As a Chair of District it's interesting to see how other Synods are run and the feel they have. Around 180 people gathered at a High School in the Sheffield East circuit and in our opening worship we heard about the links the school has with Lesotho. The business was done efficiently and then David and I were invited to share for about an hour before lunch on Celebrating our Faith. The afternoon was a 2 hour session discussing some ideas that have come from a survey across the circuits concerning Mapping a Way Forward. We finished as we began in worship, sharing communion together.
Sunday was a full day beginning with a Barnsley circuit service at Emmanuel church.
They have a wonderful set of premises and the extended sanctuary was full with at least 400 people enjoying worship and fellowship.
The prayers of intercession were brought forward on doves (peace), fish (provision) and balloons (power) forming a great worship focus.
This was followed by a great buffet lunch with the circuit leadership team before setting off to join in the annual Inter-Faith walk from the Al-Rakman Mosque, Ellesmere Road to Firth Park Methodist Church.
This is something began years ago by Inderjit and one of the leading Muslims in the city, Abdul Goojar. There were over 50 people from all faiths and we walked for two and a half miles stopping at each place of worship, for a time of silent prayer. I was particularly delighted to share in this as there haven't been too many inter-faith opportunities this year and with us needing to make a stand against the BNP with the elctions approaching it was a very timely witnbess against racism and anything whcih would seek to divide us.
Then on to Chestefield to the town centre church for the Two Counties Service. This is an annual worship service for the Churches of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire - and the bottom end of the Sheffield District are part of these two counties. It was a good two hour worship event (with me only preaching half an hour!) culminating in the Church leaders - bishops, chairs, moderators, .......etc signing the covenant to continue working together. Following on from the walk a very rich day - and then a two hour drive home - with many stories of God's grace to share over these coming weeks