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England — Part 1

The truth be told, we’re actually in London right now … well, Hampton, really, which is close to Twickenham (Right. Be a love and don’t argue just now, eh?) But before I go back to York, I must show you this car I spotted as we left Edinburgh. See the license plate? That made me laugh out loud. Get it?)

Just as we got to the border of Scotland and England, we saw this bagpiper on the other side of the road making sure all the Englanders coming into Scotland got a good Scottish welcome. His rock said “Scotland;” the one on the other side said “England.” But my picture of that rock didn’t come out very well.

This was our first view of York. You can’t believe how beautiful it is, how medieval looking. There’s a wall that runs all along the inner part of the city. Since it was built for horses, and not cars, the roads are extremely narrow. That, coupled with the whole “let’s drive on the left side of the street” thing, means that a quick trip to the grocer down the street becomes a real adventure.

We drove around that inner ring wall for a looooong time before we discovered that 11 Barbican was on that strip of flats we’d already passed twenty times. We were very happy to read the “Calvary Chapel York” sign in the window when we finally made the connection. Dave Sylvester was out back putting some finishing touches on the new section of the sanctuary they’d just opened up, so after we said hello, we took his advice and headed across the street to the Barbican, which is situated right on the inner wall. They have a long term lease from the city of York to use this building. Initially, it was their church meeting place, but when they couldn’t cram any more people into the 25′ x 25′ room, they moved the church out and began using it for a coffee shop.

I could stay forever in that room above the Barbican. The atmosphere is amazing. This is an historic site, as it’s the only remaining Barbican in all of England. By the way, since I know you’re wondering, a barbican is an enclosed gate area that extended out from the wall. There would be a gate at one end that marauding armies would have to break down in order to get into the city. But after breaking down that gate, they’d have to slog through a moat and try to avoid all the hot oil being poured over the upper wall from Yorkshire gatekeepers, then try to break through a second gate right on the inner wall.

CC York and the Bible College use the building across the street, which is fantastic (my new English word … everything is “fantastic” or “brilliant.” I’ll see if I can slip you a “brilliant” now and then). They actually own an entire block on Barbican street, including maybe ten or twelve flats, a large “L” shaped building they use for a sanctuary and kitchen, and then another very large building across a courtyard that is currently being leased by a hearse company. From our studio, we had a perfect view into the hearse garage. Here’s a picture, shot just as they were getting ready to back the hearse out for a funeral. There’s something very symbolic about a church and a hearse company sharing the same parking lot. It’s a picture of the choice that stands before every man. Which will you choose–death, or life?

And that looks like a good place to end for now. More later …

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