Travel: Camino Portugués

This past week we took five days to hike through a part of Spain that we were not familiar with. Our goal was to get to know the area and see how we might be able to encourage new church plants in this region. We ended up hiking about 70 miles on the Camino Portugués with the whole family, which was quite the adventure. We have put together some videos of each day of the hike, and they will be uploaded over the coming week. You can see them over here:

Here are some photos from our time.

Ring Someone’s Bell – Part 2

Sunday afternoon we took a trip with Jennifer into the countryside to the Ridgeway, Britain’s oldest road. Our first stop was The Bell Inn. A small pub in Aldworth, The Bell Inn was built 1349 to host travelers who chose the high road over the lower, often difficult terrain of England. It was named for the Bell which was located just across the street.

Because of its antiquated nature, everything is extremely short and small. I had to duck everywhere I went.

I went with Jennifer on her suggestion, “the tongue sandwiches are pretty good here!” The taste was similar to salami, but the texture left something to be desired.

We followed up our tasty (use your imagination) meal with a walk along the Ridgeway. It was our only sunny day, so we soaked in the vitamin D and chilling wind as we shuffled along.

Our final stop was at the St. Mary The Virgin parish church, where supposedly there rests ancient giants. Some of the graves inside have men who are 7 feet tall.

Outside the church there is a thousand year old tree. It looked pretty ragged to me, but at a thousand years old, it deserves to be.

Ring Someone’s Bell

Sunday morning we attended church with Martin at St. James the Less Church. In the morning they have a team of bell ringers who ring the bells for quite some time.

The service was a traditional Church of England service. This morning they also had a Baby Baptism and Communion. The child was about 2 years old and his family was all there to celebrate the occasion. Neither Crystal nor myself have ever been to a baptism like this before.
The minister tried to explain that although the child does not understand what is going on, the church promises to raise the child in this teaching. We were not quite able to draw the connection on why you would baptize someone who does not understand what is going on, nor has placed personal faith in Christ. It was a sobering learning experience for us to see what many people believe.

Following the service we met some of the church members. One lady asked where we lived and we explained that we are from Minnesota. She was surprised and explained that her husband was from Minnesota as well. We told her that we lived in Minneapolis (again the city of her husband) and she asked which part. “We live in Edina” we replied. “That is where my husband grew up!” was her answer. Weird.

Following the service, Jennifer took us for a drive out in the country side to one of the oldest roads in the world. More on this to come (and an explanation on the tongue sandwich seen below).

On the road

Queen or Queen Mother?

We have had quite a few discussions about the government and monarchy of the UK. One of our discussions has revolved around the succession of rulers. If the King dies and leaves behind a queen who is not of the royal line, what happens?
A brief answer is this, in order to keep the monarchy “pure”, only those who are a direct descendent may rule. Therefore, because the previous queen was not in the line, but her husband was, when he died she became the “Queen Mother” and her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II ruled. And, because Queen Elizabeth was in the line, and not her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, she rules and he is called The Duke not the King.

The monarch’s oldest son becomes the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cornwall. It then gets complicated.