Daughter Lynda, husband J-D, with son John-Paul lived in Grenoble, France for a year, so we were grateful to visit them twice for a week before spending another week in several European locations.
Cousin Bonnie took us to the South Bend airport, from where we went by bus to O’Hare in Chicago. On a KLM flight by 4 pm in the middle section of four seats with one seat next to me vacant. Slept for 2 ½ hours before arriving in Amsterdam. After a shorter flight to Geneva, Switzerland, we arrived with luggage in hand, including a large one loaded with Lynda/J-D’s things. Frustrated by seeming lack of signage for getting to the train to Grenoble, we each lugged hand luggage plus and large case up/down escalators twice before seeing in small print confirmation of being at the right place for the right train.
Saw many vineyards en route—rows up/down extensive hillsides on either side of the track plus sections of tree-covered mountain side, small quaint towns, and farms or non-planted areas. Arrived on time glad to find Lynda at the station. Busy traffic to their house, Lynda skilled with a somewhat temperamental car owned by the family from whom they are renting a house for J’D’s sabbatical year—a large house with four bedrooms upstairs, the first floor with a small kitchen, dining-living room, office, bath with shower, and laundry.
The house provides John-Paul with plenty of play opportunities—his room with train tracks, small vehicles, puzzles, etc.; a main room with Legos, table activities, DVDs for TV; outside: swing/slide/plastic house/trucks; and a large back area where he imagines activities. I raked that area which was fairly dry while he kept active with rake, shovel, buckets, and pine cones. A patio-like section of tiled area offered space for an outdoor table that we used for a number of meals, next to the door into the kitchen.
Our first morning we slept-in until 10 am, countering jet lag in one night. John-Paul (4 ½) was off to school both am/pm—about a 10-minute walk for Lynda that he rode in a stroller. His routine seems established for being involved at school with only one incident when the head Pascal helped him “settle in.” On Saturday the five of us walked/bused to the center of Grenoble for sight-seeing, including riding “bubbles” up to the citadel/fort from the 1800s. Lunched at the top and hiked around, John-Paul’s energy strong throughout; he knows which are busses 33 and 11 and the street name of when to get off—for home.
On Sunday we five hiked up a near mountain through some village area including to an interesting cemetery while dal soup simmered. Monday morning Lynda and I took John-Paul to school, J-D having bussed off to work. Lynda took us to the bus that went to the airport for our flight To England: rigid Ryan Air served only purchased food or drink; having stowed my purse inside hand-luggage, I was without glasses or something to read. OK flight to Stansted (outside London) from where took a train to Cambridge. Taxi took us to booked room at Benson House where left luggage and returned to the train station for short trip to Ely.
Amazing, long exterior of the Ely Cathedral; we sat inside enjoying Evensong which had begun. I later learned that Henry Martyn had been ordained in that massive space. Glad that Eve had recommended our seeing this amazing structure (next to leisurely horse/cows in meadow area) with stained glass, sculptures, etc. I wondered w y we are less informed about this fine cathedral. Purchased a meal before returning the 15-minute train ride to Cambridge and pleasant Benson House where Julie did all the hosting work—cleaning/beds/prepared breakfast—Room 3 even had heated pipes to dry towels in a small bathroom. Tea cups, cupboard for hanging clothes, heavy-blanketed bed, and TV with five stations.
