Tuesday, January 03, 2012

UK Christmas - Scotland!

It's time to leave London and head north.  We were so excited about having the train ride and seeing the countryside and were not one bit disappointed.  The train was delightful, the young couple across from us were fun to visit with, and the time fairly flew by!  But best of all was to alight at Armadale, and see Julia waving at us from the parking lot!  What a great welcome!

Julia is part of our family...she was raised in Crane MO (and we all know that Crane is the Center of the Universe!)  Her Dad (Glenn Wiley) and Jerry's Dad were cousins.  Suffice it to say, we are all family.  Julia is a few years older than our daughters...she attended Presbyterian School of Christian Education ahead of Carla..her brother and Carla were classmates together at Drury.  After some years serving as a Christian Educator, Julia went on to Columbia seminary for her M.Div.  In July 2009, Julia came to Scotland for a year of familiarization with the Church of Scotland and upon completion, received a Certificate of Eligibility to enable her to serve as a pastor here.  She was called to the Armadale Parish Church of Scotland in Armadale, Scotland, halfway between Glasgow and Edinburgh.  Carla was the first of our family to come and visit Julia...and last year Jo & Scott came for a visit.  Finally we have made it!

Julia lives in a marvelous manse...its a huge home by anyone's standards...it has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, study, dining room, living room, large kitchen,  huge entryway, and a laundry room, with a fully fenced back yard to accommodate the animals who reside here:  Asher and Anna, long-haired dachshunds, and Timothy, the black cat.

We shared in a truly wonderful worship experience at the Armadale Church.  It is obvious that there is a strong bond of love and community between Julia and the church family, and our hearts were warmed by their welcome to us, and their kind and supportive words for their pastor.  In the Church of Scotland, Julia is pastor to the congregation at Armadale Church but has oversite and pastoral responsibilities to all who live within the Parrish, which is much larger than the Church family itself.  For that reason, Julia has conducted more than 75 funeral services since her arrival a year and a half ago.

Sunday afternoon we took a drive around the area, visiting at the churches that Julia had worked with during her familiarization year - Winchburgh, Kingscavil, and Abercorn (where there have been worshipers for centuries!) 

Our New Year's Eve was celebrated with one of Julia's special friends, Muriel, who invited us all over for dinner, including the dogs.  She blessed us with a starter of sweet potato soup, followed by a meal of Winter Warmer (beef pie), mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, and green beans & carrots - just marvelous.  We watched a rerun of this past summer's Military Tattoo  - and we think we will celebrate our 50th anniversary by coming to the Tattoo in 2013.  What a fine way to bring in the New Year!

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