I have just got back from a week in Los Angeles. I was there with fellow Wycliffe Tutors Richard Turnbull and Peter Walker.
First we led a day’s Preaching Conference at St James’ Newport Beach for local clergy, then an overnight teaching event for the congregation at St James’. I preached the three morning services on “the ordinary and extraordinary nature of Paul’s conversion” (1 Timothy 1:12-17). Listen here http://stjamesnb.org/content/sermon-rev-dr-simon-vibert
I spent a very fruitful and encouraging time with Professors at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles discussing mutual interest alongside the possibility of Wycliffe being a home for American postgraduates studying in the University (http://www.biola.edu/).
Next, a short visit to the marvellous “Ecclesia” Church which meets in a theatre on Hollywood Boulevard – what a great location to reach out with the Gospel (see http://www.churchinhollywood.com/).
Church politics is complex! St James’ has left the Episcopal Church and is now part of the Diocese of Western Anglicans, in the Province of the Anglican Church in North America under the oversight of Archbishop Robert Duncan. They are in protracted legal dispute over rights to the property. Horrible. But it is so heartening to meet prayerful, godly, sacrificial people in this congregation who are keen to look outwards with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I hope we encouraged them in this great mission.
I left the West Coast with a sense of thankfulness that the Gospel of Jesus Christ unites believers across cultures and down the ages. Links with Wycliffe are further encouraged by several members who have been to our Summer Schools and the possiblity of Seminarians coming here for short study stints (www.wycliffe.ox.ac.uk)
And, oh yes, I had a great sail with courtesy of a retired rocket scientist and, along with dolphins, sea lions and pelicans, got a brief glimpse of a Whale!