Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Finishing Off the Irish!!!

What a wonderful time we had with the Methodist Church in Ireland. We met in Dublin and were treated with wonderful love and hospitality.

The Methodist Church in Ireland is very much alive and well as we heard about and saw some new initiatives in mission and ministry. They are very much a large extended family as it seems everyone knows everyone else. It was a joy for me to meet up with friends, especially those that I have come to know through MMS Ireland

Ken Todd - former MMSI treasurer

Richard Clutterbuck, Principal of Edgehill Theological College and a friend from our time at Queens College....

The Ministerial Session lasted for a day and was jointly chaired by the President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Rev Aian Ferguson, and myself.
There was then a Civic Reception given by the Cathaoirleach of Dun Laoghaire and then we all went to share in the Election and Installation of the President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Rev Donald Ker. Donald is also Secretary of their Conference. It was a wonderful service and made even more special with the attendance of the President of Ireland, Mary Mcalease and her husband Martin. The first time ever that the President of the nation has been to the Methodist Conference. Donald in his address spoke about the 3 remaining marks in the present uncertainty...faith, hope and love.

It was a real joy to share in the chairing of the Representatice session of Conference with Donald - there were times he didn't know if he was the President or Secretary!!

David and I took with us 2 representatives from our own Conference here in Britain. These were Deacon Eunice Attwood and Mr Mike King. They all shared fully - bringing greetings from the Britsh Church and also Mike through addressing their World Church evening event; David through leading prayers one morning and Eunice through sharing about Diaconal ministry and encouraging the Irish Church to embrace a Diaconal Order.

the photo shows Eunice about to speak with David and Mike behind fully engaged!

I had the privilege of preaching at the Conference Service on the Sunday morning at the Methodist Church in Dun Laoghaire. It was here that something catastrophic happened.....that maybe a cause for a charge!

Myrtle was with me and perhaps there is a similarity between Eunice and Myrtle...both full of laughter, strong personalities, good looking, young.......(etc!)
but imagine my horror that in the prayers of intercession the local minister prayed for the President of the British Conference Stephen and his wife Eunice..........
I didn't know whether to be full of joy or scared...and this was picked up for the rest of the Conference that I now have two wives!!!

though it looks good!!

The Conference ended with a service of celebration including the ordination of 2 younger presbyters. It was a wonderful time .....but why did I finish them off?

Well this was the 240th Conference and since the time of the Rev John Wesley the British President has also been President of the Methodist Church in Ireland...whilst the Irish President has only been Vice-President of his/her own Conference....confused???

After many years of discussion this Conference made the final vote to allow the change in their constitution that the President of the Methodist Church in Ireland is also President of the Conference ....a real alleluia moment, although some are sad at its passing it does signal a new springboard for the continuing growth and development of our sister church

Please pray for Donald, his wife Sandra and for all our sisters and brothers in the Irish Methodist Church

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