THIS WAS PETERBOROUGH| (See my Full 66 City Tour List by Clicking HERE)
THE CONTENTS OF MY HEAD AND HEART
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I was up at 5:00am. Somehow I had to get my last four blogs posted before I departed for Lincoln, and of course, try and publish my app Devotions for today. I broke for breakfast at seven, wanting to be on the road for 7:30 and in Peterborough for 9:00am. It wasn’t going to happen and it was 9:30am when I finally got the emails off and the car loaded and on my way. Now my Lincoln landlady was lovely. Tough as nails, always wearing a ‘pinny’ but lovely. She even came out to give me a hug as I left. Little did I know but Hugs were going to feature high on the list today.
I still wasn’t feeling good. I think I have an inner ear infection. Have been drinking too much coffee, eating to many Maccy D’s and or full English Fry Ups! In any event, as of next Thursday I would be on a strict recovery regime of rest, exercise and a better diet. This was going to be my last Thursday on the road.
I arrived on the edge of Peterborough and parked myself up in a Maccy D’s with a power socket to see who I could reach out to today. It was already getting late and the clock ticked past 11:00am.
I think probably the first person I contacted was Pastor Tim Edworthy of Park Baptist. He was a busy man today, with church work, a Cathedral service to be involved with and an important funeral on his hand. Even so he would be pleased to give me an interview and he would also check if I could share at a lunch club of around forty folk meeting at the church this lunchtime. Indeed, if I wanted I could stay for a roast pork dinner. Did I tell you I was on a diet as from next Thursday?
In addition to this, Tim wanted me to talk to a Street Evangelist called Chris Duffett who just might be in the city this Thursday and would be a good guy to interview. Tim told me that Chris had some interesting takes on Evangelism, recently having a push on ‘Pastries and Prayer’ offering free cake to folk along with an offer to pray for them. Chris sounded and interesting character. What Tim did not tell me was that Chris was also an artist, speaker, writer ( Smack heads and Fat Cat’s) and founder of The Light Project, ooh, and President Elect of the Baptist Union of Great Britain (2011-2012). Apparantly he would be the youngest President ever and an Evangelist to boot.
I rang the Cathedral but people were running around like mad fools by the sound of it, with lots of visitors today and the ordination service of that evening. However, yes, I could park my car there, free of charge all day. It just so happens that the Baptist church was a five minute walk from the City Centre Cathedral.
So, I parked my car, introduced myself to the lady who lived above the Cathedral’s Coffee and Cake rooms and got on my way to Park Baptist. I was going to be 1 minutes late but that was OK.
The place was buzzing and to my delight and surprise there was a least three young men washing, waiting, and serving the hungry senior citizens. I sat down with Tim and his wife and chewed the cud. And the roast pork, roast potatoes, cabbage, gravy, Yorkshire pudding with rolley polley pudding and vanilla custard to follow. Well, I didn’t want to offend and it had been at least 5 hours since my full English. Did I tell you that this was my last Thursday and I was in the gym and on a strict diet as from next?
I spoke from 2nd Peter and then did a few interviews to follow. I hope you are blessed
I was beginning to look a little dishevelled. Maybe a haircut would tidy me up and perk me up a bit and it just so happened that there was a barbers shop across the way and no waiting to be seen to. So, I parked myself in the char for my £10 chop.
The barber was about my age, and had been doing the same job for thirty years in the same shop in Peterborough. As I engaged him about his city, it was obvious that he appeared perplexed. He was not a racist by any means, but seemed to mourn the loss of his culture and the safety he experienced as child Certainly, the 1960’s were not perfect but the truth is that most kids in the UK went out by themselves in the morning and did not return home until the evening. His daughter had never been out by herself and there were areas in his city that were no go areas, even for him and older white guy. Now, I am just repeating what he told me, but it was obvious this place with a long history of immigration, had some problems it was ‘still needing to work through’ and I suspected that this was an understatement. He certainly seemed very disenfranchised and disseffected and if he was younger and did not have commitments to parents would certainly consider emigration. In Britain, I suspect that these issues will never be addressed and the only way forward is to make peace with the fact that the Britain may of us knew has now long gone and quite frankly, will never be resurrected. Now, we have somehow to make the best of where we are today but I suspect the increasing dominance of Islam in Britain will make that increasingly difficult. Certainly, we as Christians do need to be talking about this more. The haircut was great, the conversation was honest, without rancour but troubling.
