seemingly sorted. We shall see.

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About vrfarrell

Biblical activist
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