Thomas and Daniel spent Wednesday-Saturday in London in final preparations for the church plant. They looked at homes for our families, met with churches, and spent time praying and sharing through the neighborhoods. Here's a look at some of what happened, what's next, and how you can pray with us...
The guys left departed Raleigh on Tuesday night and landed in London on Wednesday morning. After dropping bags at the hotel, they headed to our neighborhood of Queen's Park to look at some potential homes for our families. Real estate in London is stupid expensive and we are planning to rent a property for the first two years while we figure things out.
For the rest of the day the guys were in meetings in Wimbledon at Co-Mission - our London-based church planting Network. The meetings were good for updating strategy, thinking about next steps, and finalizing a few systems we're building. That evening the guys had dinner in the home of a friend that Thomas made on his last visit to London: Jeremy Thomas. Jeremy is a lawyer turned church-historian who writes and serves his local church.
On Thursday morning we gathered for Bible study and prayer with All Souls before heading into The City for some time with Carl Porter. Fun fact: London and The City of London are important terms. The City refers to the old square mile of London that is where the Romans initially settled the city and is now home to the financial district. The City is distinctly marked and actually has a few rules and customs that differ it from the rest of London that surrounds it.
We had coffee with Carl Porter who is a business leader in the city and is the Teaching Director at The Word One to One. After some time catching up personally, we attended the lunchtime talks at St. Helen's. These talks are designed to provide working professionals an opportunity to hear a bible talk, ask questions, and make connections all under one hour. We loved it.
We then had meetings with the Church of England and a Co-Mission church pastor before meeting Carl again for dinner. Carl is a wonderful model of what living life on mission in the workplace could look like. Look him up on LinkedIn, check out his ministry, and consider getting involved with him.
Friday morning was spent with Hugh Palmer, rector of All Souls. Hugh is a wonderful person. He was kind to hear our plans of planting a new church in Queen's Park and accepting of our desire to land with All Souls when we arrive in London. We are so excited about this! We will settle with All Souls for the first season of our time in London. This will allow a soft-landing for our entire family: Bible studies for the wives, Christian friends for the kiddos, ministries to learn from for the guys, and an overall welcoming and encouraging community of people. We are thankful for the ministry of All Souls.
The rest of the day was spent in meetings with Redeemer City to City, the International Mission Board, and Co-Mission. Each of these groups provides varying degrees of support and partnership as we endeavor to plant this new church. Perks, our church planting director with Co-Mission is especially insightful and eager to help us in the cause. We are grateful to God for the connections He is making for us.
We ended the day with some time with our friend: Ben Virgo. Ben leads the Christian Heritage of London. Ben provides guided walks throughout The City, oversees a podcast, and is an all around great guy. We talked theology, family, church planting, and caught up on what we're reading. We love Ben.
Saturday morning began with an Indian brunch with a friend and a walk through Trafalgar square. We headed out to Queen's Park to spend the day praying, sharing, dreaming, and believing God for great things in the years ahead.
This was an important trip for us. A lot of the deep foundational work is giving way to a new phase where there is actually an emerging foundation for us to begin building on. Initial connections are becoming solid partnerships. Friendships are taking root as well and we are feeling the nuance of London in ways we have not before. We are getting closer to life in London. The guys shared more about their experiences on the recent podcast episode.
Elizabeth's grandfather (mom's dad) passed away while Thomas was in London. Elizabeth drove Perry and Shepherd down to Montgomery on Saturday and Thomas re-routed his return flight into Atlanta to spend some time with Elizabeth's family. Thomas will presided over the graveside service today (Tuesday) and we will head back to Raleigh later this week. We're also working on the home and trying to get it ready for market. As always: It's a lot.
Pray With Us
Would you pray with us for the week ahead? Pray a prayer of thanksgiving for God's gracious provision last week in London. The veil between life here and there is getting thinner and God is giving favor as we press in with hard work. Pray with us for the Hart family as we mourn the and find ways to rejoice. Pray especially for Granny who survives Grandaddy after 70 years of marriage. Pray also for our family as we catchup from this recent trip, return to Raleigh, and prepare our house for market.
As always: Thank you for being on this journey with us. Your prayers, text messages, emails, phone calls, and clear signs of encouragement keep us moving. We are thankful for you and pray for you as we all work together plant this new church in London.
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?