Off Tuesday morning to walk the grounds of several colleges (all part of Cambridge University) to Westminster College office to get the key for the Henry Martyn Centre upstairs. Conversation/tea first with archivist Sue S. and Director Emma Wildwood before getting into books about Henry Martyn. Fine background resources; I worked through both days without lunch until it closed at 4 pm. Scanned a list of materials to peruse the next day in file folders and wrote ten pages of penciled notes. Even processed HM materials during two hours awake at night. After second breakfast of fruits, omelet, cold cereal, and “real” tea, off again to HMC, Jane the librarian there to help xerox thirty sheets and answer questions helpfully. Less productive during last hour because distracted by uncertainty about what materials to scan first in limited time. Sue returned briefly; I gave her copies of my “Par . . .”/”Seeing is Believing”/ Rooted & Branching book for either the Centre, Emma, or her. I am quite pleased with what I gathered here about Henry Martyn; quite sure could not otherwise write an article about him (for Mennonite awareness or broader views about Mission without it. Discovered that not as much material about HM’s countering Church of England Board (as was the case with Ziegenbalg). Gained a clearer picture of what a chaplain for East India Company meant and did. Health issues became prominent for HM. Greater amount of insight into connection with Islamic leaders during his year in Persia, when in Islamic center, than during his pioneer years in several locations and years in India. Alert to his visceral negation of poverty in the Hindu context. Regret not reading more out of his twenty sermons book; he was more academic about biblical texts than I might expect for speaking to the “poor” audience gathered. Most interesting material about his translation work (with one fellow/native Christian and other “moonshee”). He was valued a great deal for his New Testament translations into three languages: Hindoostani, Persian, and Arabic. He lived/slept translation details. I left assured to feel free to email HMC or S. Sutton anytime regarding HM material.
Both days after 4 pm to shopping area with John but with our luggage limitations, not much point. Ate first evening at a curry restaurant and second at a pub (early). While I researched HM, John had spent large blocks of both days out walking Cambridge and to a history museum, plus doing a little computer work at HMC. Had our hand luggage with us through the 2 ½ hours until back on hour’s train ride into London/Victoria where excited to be met by Avinash Kessop.
What a nice, rented flat they have, right along the Thames looking over its variable tide levels, small boats, seagulls, and nearby residents walking by. Conversed until around 11 p.m. each evening, processing the day or updating about things back in Goshen area. Fine breakfast options before heading out for busy Thursday and -Friday. Saturday. morning caught our breath a bit before heading out on our own, Avinash and Grace involved all day helping with food for marriage events of young couple of their Chinese church. I started this journal and sent email to Lynda.
Headed Thursday morning to meet Joy Barrow at Methodist Center. See notes of conversation. Very grateful to her for two hours, answering my multiple questions about several interfaith organizations and especially helpful background about extensive knowledge of/interaction with/living among Sikhs. Gave, almost with apology my “Par . . .” paper in light of her time/gift of a book titled Meeting Sikhs. Getting a clear sense of significant number of Christians committed to/involved with interfaith whereas A & G had spoken of non-religious dimension of many Londoners (perhaps reflecting “the city/business” world of his work place Barclays Bank.
Writing paragraph here about 1 ½ hours Friday morning with Simon Keyes at St. Ethelbargas, before detailing afternoon/evening of the two days. What a distinct Center in the center of other city high-rises! See notes of impressive activities going on here—the program to start next week in earnest again. He gave multiple materials, to absorb and share with others. He especially grateful to Menno John Paul Lederach for assistance with reconciliation principles/practice for this organization’s focus on Relational. He also grateful for current London Mennonite Centre links though not familiar with Alan Kreider. An amazing, gifted, energetic leader willing to give individual like me research attention. He formerly engaged with social work/mental health and photography/filming, before past five years with St. Ethelbargas fund-raising, and personable connection to diverse religious people—including Prince Charles who attended opening of renovation plus imams off the street. There for prayer in tent. Interested also that Grace had attended programs, though she not confident to tell church small group about her links these two days to interfaith unless first tell their pastor.
London – Grace a fine guide with train/bus mazes Thurs/Fri: “Oyster” card, started w 20 pounds and added 10 disc and pass through (train) or board (bus). Lengthy escalators, network of underground levels to diverse lines. We recalled first return (1965) from India. Cloth covered seats—announcements of “make space for pregnant women/handicapped/those less able to stand.” “Mind the gap”. . . Next station is . . . & name of final destination” . . . # 44 or 170 for getting to Chatfield where Avinash/Grace live. At one point the bus we riding simply stopped with report posted on front “not in service” so passengers exit to make alternate plans . . . several trains very crowded around 5-6 pm, packed in near exit doors standing, intent to maintain balance, with an arm raised or hand reached out to post.
