Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Seahouses

Last weekend I made my first District visit, to Newcastle-on-Tyne, and it was a great privilege to preach at Seahouses Methodist Church, Northumberland.

I was baptised in this church. Every step in my life of faith, every twist and turn, every time that God has called me or inspired me or held me or challenged me, all that began in this place and at that moment. So it was fitting and moving that at the start of my VP year I should be there once again.


To my astonishment there were some in the congregation who remembered my family and my baptism! It was wonderful to meet them again.

With Revs David  Collinson, Leo Osborn and Ranald Wylie who led the worship


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

My Church

Here's my church, Dialstone Lane Methodist Church in Stockport, and here's us at the end of our very energetic 3-day holiday club this week!
 And here's the new cloth we made for our Communion Table decorated with our hand prints!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Reflections from Conference 2014


A number of people have asked me for a copy of my addresses and sermon from the Methodist Conference.

This can now be downloaded from the Manchester and Stockport District website; click here and then on 'Reflections from Conference', under the heading 'Worship & Fellowship'.


Saturday, 19 July 2014

Zambia visit 9th-16th July

As soon as Conference was finished, I was making preparations for a visit to Zambia, sponsored by World Church Relationships! I was privileged to meet many wonderful people and see some of the projects which are sponsored by the Methodist Church.

One of these, the mission at Kafue, near Lusaka, was originally a Primitive Methodist foundation, begun in 1919.

This is the headmaster of the boys' secondary school, showing me around with Bunmi Olayisade, from WCR.




The mission also operates a health centre. As a hospital pharmacist, I couldn't resist checking that their drugs trolley was in order. (It was)
Sadly though, the mission struggles to find the money for enough drugs and equipment to treat the many cases of TB, AIDS and malaria they are faced with.






Finally, we met the members of the women's self-help project. These women, all widows, raise pigs and chickens to sell. The small profit they have made in this way has enabled them to buy seeds and tools to grow maize. An amazing, courageous, joyful  group of women. I was humbled to meet them.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Prayers and Reflections from Conference

Many, many thanks for all the messages of love and support given to me both by those attending Conference and those who sent cards or e-mails. being Vice President really is a great privilege!

For those who were kind enough to ask for copies of my reflections delivered at various Conference worship events, I am putting them together with the prayers and thoughts written by other members of the Manchester and Stockport District, which were given to me at my induction and they will all be available here soon! Watch this space!

Friday, 27 June 2014

The bright succession

Thank you for this year, for your prayers and for all that many of you have shared with me. It has been a privilege to serve as President.

Tomorrow afternoon Revd Ken Howcroft will be inducted as President for 2014-2015 and Gill Dascombe will be inducted as Vice-President.

And so the bright succession runs.

Please pray for Ken and Gill.

God bless.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Marsett - Bicentenary thanksgiving and the nettle and the donkey


Outside Marsett chapel - just look at that view!
On a beautiful sunny Sunday (June 22nd) I drove through the stunningly beautiful Yorkshire dales to Marsett, a hamlet near Hawes. We were celebrating the bicentenary of the Methodist Church, or to be accurate of the existence of Methodist Chapels - Methodists were there earlier.
View out of the chapel door
 We were also celebrating the completion of their development scheme which had been to provide a water supply to the building, convert the porta loo to a properly equipped toilet and to provide ramp access to the chapel. This was a big challenge for the small congregation (membership below 10) made no easier by being in a National Park.

They were commited because on of the young people who attends every week is in a wheel-chair and it was becoming impossible and unsafe to carry him up the steps into church. But they have a bigger vision as well of being a place of hospitality in this beautiful place. I am told that, though the church is small they have the youngest age profile in the upper dale. The photographs will not reflect this as I cannot show pictures of children!

A packed chapel

Barbara and Stan
The chapel was full and overflowing for the service, some were sitting in the gazebo outside hearing the service through loud-speakers. The Young Singers took part in the worship under the direction of Barbara, a Methodist from nearby Gale. When Barbara took early retirement from her teaching job the children were keen to carry on singing with her and so the Young Singers began. At first, the group was small enough to meet in Barbara's home but now they are far too many for that. They sang magnificently, accompanied by Stan.


After the service there was abundant food served - true dales hospitality - and the weather was good so we could eat outside.
Tea in the gazebo
 This was my last preaching appointment as President and it was good to be in this beautiful part of the Darlington District where the numbers are not high but they are sustained and they have vision and hope for the future.

And the nettle and the donkey?
Marsett is the only place in the country where caraway grows wild. The story is told that this is because of a mischievous Marsett boy who put a nettle under the tail of the pedlar's donkey. The donkey reacted as you would expect and the caraway seeds were spread all over the green.
The caraway certainly grows here and is used by the villagers.

Keith and Mary, Keith is a Church Steward
Elaine and Tom who brought water to the chapel in a milk churn before the mains supply was connected. Tom is the treasurer and Elaine has played organ here for 50 years.
Jane with family and friends
Queueing for tea after the service
Jane with Rev Janet Park, after Janet was stationed here they discovered they had been at the same junior school (for just one year).

The Tour de France is coming to the Dales - yellow bikes everywhere