Floors numbers in the UK are indexed computer-science style. The ground floor is floor 0. 1st floor is the US 2nd floor. And so on.
They have some fascinating yoghurt flavors. Like Pomegranate or Fig Activia. Delicious.
They call him Santa Claus, but I hear Father Christmas more frequently.
Christmas is an interesting holiday here. On the one hand, it’s kind of bigger than in the US, because our holiday season is somewhat diluted by Thanksgiving. Here, the only year-end holiday is Christmas so more attention is focused on that. But on the other hand, it feels like not as big a deal. It appears that it’s more an immediate family celebration than an extended family one. You basically stop seeing your parents on Christmas (if they’re out of town) once you have kids. And it’s not uncommon to have the Christmas meal at a restaurant – many restaurants advertise that. That feels weird to me. But that’s how they do things.
The holiday is Christmas though. Despite there being so much diversity, they haven’t watered it down as much as in the US to Happy Holidays. The celebrations are explicitly about Christmas. Which is refreshing. Sadly, no one really believes in it, so that’s sad.
The church we’ve committed to belongs to the Church of England, and I’m gradually figuring out what that means. There appears to be a lot of diversity within the church, in terms of practice and doctrine. You have your old-school liturgical churches, but also a strong evangelical element, led by Holy Trinity Brompton. That church has recently been planting churches in England – if you look at the list on the Wikipedia page, it includes St. Peter’s in Brighton (where Matt Redman currently goes) and St. Luke’s Kentish Town (where we’re going).
Two big things happened with the Church recently. One, it elected a new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. He’s part of the evangelical branch of the Church, and was once a member of HTB. The other thing is, the church had a vote on whether to allow the consecration of women bishops. That vote failed, meaning no women bishops. The press slammed the vote, saying how anachronistic and backwards it is, and quite a few commentators said it could mean the death of the Church. Quite a few political leaders criticised the vote as well.
What’s interesting to me is that based on what I’ve read and what I heard at church, it appears that most in the evangelical branch (including the new Archbishop) support having women bishops. Dunno why, but that surprised me.
Anyway, the women bishop thing is a huge deal, getting a lot of press. Frankly, I don’t get why it’s so significant. I suppose I’m accustomed to the press in the US thinking everything the church is backwards. That the church here would make a decision the press disagrees with to me is nothing unusual at all, but for some reason, it matters a lot.