Thursday lunch at Wagamama, then to National Gallery (art of varied centuries, mostly European. I especially valued one by vanElder “Judas and Tamar” (deceit for him to impregnate her, she kept his signet ring as proof). No copies of prints or cards to buy. Then to British Museum where an amazing quantity of valuable, historic materials. We focused on ancient history from Middle East (not Egypt) and Asia (south) with lots of Hindu/Buddhist items—See photos. Saw only a portion of possible displays in these two free museums. Why no charge—gift to interested public—when at one station had to pay 2# for use of toilet. Nothing cramped about displays either. Grace and I heard most of a lecture about a painting of a bishop performing a miracle for a child brought by his mother (forget painter’s name). Avinash had arrived by time we returned then to nearby Fresh restaurant for dinner, visiting until to bed.
Time on Thursday was spent in the Trafalgar Square area. Lots of people milled around, some hearing a spokesman from a short rooftop. After good time with Simon Keyes to station area where J bought replacement tickets for return train to Stansted. Then to St. Paul’s Cathedral where many gathered on the expansive cement stairway, some likely workers nearby for lunch hour. Into St. Paul’s but not buying 12# ticket to enter the main area. From small chapel listened to twenty minutes of a choir. Amazing how voices can fill such large interior space. Surprised by gold-covered décor that marked the nave/altar area. After crossing on the Millennia Bridge, pedestrian only, with views up/down the river into much smaller, quite old Southwark Cathedral.
Walked for some distance, passing where Shakespeare’s plays had performed for some years, before stopping at large market area with lots of fruits, including mangos from Pakistan, tomatoes of all sorts, large slabs of bacon hanging, big rounds of cheeses and greens galore. Grace may come back to purchase later. Walking alongside the Thames River, closer to the Tower Bridge where in time to watch its side rise for a large cruise ship (Massau) to passthrough. Went through back streets until boarding a bus to Waterloo station. Walked past the London Eye, a huge circle of “balls” that carried passengers (1/2-hour trip) over to Parliament area. There Grace left us to help prepare food for a church wedding the following day.
We toured around Westminster Abey, but couldn’t enter until 4:30 because Evensong was to begin at 5:00. Into Dan’s Yard area and briefly into shop without purchasing. Fair number of people seated for Evensong (including a couple who appeared to be Mennonite, she with short, dark cover over hair, socks & sneakers. Choir of males, boy sopranos and a few adults for tenor/base. Scripture readers escorted to pulpit by robed man with a scepter, the same man who looked at me from distance and said “No” after I had photographed another pulpit part way down the aisle where a burial plot for Charles Darwin etc.
Hustled by train from there to “the city”/O2 where to Barclays Bank to meet Avinash. What a stream of security through that building, including a bag check through machine in large lobby where we stood at “Collection Point” while suited-with-ties employees left in a fairly continuous stream from elevator sections. At each point stood a security person overlooking all movement. When Arvinash arrived, we walked a while in front of the largest buildings of London where business gets transacted; Barclays has five buildings in area. Also walked through public area where workers, many likely in 20s, stopped for drink/meal. Then through another below ground level where shops upon shops of very expensive objects/clothes. All of this area, “the city,” newly-built within past few years. Avinash not part of this big spending area, though he must get paid-a-plenty. Then walked through O2 area where were located restaurants galore and thousands of Londoners plus foreigners. Some activities for children and numerous shows from which to select. We three ate at Nandos, John and I perhaps among the oldest people present. Had chicken, shur, and garlic bread. By time back (10 pm) via multiple trains and bus 44, Grace already there. Again, we talked until toward midnight; how special to be guests of these two!
