Notre-Dame

‘It was the bells that made me do it’…honestly😳 lol ok that phrase has probably been used to death but it does go through your head as you walk towards this beautiful church.

My trip:

I got out of Cite train station and was lost…no signs to direct me to Notre-Dame, so i turned right and wow!!! I was faced with the Palace of Justice (the place Marie Antoinette stayed and was executed) this is a very beautiful building. I kept walking in that direction and turned right in front of the palace.

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Turning right took me across the River Seine (look down the river and you can see the Eiffel Tower) towards the Place de la Bastille, this is the place where the famous Bastille prison used to be (the place that was stormed in 1789 in the French Revolution). There isnt a lot there now, a column at the junction of roads, but worth going to.

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Behind the Place de la Bastille you can see the gargoyles on top of the Tour Saint-Jacques. There once used to be a gothic church here, but all that is left is this detailed tower. It is 52m tall and was built around the 16th century.

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After walking around this tower and it’s garden, i decided that it was time to actually look at google maps and get directions to Notre-Dame. Turns out that had i turned left at the train station i would have bumped into Notre-Dame around the corner 😳 ahhh well lol, the walk was good exercise.

Notre-Dame is widely known for it’s gargoyles and the film The Hunchback of Notre-Dame but it has a lot to it other than that. This church is a functioning church, so please abide by the signs that say ‘silence’ when you go in, there will either be people praying in there and/or a service happening. When i arrived the queue to get in went as far back as the road, but i didnt have anywhere else to go so thought i would join it and wait (and also, as a Brit, queuing is one of the things we do SOOO well lol). To my surprise i was in the church within 15 mins (the queue moves along very quickly), note: it is free to enter the church. Once in you are inside you are faced with a magnificently built church with wonderful stained glass windows and archways. There is a walkway around the inside edge of the church taking you past paintings, prayer points, statues of saints, sculptures etc. While there a service started so i got to hear the organ and choir playing…very beautiful.

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If you want to go up to the lookout (said to be the best view in Paris) then turn right, after coming out of the church, and queue up beside the church (there is a cost to go up to the lookout) i didn’t go up today because it was raining heavily, but i plan to go up in a few days…i’ll post the pics then 🙂

After coming out of Notre-Dame i wandered around and found myself on Rue de Rivoli, heaps of shops (if that is your thing 🙂 )

Well, heading to a graveyeard now lol…will post later

Reflections on ministry #1: Behind the curtain

Many of us serving God, in churches, have experienced the ups and downs in ministry. We expected it to be a hard road…a suffering road, but seminary never really prepares you for the trials you and your family will face. It never trains you in how to handle the politics and sinful behaviour often found in churches. It is a poor reflection on us, as a church, that we behave no better than any secular organisations do towards leadership. To the public view, all is well, but behind the scenes there is back stabbing, politicking, gossip, power struggles etc. All this, even in small country churches. Most wouldn’t be aware of it because many ministers put on a good public face, the ‘public smile’.

I went through seminary with 50+ other people, and knew many in years ahead of me or behind. Sadly, I have seen many either walk away from the ministry, or have their marriage/family destroyed by the stress caused, by others, against them, and i have seen many ministers have a break down or burn out. This has to stop, we are losing too many godly people from ministry. It is time we start talking publicly about the struggles faced ‘behind the curtain’ of public appearance and work out a way to help our ministers and their families…keep them in ministry for the long haul. This will be the aim of my ‘behind the curtain’ blogs…to bring out into the light the things many have kept hidden.

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