I went to find a Nero’s so as to check my email and make a few calls about tomorrow. There was one just around the corner from the Cathedral and I managed with just a black Americano by my side, to contact a Christian Network called ‘Norwich Network Direct’ – it looked like a great website and Keith Morris was exceptionally helpful in saying that he would try and get word out ref my arrival. He also recommended I go to the ‘Forum’ to be available to meet people. I said I would!
In addition to this, I would be in Ely on Saturday and I knew there was a Countess of Huntingdon Connexion Free church there and so I tried to get hold of the Pastor. Interstinglt the book fo the day on Saturday would be 2 John, all about the ‘Elect Lady’ and you know, Selina Countess of Huntingdon was just that. However, that is as story for Saturday.
As I made my way to the Cathedral where I wanted to get a look on the inside of this great edifice before I made the maybe 90 minute drive down to Bury St Edmunds where I was staying with a Pastor friend of mine when my phone went. It was Chris Duffet. He was in town and indeed operating outside the front of a church maybe 200 yards away from where I was standing. Excellent. I made my way toward the church and he met me half way. He was wearing a Dwarffy hat. I would not judge him for this. He was being culturally relevant. And it was also a bit cold.
Chris is an immediately open hearted guy. One of these chaps who makes you question the reality of your own salvation and sanctification. Just wonderful. Apparantly he had been following me on facebook! We chatted for just a wee while as he had committed to speaking to an older man robbed in the orange robe of a Buddhist monk. He obviously had some issues and Chris was had committed to spend time with him.
No problems as this allowed me to get with one of his street partners, a brave lady called Sheila who was giving out free hugs and telling people that Jesus loved them. 42 hugs in a couple of hours. Not bad going really. I think if I stood their offering free hugs, I would probably get a smack in the mouth.
As I stood and watched a Muslim man came by and was embraced by Sheila. He looked a but surprised and went on his way. Two minutes later he was back arguing about alcohol and asking for a copy of the Bible. I gave him one of Chris’s gospels according to John and we exchanged information. He was a Muslim ‘Advocate’ and we talked about Jesus, God, drunkenness and alcohol. All because Sheila gave him a hug. Go figure.
Here is Chris Duffett, and may I say, that you would have to go a long way to find a more humble, encouraging, delightful and dedicated man on the planet. Chris blessed me out of my boots and encouraged my heart greatly. I think the Baptist Union are going to be exceptionally well served through Chris and I would join them just because he was there. A great guy. Ooh and he bought me a Hot chocolate with cream in Café Nero’s when we were chatting with another young minister in training called Kyle. Of course, I had to drink it so’s not to offend him. Did I tell you I was back on a diet next Thursday?
I picked up the car from the Cathedral and was on the road by about 5:30pm. It was dark. I was tired and I still had a number of catch calls to make. I checked my iPad before I got on the road and found out that Network Norwich had come through with their article about my visit tomorrow. The email said “Story now online Victor and I just sent out in e-news to our 2,300 subscribers (including a load of local journalists). Hope you get some response and a warm welcome in Norwich.” Keith Morris you are a superstar. Thank you so much.
One of my many calls on the way down was to the Pastor of the church in Ely, where it was confirmed I would be speaking to a group of prayer walkers at high noon on Saturday. Excellent. I had also decided that on Saturday night I would return home and strike out to the final three cities from my own bed. I couldn’t wait to see Bridget.
I arrived in Norwich around 7pm and it was great to see my old buddy Simon Ladd. I will try and describe Simon tomorrow, the man with more energy and vision in his little finger than I seem to have in my whole body. His wife is a teacher and had just gotten back from a long day and a parents evening, so me and Simon went out for a meal where he treated me to steak and chips over a bottle of wine followed by Cointreau coffee with cream. My stomach is suffering for Jesus and did I tell you that was going on a diet next Thursday!
At the end of our meal I received a text from somewhere in Norwich which read
“Hi! I would be interested in meeting you and possibly helping you meet Christians around the city. Give me a ring if I can help. Every blessing for your day with us in our fine city…Carrie, chaplain to the streets (working with 22 different Norwich churches)”
Network Norwich was already doing its magic.
Around 10:30 I lined up my videos for an overnight upload and was asleep by 11:00pm. Brilliant.
Peterborough – Park Lane Baptist YouTube Bible
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