Since our days have been quite energy-sapping, we decided to remain in the Kessop “flat” through the forenoon. Grace makes interesting samosa-like breads and chai. On several occasions, she mixed drinks of various fruits/vegetables too They were gone by 9:30 for wedding event, again to help w food/serving tasks for group of 400, mostly Chinese Christians. We snacked before leaving around 12:45, l had spent time getting journal written. Then boarded “44” to Victoria, glad that it didn’t “dump” all passengers en route or need to be abandoned for another bus line due to stalled traffic as had occurred Friday morning. Above ground, walked to Buckingham Palace where hundreds swarming around. No ceremony for “changing of guard” until the next day, so off walking through Hyde Park for quite a distance to Princess Diane’s memorial garden/fountain area where small children splashed. Walked past few guys playing American football, fairly large gardens with pronounced reds and lavenders in different sections. A few benches available or occasional restaurant with lots of outdoor tables at which to rest.
Bus/train again (J having arranged travel plans with Grace who familiar with “city-wise” organizing. To street with multiple book stores for couple hours’ looking, first among some old/used places before to noted Blackwells and Foyles. Mostly jotted down title/author of good options to order on return to States. To a Chinese restaurant for early dinner before to Barbican Hall (played by Academy of St. Martin in the Field” orchestra) for evening concert, with hour’s wait first for browsing new books. Handel concert excellent (see program). Amazing, sustained sound often from strings. Conductor very precise in expectations from different sections. Soloist excellent, he from US, especially outstanding with runs of/within some of Handel’s opera pieces. Composers present whose works being played, each having begun with some feature of a Handel work and from that point creating a modern piece. Each composer was acknowledged after performance of his piece, from more youthful upper-20s artist to more balding heads. One of first, more enjoyed concerts that I’ve attended in some years, even though most of Handel pieces not familiar. We sat in the first row of an upper balcony in hall that interested John construction-wise following his work with GC’s Sauder Hall. Heard two encores, the last being the familiar “Largo.” Back by train/bus to the Kessop “flat” by 10:45, they not returned for another hour. Having helped with food, they brought back some that we enjoyed for two breakfasts.
To another section of London for Chinese church where Grace and Avinash are active. Guest pastor from Australia, text Ps. 1. nothing outstanding. Service started with music—guitars, piano & violin—words off wall for twenty minutes. At end of service, into small groups that meet every other week in homes to comment about the sermon. Then to small kitchen area for tea/snacks. Full meal also served but we four to a Masala Zone for really fine curry thali. The restaurant decorated with hundreds of brightly-dressed puppets hanging from ceiling. Walked through large area where shops of all kinds of crafts, plus several actors/musicians. Bought a small Celtic wooden block print cross, mug, and little plastic item for John-Paul. En route back again “dumped” from bus line, having moved very slowly for a long time due to major traffic snarl—a Chelsea soccer match nearby. Fourth time that we seated in front row of upstairs seats on bus—very good view of architecture, signs on shops, traffic, etc. Long walk along Thames back to “flat” not more than chai/snacks needed after late/large Indian meal.
Watched two-part movie “Mr. & Mrs. Iyer”—about Hindu/Muslim conflict in north India. Wife with child a Hindu and man who agreed to assist her en route disclosed only to her that he Muslim. Also, a Jew and two Sikhs among passengers on bus down the mountain. Packed things before to bed; up before 6 a.m. and with chai/stuffed puff gone for last “44 to Victoria.” Train to Nottingham before outdoor train to Stansted airport, to larger than expected airplane before bus back to Grenoble and again with Lynda and family. Though I regret not helping Lynda this past week, my connections in Cambridge and London with HM research and interreligious ties were most satisfying. Also, very good time with Avinash/Grace.
