Goodness me, I haven’t posted anything in 11 days. In the words of one of my professors: “Well! That’s poor.” (I promise it sounds funnier with a British accent.)
One of the things Allan and I were looking forward to when thinking about living in London for a year was the opportunity to explore Christian faith traditions outside of the ones we grew up in by finding a church to attend together. We were hoping to quickly settle into a church congregation and be able to call it home for the time that we were living here.
We had a few items on our church ‘wishlist’. We wanted it to be within walking distance of our flat so that we were attending a church that was in our physical community, thereby forming relationships with neighbours who are not students. We wanted there to be other young adults in a similar stage of life but also hoped that we could interact with people of all different backgrounds and walks of life. And we wanted to feel challenged by the preaching and message but also comfortable with the theology and style of worship.
Allan and I spent most of the fall and start of winter visiting churches, hoping that we would fall in love. We went to famous churches and tiny churches, high Anglican churches and charismatic churches, contemporary churches and traditional churches. None of them gave us that warm, heady feeling of being “the one.” Finally, we decided that, like romantic love, having the right ‘feeling’ is only part of the equation and that for the relationship to work we also had to do our part to commit, and invest.
Since the start of this calendar year Allan and I have been attending a local church that is a 10-minute walk from our residence and ministers to a diverse mix of cultures as well as inner-city populations. We’ve made a conscious effort to slowly integrate ourselves into the community, starting with staying for coffee and tea after service, then lunch, and gradually getting to know other young adults as well as the church leadership.
This past Monday we took our relationship with our new church to the next level by joining the young adults small group. We had a lovely time of dinner and discussion and we look forward to getting to know our new friends even better. Allan volunteered beforehand to make dessert and he brought a batch of his amazing Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. The recipe is from his great-grandmother, so it’s probably about 100 years old – and who knows how long it was around before her! Allan’s a pretty good cook but these cookies are by far the best thing he makes (even better than his pizza – and that’s saying a lot). They’re fragrant and buttery with an amazing texture from the perfect ratio of oats to flour; the cookies possess those elusive crisp edges with chewy interiors that are always desired but mostly lacking from other cookies in its class. Fortunately the recipe makes a lot and Allan had some leftover dough, which was sitting in the fridge until he baked it off tonight. I’m eating one right now. It’s pretty perfect dunked in some milky Earl Grey tea. I have a feeling these cookies – along with its bearers – will be making more appearances at church functions.