One of the highlights of the Methodist Conference is the Reception of presbyters and deacons into Full Connexion and then the ordinations which follow.
Last week I spent 36 hours with the diaconal ordinands at Ambleforth abbey. There are 5 of them
Fiona de Boltz
and I have the privilege of being the President at their Ordination service at Shirley Methodist church this coming Sunday.
I should have been with the presbyteral ordinands for 24 hours this week but I injured myself....!!!
I was in London for this final weekend. Going down the steps at Paddington Tube Station I damaged my left leg - the doctor says it's badly sprained...and I'm hopping around very well.
I had gone to share with Women's Network at one of their Consultation Days - it seemed to go well and I got lots of sympathy.....and thanks to the Chair of District, Jenny , who picked me up from Church House and took me over to Blackheath where we were sharing together in the opening of the newly built Sunfield Methodist Church. It is a beautiful building with a marvellous stained glass window.....
and I discovered that the glass artist was from Pilling, Lancashire......what a small world it is!!
and that is where I want to end.......
the service was well attended and lots of people coming in during the past couple of weeks to view not only the new building but also the Methodist Art Collection. Sunday was a 'more normal service' and for me my final one as President - to share in communion with these people was very special....even if I was still limping!!
But it was on the Saturday afternoon, after the service chatting to people including Paddfy on the left that I came across Gloria Braham
and quickly discovered she was the sister of Ted - who had been my senior circuit in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica for the first 6 years of my ministry. Ted and his wife Madge are God-parents to our eldest child, Matthew........the years rolled away...and our conversation was about Jamaica...about family and familiar places......things had come full circle for me...I didn't even know about Gloria...Ted died a year ago......and he and many others were so instrumental in shaping and forming me to be the person I am now.........it was as if God was saving this up for the end...to show me again how great my debt to those people of Jamaica, to the people of the wider world Church........
a gift of God...a moment of grace.