Surprised to have Lynda meet us at bus station in Grenoble. Unpacked and played with John-Paul on his return from school. Slept for over ten hours. Tuesday large amount of laundry for Lynda to do. After 5:00 we four by bus into major park area for John-Paul to enjoy. Then another bus to meet J-D before to ancient (originally around 43 BCE) walking bridge to St. Laurent area’s pizza store and St. Andre—(originally built 1228 with tomb of famous knight Bayard, the tomb now empty after body disappeared.) Had to rush from dinner because last bus runs before 9 (week nights) to their corner in St. Martins d’Heres. To pay bill J-D and John left later while to avoid missing bus, Lynda, John-Paul in stroller, and I went terribly fast walking—just made it, only to find that the guys had arrived too.
Wednesday being John-Paul’s day off school (each week), the four of us left mid-morning by car for the mountain. Lynda amazed me with driving the mountain roads, not always with guard rail on khud/down side. Also, glad that brakes were replaced last week, though their smell pronounced on way down, not far from reaching the level part. Through multiple villages and occasional meadows with belled cows/sheep. First major stop at Church Saint-Hugues-deChartreuse. Ancient exterior but amazing painting inside by J. M. Pirot-Arabas. Lynda bought us a booklet with brief explanation of each painting. I had recognized biblical themes of many, not all. Most simple cross behind altar—2 metal posts black-smithed together, on metal, 4-legged stand. Ate our picnic lunch near a monument for regional fellow killed in the war. School nearby for dozen plus children. Very old cemetery, some graves with tall monuments, several with name Bruno. What a view: clear sky with cumulous clouds and mountains in background.
Rode a couple kilometers to a museum—Musee de la Grand Chartreuse—900-year-old monastery signs of history. It had endured an avalanche and multiple fires, now located at a slightly lower elevation than at first. We didn’t climb the hill to look down on the monastery, but photos of entire community are part of the fine museum display. Really informative displays in room after room—had an English translation of the explanation. John-Paul quite interested going through the museum where we took pictures. Stopped en route down the mountain at site of a cave, but without flashlight didn’t enter far, much to John-Paul’s disappointment. He kept occupied with “talking to” Maggie and Yertle while returning, avoiding a nap. Mixed vegetables on rice for dinner plus ever-present French bread and cheeses. Thurs. spent day at Lynda’s doing a fair amount of cleaning up & down stairs. Lynda and J-D out for dinner and interaction with a dozen from his work place, quite an international group. Though rest of routine fine, John-Paul had trouble getting to sleep without Mama.
Fri. morning hung up laundry and caught up with this journal. J-D will return early, bringing a rental car and John-Paul will not return for 1:30-4:30 session, so we’ll head south for points like Nimes, Arles, and maybe Avignon. Notes: good hotel Comarge (name of area with wild horses); good breakfast . . . Arles—bridge over Rhone; authentic French dinner; to market for blocks. Sat. an informative day: Carousel; City Hall; coliseum; amphitheater; cloister of monastery; cathedral; baths; photography and sculptures; pizza on terrace. . . .Sun.: to Nimes – walking narrow streets; theater; events; coliseum – gladiator/bull fighting audio explanation; Cathedral; lunch outside/plaza; gardens/waterway; Pont de Gard: aqueduct of three levels, Roman around BCE; back to Grenoble and good stir fry with rice dinner. . . Mon. cleaned; to school/photos of John-Paul; outdoor rake/sweep; ironing; packing large bag (too weighty); Robert (Anne’s brother, J-D’s uncle)/Annette there for dinner; played with John-Paul; good-byes. . .
Tues. Ready to leave for city train station by 5:45; train to Geneva; (see interview notes); bookstore; Catholic (brochure) Reformation Wall; gardens; walking; Thai food; repacked 2nd checked bag . . . Wed. left hotel by 4:30, waiting ½ hour for train to airport; flight to Amsterdam and from there on to Chicago before return bus to South Bend.
Second trip to Grenoble, France April 2010 – Gretchen and LaDene also with us at Lynda, J-D, John-Paul’s place for a week (missing notes!!) must look further for accounts of these good days with family.
