Wednesday, 18 February 2009
Going for Growth in Cumbria!
The Cumbria District, under its new Chair Richard Teal, had invited Stephen and me to share in the leading of a day on 'Going for Growth'.
Despite the late January weather (though for once less snowy in the northwest of England than in London!) nearly 300 people gathered for a day of worship, fellowship and inspiration. The children had great fun in their own activities led by Y-Kids, a Christian youth ministry team from Liverpool.
The worship was led in three different but complementary styles by members from Kirkby Lonsdale, Cockermouth and Penrith Circuits and there was a real sense of the District growing in confidence in its mission and life together. They are already planning for future events.
The previous day Thomas Gorst and his wife had invited us to their farm near Sedbergh - and a tea not to be bettered anywhere! There the President also attempted his Dr Doolittle impersonation in talking to the cows - for the benefit of the photographer from the local Westmorland Gazette.
More seriously we were able to meet with a group of local farmers - many of them Methodists - and gain an insight into the changing nature of farming in the local area. We learnt about the need to nourish the soil and about the move to organic farming. We felt privileged to be able to 'listen in' to their conversation.
In the evening we met at the Chair's house with a number of the lay employees from around the District - again the food was superb and the conversation flowed until late in the evening!