We were split between three wards today, so the fireside was a small reunion. It is such a luxury to stay two nights in the same bed without having to pack up one’s suitcase and run! A real bonus is the extra time to become acquainted with our host families and others during this extra day. We all enjoyed being with them in their testimony meetings and attending Sunday School and Relief Society/Priesthood meetings. They, in turn, appreciated having our men bolster their priesthood choir. There were many wonderful comments about last night’s concert, and the concert and the bake sale afterwards raised good money for their local charity.
Our ward had excellent meetings; the strength of the LDS members here is very apparent. We heard many stories about the great growth of the church here in the last 50 years, and we hope our concert might have opened a few more doors of understanding. As with several of the concerts in the last two weeks, the attendance was split pretty evenly between LDS and the community, which can only help outreach.
We gathered again for a supper before the fireside, prepared by the same chef who cooked last night’s dinner for us. It was a delicious dinner once again, with far more than we could eat. The Poole Stake has taken us in, and taken us to their hearts with their warmth and generosity. We will long remember them.
The fireside was wonderful; I’m just sad it is our last one of tour. The choir sang some of my favorite pieces: “Oh, Lord, I Would Hear Thy Word,” “How Can I Keep from Singing,” “Come, Come Ye Saints,” “My Shepherd Will Supply My Need,” “Crucifixion” and “Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.” The choir members’ introductions were just right in giving a personal touch to the meaning of the pieces. At the end, the stake president said he thought “we should all be reclining on heavenly clouds.” To top it all, the congregation and choir joined in singing a rousing “Jerusalem” as the closing hymn. I don’t have audio to upload for you (and the Internet connection would strangle if I tried) but here is a link to the 2009 Proms:
The music is by Sir Hubert Parry. Below is the text by William Blake:
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountain green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark satanic mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.
And indeed, we have been experiencing and loving more every day England’s “green and pleasant land.” (And the rain that keeps it so green…)
After featuring the engaged Singers recently, we need to give equal time to those of our choir who left behind spouses for three weeks to come on this tour. We appreciate and love them, and appreciate the husbands and wives who are looking forward to a week from today!