We didn’t need to worry about setting the alarm – we were both awake at 5am, so got up and made tea, before going back to bed for another hour or so. The forecast for today was cloudy, with heavy rain later, but the day began with bright sunshine and just a few clouds.

We were collected at 9am by J, a clergy wife I’ve met only once before, but who has become a good friend via the internet. Tim had not met her or her husband L and was feeling rather shy, but he needn’t have worried as she made us feel very welcome. L is a minister, like Tim, of two small churches in the Melbourne suburbs, though in a rather more affluent area.

We arrived early at their church, and the door was still locked, so we chatted a while and J showed us around the grounds of the church. Then, as people began to arrive, we simply blended into the congregation as they gathered – we weren’t the only visitors today.

We enjoyed the service which had many similarities to our own, not simply because we share a denomination. Over coffee after the service, it was lovely to meet a couple who know some of the people we know. Others kept stopping by to say hello, too.

J had told her friends we were coming, and we have had a couple of wonderful offers … the use of a house on Phillip Island (we were given the keys there and then!), and a birdwatching walk with a local expert which we’ve arranged for next Sunday after church.

Then back to J&L for lunch … so good to talk with like minded folk about the problems of the church, which seems similar in both countries. There were a few encouragements mentioned, too!

It was interesting to see inside a normal Australian suberban home … and relaxing to have company and time to chat, about ‘work’, sport, the children etc. J also wanted us to experience a wider range of worship, so that evening she took us to the church her children go to – just as we encouraged ours to go elsewhere to fill the gaps left by a small local church. This church holds seven services each Sunday (!), and has just appointed a new minister … so there was a quiet sense of expectation and excitement. It was a familiar format with songs led by a worship band, and good preaching … followed by a ‘sausage sizzle’ tea, to which we stayed and at which we were able to meet and talk to a number of folk.

It was only early evening, but I was feeling the lack of sleep, so after that, J brought us back to the apartment – it had been cloudy all day with only a few drops of rain, and we were feeling a little disappointed that the promised cooling shower hadn’t yet arrived … but just as we arrived and got out of the car, the heavens opened. In Australia, even the rain is impressive!

J left with a promise to meet again next weekend … in the meanwhile, we must find out about hiring a car (J had some good suggestions as to how to avoid driving in the city), and plan a couple of road trips around the commitments we’ve already arranged. And find time to go shopping … my feet are suffering in the heat, so I’d like to find some different footware.

Once in the apartment, I could barely stay awake … we’ve been told the adjustment takes a day per hour time difference … I hope it’s a little sooner than that, as we have tickets for the athletics on Thursday evening. I don’t want to have come all this way only to fall asleep in the stadium!

No pics today