Monday, 5 November 2007

November nights in Newcastle

A short but interesting visit to the Newcastle District this weekend found me meeting with a whole range of people and it was great to be there. On Saturday, after making suitably sympathetic noises to the President about the state of his feet I was whisked off by the District Chair, Leo Osborne, to Great Lumley to meet with some young people, mainly from the Chester le Street and Sunderland Circuits with their leaders and Mark Bagnall, the Training and Development Officer. After some food and a role play game we heard from the young people what they would do if they ran the Church and what they appreciated about their churches and what they found more difficult. It was a good opportunity to hear them talk about a whole range of topics including highlights of ecumenical gatherings like Soul Survivor and also about how good it is to have opportunities for people to share testimony in services about what God is doing in their lives and to ask for prayer.
On Sunday morning I was interviewed by Charlotte Osborne in the service at Prudhoe about being Vice President. It was good to take part in the service alongside the minister Neil Cockling and the worship band there. I really enjoyed sharing with the people of Prudhoe and neighbouring churches.

On Sunday afternoon Leo and I went to Spoor Church in the South West Tyneside Circuit to meet with a group of young adults in their 20s and 30s and hear about their experiences in their local churches as well as opportunities for them to meet together from across the Circuit. We found a mix of people who felt their current church was where they should be but without a particular
concern about denomination and some who felt that Methodism was where they felt they should be because of the Theology and outlook.
This was followed by evening worship in the form of an Agape service, with copious amounts of food, which was led by the minister, Liz Kent and myself including music led by three of the young adults. There was time to name those who we wished could be with us in our worship and another point where people could share testimony about what God was doing in their lives. Following that we went back to the manse for hot chocolate and fireworks. As the minister is due to have her second baby in the next couple of weeks there was some nervousness about the fireworks but it seemed that all was well when we left. I felt particularly touched as I left when 2 year old Ruth said to me - "You need a hug" and proceeded to administer one. It was good to meet with all of these people in my flying visit and I felt I received some real encouragement and hospitality.

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