To Scotland: Left Grenoble by 6 am by bus with plenty of time before Easy Jet flight to Edinburgh. To car rental location from which we started around part of Scottish countryside, keeping alert to merging traffic from the right while staying to left, around many circles with intersections. Went first to castle at Sterling—after a stop at informative center—walking up long hill, glad for sunshine amidst brisk air. Glad also for winter scarf and gloves for trek. On way near extensive graveyard with very old tombstones, most with stone blackened because weathered by sea air. Sea gulls around with their swoops and arcs, calls and struts. Castle buildings spread out over hilltop area, with large kitchen area and major chapel and meeting room/hall, for occasional performances. New tapestries hung in large hall created with mythic themes. Light sprinkles, but no interference with hikes to/from the castle. Indian meal (sauces too tomato-ish). Out into the countryside to Jean’s Bed & Breakfast. We shared a bathroom with a New Zealand chap staying there to help with “lambing.” Farm of 1,000 acres and 1500 sheep, many of which just then birthing young—hopefully an average of 2/per sheep. Clear smell of rural animal farm. Served tea and scones on arrival in “sitting room.” Large bedroom, among house’s other rooms, décor marked by decorative plates, busy scene-filled pillows, lamps. Personalized link to Jean’s Scottish brogue. Hearty, farmer’s breakfast after night became increasingly chilly. John’s cramps prompted him to sleep for hour in arm chair with bulky blanket. I couldn’t locate switch for shower so settled for half bath. Returned to winding, none-too-smooth and mostly narrow road; J’s driving on left side prompted my concern for the front left car’s edge.
In to Glasgow just prior to scheduled meeting with Edelweisse Thornley, whose government job was as interfaith officer. She from West Indies, pleasant, semi-formal, quite informed about different religions present among those living in Glasgow. She gave materials about civic information as questions arose. Meeting in room next to office of five desks, seated at table.
Walked back to near car park, going among University buildings of city to St. Mungo’s Museum of Religion and Life, one of two such museums here. Saw opening video about major religions before lunching in museum snack shop with Maureen Sier (?), a dynamic, fast-talking, very active, diverse-method-oriented, organizer of all types of area inter-faith activity. Stayed at small table throughout couple-hour conversation, leek soup soon finished. She had been to US for Fulbright interfaith opportunity, to NY/Union (having interviewed Paul Knitter for a video produced by her daughter about interfaith issues—small world!) She a Bahai, “natural” for her interfaith respect. Hardly had time left for seeing the really fine St. Mungos Museum. Amazing all the artifacts from numerous religions on display; disappointed about time limitation, but amazed by conversations including with a sister Isabel at the University of Glasgow who I met in the campus snack shop for two hours. Notes of exchange: she in education setting with colleagues Rose and former Peter Schmidt-Leukel who has now returned to teach in Germany. She has taught Hinduism course, along with other interreligious content. Interesting concluding admission of longing for deeper faith issues discussion/claim/mutual sharing, rather than primarily the bringing together difference for the sake of prompting respect, new information. Sign of our shared age and her shared life as Notre Dame sister.
In spite of rain, we headed for near St. Andrews, taking suitcases to our next Bed & Breakfast before out to dinner at a restaurant operated by Spanish husband married to a Scottish woman. Pleasant B & B as far as décor, but needed to share bathroom both nights with another couple from Scotland. Nights grew increasingly cold, the toilet seat a reminder that the heater barely produced. Collen the B & B host became breakfast-in-charge. A new dish, sort-of cereal substitute, not a big winner with us, but . . . Off before 9 am for St. Andrews, raining en route. Parked car for most of day. Intent to find woolen mills and retail store we learned that it had been out of business for some years so walked back up a long hill. St. Andrews not a big place, with a couple streets for shopping alongside the complex of university options. First to the major church, St. Andrew named after Jesus’ apostle Andrew of whose bones a few were brought from Greece during the sixth century. Active worship group, most glass windows with scripture texts printed/included. To coastal area where major ruins of cathedral remain, especially a couple towers/spires. The space for Catholic must have been large, reminding me of Ely which was advertised as largest (active?) in the U.K. Also, a large, old graveyard, visited mostly by the sea gulls. Stopped in to a University hall where a choral concert scheduled for that night, tickets not needed in advance. Did a little shopping—buying each a sweater. Drove out along/near the coast to a fishing village, stopping at one known mostly for lobster fishing. To a pottery shop (two-story with every cranny filled) and spent about an hour looking around, grass still damp from morning rain.
