The Churches of England

In honor of it being Sunday, let's take a three-part tour of some of my favorite church moments during our time in London.  Any good sermon...I mean blog post.....has three posts right? 1) Andy is a big fan of Charles Spurgeon.  He was a famous theologian who lived in the mid-late 1800's and was purported to have preached to around 10 million folks in his lifetime.  Which seems like nothing in the era of BIlly Graham crusades and TV sermons.  But that's a lot of horse & buggy's.    So we took a detour to visit his church Metropolitan Tabernacle.  It was built to hold up to 6,000 people - basically the first megachurch.

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We got there too early to be able to go in, but I do this thing when we visit historical sites of trying to picture it in it's heyday.  And this beautiful old building, that is now across from a bus station and a huge electronic billboard, was at one-time full of Victorian-era Baptists.  And I can't help but think of the powerful words echoed in that very place and the lives that were changed (and still are...it's an operating church to this day).

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If you want to visit, it's in the Southwark (pronounced Suth-uck) area of town just down from the Elephant & Castle bus stop/tube stations.

"There never lived a man who was too holy, and there never will live a man who will imitate Christ too closely, or avoid sin too rigidly." ~ Spurgeon

Tip: Don't be afraid to go off the beaten path if there is a site you want to visit, even if it's not in the travel guides.  Personalizing your trip to your interests will provide you with some of your most memorable moments.

2) Next up was a spontaneous find.  We jumped off the Underground at the Tottenham Court Road stop on our way to the British Museum.  When we came up the stairs to street level, there were so many people standing around we couldn't hardly make it through the crowd. And then we figured out why.  We had stumbled on none other than.....

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Hillsong Church London, just after a service let out.  They meet in a theatre, so it was quite the contrast from Spurgeon's church, but no less awesome.  The only thing that could have toped finding this, was being able to attend a service.  And maybe, just maybe, they would have sung one of my favorites....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QemZQKKJbRU

3) Our last stop on the whirlwind tour today is St. Paul's Cathedral.  Constructed by the famous Christopher Wren and made famous by Mary Poppins (at least for me!), this was on my must see list.

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We opted not to tour the inside and save that time for other 'must-do's' on our list.  But it was remarkably beautiful.  Plus I got to feed the birds.  Ok, not really.  I pretended to.  And there wasn't a bird lady.  But I had my tuppence ready to go!

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I'll save discussions of Notre Dame in Paris later this month.  Have you visited other churches in London worth a detour?  I can't hardly believe it - 6 posts down, 25 to go on tips for London & Paris!