Jonathan and Lizzie finally got married on 18 July – three weeks later than their planned date. However, just as things were opening up in England to make weddings possible, Melbourne went back into lockdown. A surge in cases, which continues at the time of writing, meant we were in the same lockdown as March and April. Jono and Lizzie were married at their home church in Tooting, London with 30 people at the service, all appropriately face masked and hand sanitised. Rachel and I made a series of plans for Australia celebrations which seemed to fall by the wayside one by one. We initially expected to gather with 20 friends and family to watch the livestream. Then we hoped to meet with just Tom and Mia. But they live outside the lockdown area and we couldn’t travel outside of metropolitan Melbourne. So, on the day of the wedding, Rachel and I were alone at home.
Only we weren’t! We had the most amazing experience of Christian community in action so that we could rejoice with friends and family around the world. On the morning of the wedding we Zoomed Jono and helped him to get ready for his big day. For the hour before the service we hosted a Zoom with friends and family from Australia and England, drinking champagne and sharing precious memories of Jono and Lizzie. Then we joined the livestream of the service and loved the sense of connectedness from the chat bar. We chatted with Jono and Lizzie as they drove from the church to the reception – a socially distanced picnic in a park near the Thames. They sat in little clusters, each with a hot-spotted laptop so that we and many others could join the speeches and toasts.
Our wonderful small group from church loved us beautifully, delivering flowers, food, desserts, even a buttonhole and corsage for us. Of course, the day was bitter-sweet. We would rather have been in England. But we are so thankful to God for many good things and for a celebration that was so much sweeter than we could possibly have imagined.
The redevelopment of St Andrew’s Hall is on track – we are praying that it will be completed on time, on budget and safely. So far, the project is three days ahead of schedule and there have been no reportable injuries or health and safety issues. Keep praying! The redevelopment has taken up masses of my and Rachel’s time, especially as we anticipate moving back at the end of the year. This includes relocating the library and buying everything we need to fit out 19 apartments. We would appreciate your prayers for wisdom as we are faced with lots of small decisions that will impact on the operation and functionality of the new site.
We have just started a new semester with a small group of six trainees. In God’s good timing, it is wonderful to have a small intake as our classroom at the moment can only take seven people if we are observing appropriate social distancing. We are teaching mask to mask (the 2020 version of face to face) and enjoying getting to know another wonderful cohort of godly men and women.
We continue to pray for family in the UK and are feeling the distance with two weddings this year.
With our love and best wishes,
David and Rachel.
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