Here is the church house, here is the steeple, open up the doors and see all the people. It is a nursery rhyme that is accompanied by hand movements with fingers interlaced with knuckles up and fingers tucked inside which was to represent the church. Then the two index fingers were put together pointing up and that was the steeple, the touching thumbs in front were the doors. When the thumbs were separated to indicate the doors opening, the hands turned up and the fingers wiggled to let you "see all the people". I loved that nursery rhyme as a child and still do as an adult. It came to mind today as I headed to church in the small town of Tranent, Scotland.
As I walked down a lovely wooded and blackberry lined dirt path towards the church about a half mile from where we are staying, bells began calling the inhabitants to come to worship. The sound carried throughout the small village, and as I rounded the corner, I found the Tranent Parish Church which is one of the Church of Scotland branches. This beautiful old solid building and it's tower steeple are surrounded by the very old cemetery.
I always thought of steeples as spires, but I learned today that a tower is also a steeple. My finger movements for the nursery rhyme can now be touching or straight up - either works!
What was the same about this church and many others that I have been so fortunate to attend around the world, is that when you open up the doors you see all the people, who in reality are the church - the building only houses them. In this one, as have been almost every other one I've ever been too, they were friendly and warmly welcoming.
The Tranent Parish however, had a group of people so kind and genuinely happy to have a guest join them, they truly made me want to return. That's what a house of worship for Christ should be. The Reverend Erica Wishart, was fun and delightfully light, and she presented a wonderful lesson that was based on a well known story of Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus let her know that despite all of her past mistakes, she could be forgiven and have eternal life. Rev. Wishart told it in a way that was fresh and reassuring with some new ways of seeing and applying the story to our lives.
Afterwards, of course, tea and biscuits were served and people were eager to chat. I learned a great deal about the area and some of the history of the community and the very old cemetery. I'll be thinking of "all the people" next Sunday and wishing I could be there again. Alas, we will have moved on.
Later in the day Ky and I took a walk to the quaint town of Prestonpans which has been around since the 11th century. It name refers to the priests who came along in 1184 who gave the settlement the name, Prieststown or Prieston. Because of the salt manufacturing where the the monks used pans on the sea shore, the town's name would later develop into Salt Prieststown and Salt Preston, and finally Prestonpans. It was also one of Britons earliest sites for coal mining which was used in the salt making process.
It is an interesting little town with so much history, and they have a great place for takeout fish & chips. Of course we added the salt and vinegar! There is always a bit of regret for me about eating fried fish and chips, but while eating it, it seems worth every bite. We found a rock "table" with the best view in town overlooking the waters of the Firth of Forth from where you could see the bridges in Edinburgh.
On the way home, we found dessert. A sweet reminder of the Seattle area where we lived for many years, and where we still have sweet loved ones.
Hugs from Tranent!
P.S. I almost forgot I was supposed to let you know in today's blog how we find pet sitting opportunities. We primarily use a site called Trusted Housesitters. We have tried a couple of others, but this one seems to have the most opportunities. If you use this link to join you get a discount, and we get two free months. Email me if you have any questions about it. We have had such good experiences through it.
or you can apply the following code on checkout): RAF39641