Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Visits ~ Heaven and Earth!

While Eunice was with the Labour Party, I was part of the Connexional Leaders' Forum. That combines conversation about inside and outside church with many interesting people - not all of whom are Methodist! We were at The Hayes, Swanwick and so not the only group. I met some Baptist friends (one of whom I trained with longer ago than either of us care to remember) and a new friend for whom I promised to pray. He will be Baptist President in the not too distant future and it was good to exchange reflections.

Then a different view of heaven - the official visit to the RAF, where we met with some of our Chaplains (helpfully escorted by Gordon Graig) and were offered yet more excellent hospitality. We also were given the priviledge of meeting with officers and others who showed us something of their work and shared something of their thoughts and feelings. I am still trying to work out how those who deal with Air Traffic Control carry all the information the screens show and then make enough sense of it to keep everyone safe.

And then really into the heavens! A flight in a chinook after all the safety checks and being loaned the proper kit. Dylan took care of us and Nobby was our pilot - though the reason for the flight was training for Afghanistan, not entertaining us. Once we had flown south and turned to fly the narrow helicopter lane into London, along a part of the Thames and been returned to base, the crew had to undergo further training on instruments only.

We watched for a while before we had to reluctantly leave for home. Please remember to pray for our troops and our chaplains whatever your view of war - they are seeking to serve with integrity in very difficult circumstances. And they are children of the living God who loves them.

Then to the Manchester area for a Quiet Day and a Bicentenary. The day was held at Green Close where we explored seeking help and inspiration from God, recognising that our help comes in many ways. And the anniversary was at the church where I was a member 30 years ago! After worship and food (of course) we used the Labyrinth which was a gift to me from Southgate Methodist Church - another way of listening to God and finding help and inspiration.

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