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Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving in London

The past two weeks have been a blur of activity. We've shared in many new and exciting experiences for which I will always be grateful. The Sunday before Thanksgiving, our church traditionally hosts a Thanksgiving potluck lunch after church. I spearheaded the event alongside of a wonderful and dedicated group of volunteers who spent Saturday and Sunday making this a wonderful occasion. On Saturday, we cooked turkeys and hams, made potatoes, chopped vegetables for stuffing, decorated tables and all in all had a great time preparing for the Sunday feast. And a feast it was! Loads of food, great fellowship and a good time was had by all. Because I had cooked one of the 18 pound turkeys on Friday night, I had decided that we would have a mini-Thanksgiving feast that night instead of the following Thursday! It was delicious and I was super pleased with how good my gravy turned out! After eating turkey and all the fixings on Sunday as well, I felt well sated with Thanksgiving food!
So when Thanksgiving day rolled around, I had decided not to cook, especially because the real highlight of Thanksgiving day this year was participating in the worship service that the American community hosts at St. Paul's cathedral.
Before the service...
 This is an annual event that highlights a wonderful partnership between the US and the UK.
Photo: Graham Lacdao, St. Paul's
St. Paul's is such an iconic London place and the beauty that Christopher Wren created is a joy to experience.
Photo Credit: Graham Lacdao, St. Paul's
Doug and I had minor roles in the service with me reading a piece of scripture and Doug sharing about the charity that the offering would support, London churches refugee fund. But to participate in the processional, to have a place on the podium, to be front and center for this grand tradition was indeed a thrill.
Photo: Graham Lacdao, St. Paul's
The current Ambassador in London, Matthew Barzun, was the ambassador in Stockholm for some of the years that we were there so it was fun to connect with him again. 
Perhaps you did not know that St. Paul's has an American chapel that commemorates the deaths of Americans who gave their lives in WWII. This is part of the deep partnership that St. Paul's has shared with the American community through the years. 
We had a good friend in town for the week. He's an International pastor in the Methodist church in Vienna, Austria, so after the service we ventured up to the local pub for our Thanksgiving dinner! We enjoyed beef pies and sticky toffee pudding. It was a great way to relax and enjoy a day dedicated to being thankful. A long nap ensued after we stuffed ourselves.
Thanksgiving was really different this year and in some ways I was glad it was totally different than it had been in year's past. It was often important to make the meal on Thanksgiving day and fill our table with guests but this year, celebrating with our church family and enjoying the worship at St. Paul's was great. I am thankful for this opportunity and will treasure it always.