On Wednesday we decided to head out and spend the day just as a family. Clare wrote out some directions and we were off. Our first order of business was a promised return trip to Battersea Park. We rented some bikes. Ady and I got a tandem and the girls each got some cool little 3-wheelers. After circling the entire park we headed to the playground. The girls were able to jump on an inflatable this time as well (it was closed last time we were there). Following lunch we jumped on the bus and tube (subway) headed downtown. We walked down Whitehall Street and got our picture taken with one of the guards. We then went to Westminster Abbey to attend the 5pm service. Arriving a bit early gave us a chance to look around a bit and talk to the girls about the service which would be different than they had ever experienced. The service was very pleasant. The liturgy was nice and really allowed us time for contemplation. This was made more meaningful for me personally as I just finished reading Tony Jones’ book Soul Shaper. In the book he goes through various spiritual disciplines from many traditions giving the theology behind them, and encourages the readers to experiment with them to see what works in enhancing the individual’s personal as well as corporate connection with God. Two things I really enjoyed about the service in particular were the reading of the Word – a passage from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament – without any exegesis or explanation. They simply gave each person the space to hear from God in a personal way. The other thing I liked was how during the closing prayer (which was mostly focused outward) the minister brought us back to the readings and guided us into prayerfully considering their application in prayer. It was quite a special experience for us, and I am so glad we (especially Claudia and Natalia) got to experience a different expression of the faith. After the service we still had a couple of hours to kill before sunset when we would be able to see the city at night, so we took the tube to Tower Hill. We decided to walk on the opposite side of the street than we had walked previously, and we were pleasantly surprised to find some really cute restaurants tucked in amongst the hotels surrounding a small inlet filled with boats and yachts. We decided to eat dinner at an Italian restaurant. We sat out on the deck and enjoyed a beautiful view of the Tower Bridge and the inlet. After dinner it was dark and we took many pictures of the bridge which was absolutely spectacular! We also returned to Westminster and took some pics there before returning home.

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