Friday, 12 August 2011

Back from my "grand" tour

Back from my “grand” tour of Africa now - the longest time I shall be away for the whole of my Presidential year!

The World Methodist Council (the bit that does the work) and The World Methodist Conference (the “showcase” event) were a mixture of the frustrating and the exciting. Chairing The British Methodist Conference is a cakewalk compared to chairing Council where different cultures, backgrounds and structures struggle to be understood and where even the English language can mean at least six different things! So trying to sort out the constitution was a bit of a nightmare but we got there in the end! The Conference however was entirely different - so many opportunities to meet the World Methodist family (usually over a meal!) and to hear of all that God is doing - often in places where its really tough to be a Christian. The parade of 84 flags/banners representing the Methodist/Weslyan church throughout the world will live long in the memory as will the Bible studies and worship which came from a different continent each day.

A brief stop over in Cape Town provided an opportunity to visit Robben Island. We arrived in thick mist which expressed something of the desolation of the past. We left as the sun began to break through the clouds. It was to me a sign of hope for the future of South Africa and Ghana and all the countries and churches I have encountered through others in these past days. And so I end with a blessing from and for Africa:

Walk tall, walk well, walk safe, walk free

and may harm never come to thee.

Walk wise, walk good, walk proud, walk true

and may sun always smile on you.

Walk prayer, walk hope, walk faith, walk light

and may peace always guide you right.

Walk joy, walk brave, walk love, walk strong

and may life always give you song.

See you in a couple of weeks before which I’ve much preparation to do for sermons, talks etc!

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