With friends in Geneva

Trip Start Sep 15, 2011
Trip End Oct 21, 2011

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Flag of Switzerland  , Geneva,
Saturday, October 8, 2011

After going to bed early last night we both slept well. We had a restful morning before leaving at around 11:45 to go to the house of the Vernaud family near Nyon not far from the lake. We arrived about 12:15, as other church members were arriving. We were eleven in all.

We started our service at 1:00 by singing hymns followed by an opening prayer. I have some greetings, an overview of my trip and some news of the Church. The basket was passed and we gave our offering. Then my father gave the sermon, with me translating every few phrases. He spoke on the meaning of Atonement, and how the world will be transformed by what the day represents. After the service, we had a discussion session where those present could ask my Dad questions about the early years of this era of the Church and any other questions they had. We went for about an hour with discussion about how the early years of Herbert Armstrong's work, and the start of Ambassador College both in Pasadena and in Bricket Wood. Dad talked about early baptizing tours on which he went both in the US and in the UK, and his time as the first pastor of the London congregation. We also talked about our first family trip to Switzerland in 1971, of which I have some pretty sharp memories.

The French and Swiss members talked about their early years in the Church staring for one in the mid-1960s others in the late 60s, others in the early 80s. They’ve seen a lot over the years and have persevered through thick and thin, which a wonderful testimony to their faith and commitment.

I had a couple of private discussions with a few members who requested them individually. When I came back to the living room where the group was talking, I found several members talking to my father in their English of different skill levels. Everyone was smiling in spite of the language obstacle and they seemed to be having a very good time.

Around mid-afternoon we went our separate ways, so people could rest at home in the late afternoon. Dad and I drove back to the hotel and talked for several hours in the later afternoon.

At the end of the day, we drove across the Rhone to the old part of Geneva. There are still sections of ancient walls and fortifications in places, very old architecture on the mountainside, and some lovely quaint restaurants. We walked through the quiet business streets near the river, and then started up the steep pedestrian streets that lead to the hilltop and the oldest parts of the city.

I chose a restaurant near the display of old canon across from the city museum, and we got a quiet table in the cellar level where we could talk without being disturbed by ambient noise. We both ordered the sliced breast of duck, called in French a magret de canard, which is a favorite of mine and of my wife. It can be served many ways; this magret was served in an unsweetened fruit perfumed coulis, with julienne-sliced vegetables and fried potatoes. We ordered a small bottle of Dôle, one of the better-known Swiss red wines to accompany the meal. It was a real treat, and not only because we were particularly hungry!

We had hoped to have a walk around the old city after dinner, but it was raining hard enough that we wouldn’t have been able to see well, so we made our way slowly back to the car parked by the river, stopping from time to time under a store overhang to admire the views.

The drive back to the hotel went quickly there is little traffic tonight, and we’ll no doubt not stay up late. If all goes as planned, tomorrow we fly to Berlin.
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Karen on

Thank you so much for sharing your trip with all of us. I am so glad you could spend some time with your father. Have a wonderful Feast of Tabernacles.

Elisa Botta on

Mr. Meeker, I am happy to know that there are some faithful French and Swiss brethren and that you can serve them in their native tongue. Before I became self-employed, I travelled frequently to Europe for the Feast and I often wonder what has become of the German, the French, the Swiss, the Dutch, the English and the Italian brethren I met in WCG days. Sadly, I don't believe there is a COGWA remnant in Italy, and there is no one ordained at this time to serve them, in any event. I enjoy reading about your gastronomic adventures, and I, too, love a good magret de canard and learned to prepare it in a French cooking school in New York City, and had a splendid version in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Evian. Unfortunately, I had an inferior version of it on Trumpets at the famed La Grenouille restaurant in Manhattan! Most French restaurants in New York City, other than La Grenouille, have adopted fusion cuisine, with Asiatic elements, when I crave classic French cooking. Thanks for reminding me of the pleasures of classic French cuisine, which almost seems to be disappearing.

Martha McCarble on

Thank you so much for sharing! What a special blessing to be with family and friends! Happy travels and FOT!

Jason on

Hi Mr. Meeker,

Glad you had a good Atonement in Geneva. We just crossed paths as we were in Montreux Friday and Atonement. We arrived in Bern today. Look forward to seeing you in Orbey next week.


Rose Mary Bates on

Mr. Meeker,
So appreciate you sharing your travel experiences with us. It makes the people more real to me. Thank you again for sharing stories & pictures. Wishing you & your family a wonderful Feast.

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