Friday, 22 July 2011
Sunday, 10 July 2011
Last Sunday in Southport was a day of inspiring worship as we received and ordained presbyters and deacons into the Methodist Church. Today was a great contrast, but in its own way just as inspiring. Six Methodists running for MRDF joined more than 25,000 runners who were raising money for a wide variety of Charities. It was a warm day and quite a challenge for many of us as we ran/jogged/walked past the historic landmarks of central London. There was a terrific atmosphere and the onlookers cheered everyone, whether they knew them or not. Lots of runners wore fancy dress – I just don’t know how they managed in the heat.
It was in January that I heard myself offering to do the run, to keep our district development enabler Heather company. I’ve never done anything like it before, and wondered what on earth I was letting myself in for, but I printed off some ‘running for beginners’ guidelines and started a schedule of running/walking around Congleton Park in the early mornings. It was a beautiful place to be and a far cry from the crowded streets of London that we experienced today. There were some setbacks, but I set myself the target of getting round in 1 hour 30 minutes, and achieved it today with 5 minutes to spare! It is without doubt the most challenging thing I have set myself to do for a very long time – way out of my comfort zone.
Our MRDF team comprised myself, Heather Staniland, Helen Boardman, Judy Gibbons, Chris Collins and Jane Cowie. We had a great time together, and will hopefully have raised several thousands of pounds for a very worthwhile organisation. Next year…… who knows?
If you would like to donate, here’s the link:
The money will be used for the latest emergency to need relief.
What a great privilege it was to be able to share in the chairing of Conference! I have really appreciated it, and there has been such a wonderful atmosphere for much of the time. We were led so helpfully in worship first thing each business morning, and in Bible Study on Colossians 1 15-20 after lunch each day. Worship and Bible study set a really good tone for the business, and members of Conference responded well with thoughtful contributions to the debates. There was also plenty of humour and we laughed a lot! Ending the day with pastoral conversation and prayer seemed to be helpful to many representatives.
We had some important business to do, and got off to a good start with the General Secretary’s Report which has inspired many of us. You can watch again this and all other reports on the Methodist Conference website www.methodistconference.org.uk
The business was interspersed with hymns and songs both ancient and modern, ably led by our resident worship band. We were introduced to many from ‘Singing the Faith’ which will be published before too long.
We said thank you and farewell to the Assistant Secretary of Conference, Revd. Ken Howcroft, who has been a rock to a succession of Presidents and Vice-Presidents struggling to keep to procedure from time to time! His next appointment is in Rome, and he was presented with a ‘Teach yourself Italian’ manual. (NB - should be easy after New Testament Greek)
Somehow, just when Leo and I were beginning to feel at home, we were singing ‘Captain of Israel’s host’ (our traditional final hymn) and it was all over –until we meet in Plymouth in 2012
Thank you to the many people who worked hard every day to oil the wheels of the Conference machine – especially to those who were up till the early hours of the morning getting our paperwork ready each day.
Now we need to take our decisions back to our circuits and churches for prayer and action!
Friday, 8 July 2011
Welcome to The President’s Blog! I have never written a blog before so hope this will be of some interest.
Back in the north-east eating fish and chips on Whitley Bay promenade and hardly believing Conference has happened! Was it really me there? But it was an amazing experience with the Ordination Service at Chester Cathedral probably the highlight and Leo’s Bar probably the lowlight! I was petrified by the thought of chairing Conference but Ken and Gareth were incredibly helpful and the members of Conference were incredibly gracious so got through it okay I think! So impressed by prayerful atmosphere and desire to listen to each other - what a change from a few years ago! Recovery day today before Durham, West Yorkshire and then to Norfolk for a few days holiday.
My already good friend and great colleague Ruth will I’m sure be blogging more often than I do but I will try and keep you in touch with things. First prayer item please - that Charlotte won’t spend too much on clothes for the Queens Garden Party! Secondly and more seriously I’d particularly value your prayers during this year. My itinerary is on the Presidential Prayer Card.
Monday, 4 July 2011
It was wonderful to share in the weekend with members of my family here in the UK and also some of my adopted family from Kenya. And thank you to everybody who travelled to make the event so uplifting.