Monday, 17 May 2010

A London Weekend

My weekend was spent close to home, with two London based-events.

On Saturday I went to Chelsea Methodist Church (probably a good day to go to Chelsea, as many Chelsea people were at Wembley, cheering their team to a cup final win). The event I went to was a study day for members and friends of Outcome (moving towards an inclusive church. I led two sessions and preached when we shared communion at the end of the day.

It was a good day and I much appreciated both the invitation and the event, in which we talked together about what a more inclusive church might look like and how it might come about. Both of these things relate closely to my Conference theme of 'creating safer space'.

Sunday was spent even closer at home, in Muswell Hill. We celebated the 50th anniversary of Chester House with a very well attended afternoon service in Muswell Hill Methodist Church, followed by tea, tours of the building (Chester House) and a plaque unveiling ceremony. The service was introduced by Andy Dart, Muswell Hill's minister, and led by Jonathan Kerry, Director of the Guy Chester Centre. I preached and a number of other people connected with the life of Chester House over the years - both the halls of residence and the offices of the Division of Education and Youth - shared in the service and brought some of their memories. We built a 'wall' of things for which people wanted to give thanks.

Among those attending were some of the very first students who lived in Chester House 50 years ago. People had come from vast distances to be part of the celebrations - one couple from Melbourne, Australia! It was good to celebrate Guy Chester's original vision, the way it has worked out over the past 50 years, and the ways in which the vision is being re-expressed in the 21st century. On my recent visit to the Plymouth and Exeter District I had met up with two ministers who had done their 'foundation training' at the Guy Chester Centre.

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