Monday, November 3, 2008

Canterbury Tales from Ken and Barbara

The cloisters at Canterbury

Ken in front of Canterbury Cathedral

This has been another busy week in the Visitors' Centre. We had 200 visitors on Saturday so it was very hectic. The Centre is open from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM on Saturdays and it is crazy all day long. Everyone is so thrilled with the new Centre and particularly the Christus Statue so everyone is stopping in to see it. Even the taxi drivers bringing people in from the train stations close by are telling people that they just have to go to the new Visitors' Centre and see that beautiful statue of Christ and they aren't even members! It is exciting to see so many people bringing family and friends to come and view this beautiful facility and to see one of the many films that are available here. Our dedication is on Saturday. We will have President Oaks, the president of the Europeon Area headquartered in Germany, here to dedicate the Centre. It will be a big day for us.

Every Monday
, the temple workers take an excursion somewhere historic or interesting. Today, they went to see Canterbury Cathedral in the county of Kent. Canterbury Cathedral is the headquarters of the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury lives here. He is similar to the Pope in Rome. We decided to go along. It is especially interesting to me because a distant relative, Archbishop Theobald, was the head of the Church, which was then the Roman Catholic Church, in the 1100's. He was the Archbishop just before Thomas Becket whom you have probably all heard of because he was murdered inside Canterbury Cathedral in the late 1100's by King Henry II's knights. In AD 597 missionaries from Rome converted the king of Kent to Christianity. Augustine, the leader of the mission from Rome, was consecrated as the first Archbishop and his cathedral was established at Canterbury. The Cathedral was the site of the Roman Catholic Church until the 1500's when King Henry VIII seized most of the Catholic Cathedrals and converted them into cathedrals for his new church, The Church of England. If you remember your history lessons, King Henry VIII wanted a divorce from his first wife, Kathryn of Aragon, so that he could marry Anne Bolelyn. The Catholic Church would not allow him to divorce, so he created his own church that would do as he asked. Archbishop Theobald was a very powerful man and in his time even the Kings and Queens paid homage and took orders from him. Many of the Archbishops are buried in fancy crypts inside and below the church. The architecture is beautiful and the stained glass windows are beyond description. There is constant restorative work going on to keep the cathedral and the old Roman walls built in 250 AD in good repair. The walls built by the Romans are huge and they surround all of the old city. The Romans ruled England for about 500 years and many parts of the country still have ruins left by the Romans and others that invaded and ruled here for a time. In St. Albans, a community just north of London, my cousin, Ian Sharpe, goes out hunting Roman artifacts and has boxes and boxes of coins, buttons, small tools, and weapons that he has found in the areas of old Roman forts.

Well, so much for your history lesson for the day. I didn't mean to go into so much detail, but the history is fascinating to both of us, so we really do enjoy these excursions and all of the old ruins and buildings that are everywhere here. The English are all about protecting their history and heritage.

We are both well and happy here. We keep busy and that is how we like it. We think of you often and have sweet memories of all of the good people we have known and loved through the years. We enjoy hearing from you.

We just had a new addition to the family this week. Our son, Brian, and his wife, Lacy, just had a little girl named Alli J.. She was born on Saturday, November 1, and she weighed in at 7 lb. 13 oz. We have been able to see her on Skype. I will be anxious for the day when we can see her and hold her in real life. This new little one makes an even dozen grandchildren for us. They are all wonderful!!! Take care and have a good week.