David and I have just come back from a few fascinating days in Gibraltar. We visited with Rev John Hellyer, Chair of the South East District as Gibraltar is a circuit within the District. Our visit was timed to celebrate 240 years of Methodism in
Sergeant Henry Ince, who was stationed with the army on the Rock in 1769, wrote to John Wesley asking permission to establish a Methodist Society in
Sergeant Ince is also well known on the island for leading the development of a series of siege tunnels dug deep in to the limestone Rock. At various points ventilation holes give views of
We were joined by the Roman Catholic and Anglican Bishops of Gibraltar, members of the
On Sunday morning we joined with the congregation at the
One of the important ministries of the church is to run the Carpenter’s Arms, a café and alcohol-free bar. It is well used by locals and tourists alike, serving meals and offering a listening ear every day of the week. On Sunday after the service not only is coffee and tea served to the congregation, but at the same time 15-20 homeless men receive a free meal cooked by church volunteers. The men I talked with had come from
We shared a barbeque lunch with church members on the manse balcony, the same balcony we were to watch yet another spectacular sunset from before the evening service.During the evening service David and I talked about our respective Christian journeys, our experiences up and down the Connexion over the last 4 months and our hopes for the future of the
On Monday the new Governor arrived on board HMS Lancaster to start his 3 year term of office. David and Liz and Anne and I had all been invited to meet him at his post swearing-in evening reception. It gave us an opportunity to talk to both the Governor and the First Minister of State about the new way of working between the Gibraltan and British governments as they develop a new and increasingly mature relationship through a newly adopted constitution that moves power from the Foreign Office and Governorship to the Gibraltan state.
Earlier in the day we visited the naval base on
David had already been interviewed for local radio and on Monday afternoon was interviewed for the local news programme. We were both then interviewed for the weekly religious affairs TV programme. It gave us a good opportunity to reflect on the many highlights of our visit over the last 4 days and on the witness of the
We were looked after extremely well by Rev Fidel Patron and his wife Sheila throughout our stay and we owe them and all the church members that helped to make our visit so enjoyable a great debt of gratitude.