Had been to an Indian restaurant for lunch, mistake of ordering same, creamy-sauced chicken dish, so got only tea, rolls and ice cream before (early) to University for hour prior lecture about the Mozart compositions to be performed. Chris Field formerly of St. Andrews now a music prof at Edinburgh U. gave very useful lecture about Mozart’s major “Mass in C Minor,” which followed three short pieces. Major soprano solo work, covering two octaves, originally composed with Mozart’s wife Constanze in mind. The soprano and other soloists, especially a tenor, quite good, the bass not involved in as many pieces. Choir of 70 women and 40 men, some older and less careful about cues for rising/sitting. Some coral pieces simply loud, with less fluctuation/attention to effective dynamics. But in light of complexity of piece, over all well done. Especially valued a piece with soprano, bassoon, piccolo, and flute; a single string bass also strong, busy alongside the organist.
Back to B & B by 10 p.m., glad for no rain. Breakfast with scrambled eggs on quantity of cooked spinach. Soon after, left with rain continuing all the way to Edinburgh. Glad for gas station ($50 used) just across long bridge, the bridge near a noted train bridge over 200 years old, of unique curved design. Car back to rental place where we waited for bus to center city. Waiting briefly until Norrie arrived to open for us, we down between buildings on Jackson’s Close off High St. Served tea before we to St. Giles Cathedral (Church of Scotland) nearby for 11:30 service. Choir piece quite modern, brief meditation after formal scripture readings at different pulpits. Looked around cathedral a while before Thai lunch at nearby restaurant. To National Gallery of several centuries of art, including sections of printmaking and Scotland painters. Interesting one with a curling scene. To Robert Burns tower but not up into. Checked where to go next morning for New College, then took subway sandwich back to room, where early to bed after good shower. Room décor quite modern, lots of blacks/white, hard-wood floors, portion of living room by windows becomes dining table area. Back to St. Giles for 6 pm 45-minute performance by a madrigal group of nine singers from Edinburgh University—quite good, effective space for majesty and mystery of sound.
Monday. Following breakfast that encountered haggus and a “blood” chunk atop it, eggs, ham, sausage, toast and cold cereal plus tea and juice, we header for New College Library, arriving before most students who occupied most study carrels through the day. John helped look up book resources that I had prepared in advance and after finding more than a dozen on shelves, I started looking in to them. J. left by 10 to explore the area and returned by 1:45. I had pages ready for him to xerox plus a few more sources to find on the internet. Unusual to have stained glass windows with Christian themes on library windows, up high, as here. When stumped on finding a few items, asked for librarian’s assistance. She persisted to find assorted items with call numbers. Ended up with 85 sheets xeroxed (regret that 2-sided not possible) and notes written on five pages. While out, J. found lunch, but I stayed with library tasks from 9-4, weary from near-constant learning but surprised by how much material had been found.
