Monday, 20 September 2010
Round The World in 80 Days!
Not! It just feels as though I have not stopped travelling since I left the Cameroon.
We had a wonderful time in Lowestoft, sharing a great anniversary, generous hospitality and very good food. Then the travel was local and related to all sorts of personal issues - sort of catching up on my life!
Ripon Cathedral was another example of generous hospitality. Presidents tend to expect that from colleagues, of course, but Deans and Bishops who take so much trouble to offer care and prayer are a real gift from God - and there was more good food.
And then it was on to Byland Abbey for the Easingwold Churches open air service, with wonderful sunshine and both old and new friends. It was so good to celebrate God's love on that historic site and to share again with generous people of faith. And then yet more hospitality, this time with friends we have not been able to see for a while, so my thanks to Methodism for that!
Next stop, the Trade Union Congress. Conversation and discussion, starting with both serious issues and a great deal of laughter with colleagues over an evening meal, and followed by important meetings with those who have much to say to us about how we live our faith. A man once said the issue of the day was "Education, education, education" but I felt during that hard working day that the issue is "Poverty, Inequality, Need". I look forward to exploring that further at the Party Conferences, and in our own meetings.
From there to Edinburgh for the State welcome of the Pope. So important that Methodism in the UK was represented not only be myself - Eunice being involved with very important matters relating to her 'day job'! - but also by the Secretary of the Irish Conference who shook hands with the Pope and received a small medallion. And back for Westminster Abbey and a sense of the grace of God as such a wide variety of Church Leaders processed down that historic aisle. There are always going to be the differences, and the need for much further conversation, but we worshiped God together and prayed together for God's world, remembering that we also work together in so many communities in these lands. Those of you who enjoy being on line will be able to find all the pictures of these events that you want!
Then a wonderful and very Methodist event in Solihull, where it was a privilege to be part of the induction of the new Women's Network President and to share in worship with so many women - and men - who represent our faith and our commitment to working together for justice in our world. The theme of "A Taste of Honey" will continue to feed me during the continuing travels of the coming weeks.