Today is the feast day of Saint Helena, mother of Constantine, who, on becoming Emperor, declared Rome a Christian city. Saint Helena is the patron saint of Colchester, so we marked the day with a morning communion service at the site of what is believed to be the earliest church building in Britain (320AD). After 1600 years, the church site is now bordered by a new police station and a roundabout.
Leaders from over 30 churches gathered in the morning sunshine, and we worshipped, prayed and shared bread and wine against a background of traffic noise and the siren of a police car weaving through rush hour traffic.
I'm glad to be a part of these things, but I sometimes wonder what they say to the watching world, especially in such a public place with people walking past on their way into town, police coming and going and drivers and passengers catching a glance on their way past.
Later I learned that when staff came to collect a man from the cells to take him to court they found him in tears. The sound of worship songs being sung outside had profoundly moved him and brought back past memories.
Diana and I were there partly because it seemed like an appropriately odd way to start the day of our 25th wedding anniversary! We spent the evening at a fabulous restaurant with friends and one of our sons, Dan, who paid the great sacrifice of missing the Man U / Chelsea Champions League match, though at the end of the meal he and a couple of friends popped into a local pub to watch the end of the match in extra time – he's a Man U supporter, so a good result.