Monday, September 04, 2006

where to start?

Nancy was just over hanging out at the house chiding me (rightly so) for not having written anything despite the fact that I've been back in the country for over a week. So. Do I start with yet another apology for not having posted in two weeks? Or do I jump straight to pictures? Maybe accounts of the madness and mayhem (not really) that were Alaska and England? Or is it just far too late for a synopsis of any kind at this point?

I'll shoot for the brief overview - with a picture or two for good measure - in the hopes that I can get relatively caught up to the present.

With the help of Erin and Randy (my boss), I ventured into the middle of Alaska with 12 kids during the last week in July. Our goal was to help the Diocese of Alaska continue building a retreat and conference center in Manley Hot Springs, about 150 miles from Fairbanks. In short, it was the best of the youth mission trips that I've been a part of since I started working at St. James's. It was a fantastic group. The kids didn't work terribly hard...but they got along so well as a group that it didn't really matter. My article for St. James's September newsletter (on page 11) has a few more details about the sequence of events.

The next adventure of the summer was the choir trip to England. St. James's Parish Choir was in residence at Canterbury Cathedral for a week singing evensong services each evening. The previous weekend, we sang the Saturday and Sunday services at Westminster Abbey in London. These are arguably the two most well-known churches in Anglican Christendom: Canterbury is considered the heart of the Anglican Communion because it is the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Westminster Abbey has been the site of the coronations of English monarchs for seven or eight centuries. Several of us attended the Friday evensong service at Westminster Abbey the day that we arrived in London in order to mentally prepare ourselves for our own singing experience the following afternoon. Walking past Big Ben and the houses of parliament to face the Abbey was a little daunting. In our nerdy, choirboy hearts, there was a sense that this was it. This was "the big time" as far as Anglican church gigs go. Remember that scene in Hoosiers where the team makes it to the state championships and, when they walk awestruck into the arena, Gene Hackman's character has them measure the height of the basket and the length of the foul line just to reassure them? It was kind of like that.

More specifics about the trips will surface as autumn progresses and the level of daily excitement in my life slows to a trickle due to work demands. In the meantime, two other pieces of not-so-uplifting news:

1. Nickel Creek is apparently planning to end their run as a band in order to pursue separate paths. I look forward to seeing what comes of this new arrangement musically, but I can't help feeling as if good friends of mine are breaking off a long relationship. It will be sad to see them go.

2. In even sadder news, it's hard to believe that Steve Irwin (aka, The Crocodile Hunter) has met his untimely demise. The guy wrestled enormous gators and crocs for years. He picked up deadly snakes like they were walking sticks. He swam (albeit often by accident) in piranha-infested waters. And he did it all with the energy and excitement of a ten-year-old. That he died in a chance encounter with a buried stingray while doing a shoot for a children's show instead of filming "The Ocean's Deadliest" is a crushing irony. I probably haven't watched his show in five years, but I miss him already.

1 comment:

austinstair said...

You better do better than that, Old Man! You owe us more info and you owe ME an email!!