Stopped at room before early, three-course Indian dinner—paratha with small salad, chicken or shrimp with sauce on rice and ice cream. A Bangladeshi guy served. Back to room to recuperate from concentration of day. Up for 8 am breakfast again, though scheduled to meet Dr. Brian Stanley at 10 am in Divinity Building at New College. He first took us to his office for conversation about World Missionary Conference, Edinburgh 1910 info and answering my questions. Then with two major boxes of copies of Commission IV individual’s responses to questions, I went to the Centre for Study of World Christianity. Brian Stanley has been that Centre’s director 1 ½ year, having come to Edinburgh from HMC in Cambridge. A couple other students worked in Centre throughout hours that I there—11 to 3:50, John having spent the time at other places, including for internet access. He without access to re-enter where I working. I grateful for ten pages of notes taken, but surprised how little of box material I had examined. Must visit Union in NY sometime. But with materials secured so far for which I’m most grateful, I should be able to write something worthwhile about the noted WMC 1910 event for Mennonite readership, thanks in part to others who wrote earlier. Obviously, most Mennonites not exposed to this historic event, though at the time of early mission endeavor. Stan Friesen has worked with the animist/African context, but even Wilbert has given little attention to the ecumenical effort of a century ago.
[Now I have two major articles to prepare (WMC & Henry Martyn).
See copies of both published articles: “The World Mennonite Conference, Edinburgh 1910,” in Interreligious/General and “Henry Martyn’s Short Shrift in India and Persia,” in India/Religion on this website: dorothyyodernyce.com]
After joining J near the John Knox statue, I learned that he had been inside the Hall (being renovated)for photos where the WMC had occurred. To a Writers Museum that features three Scottish notables—Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns, and Robert Louis Stevenson. Glad for that brief encounter with famous writer ‘sons.’ Stopped in room before to a pizza/pasta menu place before going a couple blocks to Blackwells Bookstore—nothing near the block-long sized one in Oxford. Didn’t buy. Returned to room where have arranged for getting own breakfast before heading by bus to airport by 6 a.m. Suitcases fuller by now. Will see whether contacts at World Council of Churches develop again, in light of their all-staff meetings tomorrow. Returning to same hotel in Geneva as stayed a night last Sept.
J prepared breakfast for this final time in Norrie’s good lodging arrangement for us. Out of the B & B by 5:45, relieved to go down hill to the bus that goes every 10 minutes to airport. Raining all the way and still dripping when after 8:00 passengers walked outside to board Easy Jet. All belongings needed to be inside luggage so had neither glasses or anything to read during two-hour flight. Into Geneva and out via train to city centre. Directly to Hotel St. Garvias, where assigned to same 7th floor room as last September. Back also to a Thai restaurant between hotel and bus station for light lunch before taking bus to World Council of Churches.
In light of all staff planning/training meetings this week; grateful to talk briefly with Rima Barsoum a Muslim from Syria, the Programme Executive for Christian-Muslim Relations, part of Interreligious Dialogue & Cooperation Department. Herself a researcher, she deals with issues of equal rights, accountability, differences and commonalities between the two religions, how dialogue within and between them empowers, and further work with The Common Word, a notable letter created and sent by Muslim leaders. (See notes from discussion with her plus conversation with friend Aruna Gnanadason of India about Women’s programmes—issues of feminism, patriarchy, fears and amazing voices—and Mennonite Hans Ulrich Gerber engaged with peace and violence: DOV.)
Saw icons on display in the chapel, one painting with very expensive works of art. I valued the Abraham/Sarah and three angels painting but didn’t consider paying the requested $1500. To the bookstore where bought a couple (Ecumenical ‘Pilgrim’ by Jon Brin & Daymar Heller and Pursuing the Dream—a Jewish-Christian conversation by Dan Cohn-Sherbok & Mary Grey. Then to the library, recently named to honor former WCC leader P. Potter, where noted several titles to order back in States and had a journal (RC) article about Edinburgh 1910 (Ross & Kim) xeroxed. Checked about Current Dialogue journal ordered last Sept.
Back to room for short while before dinner, again at reasonably priced Thai restaurant with young, effective workers. Entered Notre Dame Cathedral across the street to find worship in process. Observed the ritualistic service, participants clearly knowing their recurring responses. Back to “upper room” for night to be ready for 6:30 breakfast before meeting Lynda who had driven in to Geneva bringing a suitcase full of their winter clothes to take back to the States. Our flights and return to Goshen were restful, thankful for good family connections and privileged research.