Well it's been a strange couple of weeks! A case of a tale of one city which I was due to visit three times and only ended up going to twice!
Wesley's Chapel was wonderful - a full church, much life and energy and plenty of young people! To preach from Wesley's pulpit and distribute the elements from Wesley's table with memorials to the saints of Methodism all around me was both awesome and humbling. A very special day!
The New Year service at Methodist Church House provided an opportunity to put faces to names because despite what some may think - and the way some are treated - they are people and they work hard for God to enable the church to function at its best. It would be lovely to think that this year they might receive more encouragement and less brickbats from the people called Methodists!
But visit number three to the TUC never happened because at the very last minute they decided they wanted to go "in house" and guests were to be excluded. This was a great pity as links with the Trade Unions have historically been very important to both sides but hopefully normal service will be resumed next year.
But the two "free" days gave me an opportunity to fulfil a promise I had made to the Methodist Church in Ghana when I was there recently and that was to take a gift and certificate to three former missionaries from the British Methodist church who had signed their autonomy document fifty years ago and who they wished to honour. A doddle I thought they're bound to live in London, Manchester or ...... Newcastle? Not a bit of it - North Yorkshire, Somerset and The Republic of Ireland! So I've been to Settle and to Tullamore so far and hope to get to Weston Super Mare next weekend on my way back from Plymouth and Exeter District. They were long days but I think good visits and impossible of course to quantify in terms of distance or time.
Well The Great North Run approaches! Apprehensive but confident I can at least walk if not run it but a pity the sun has started shining warmly in the North-East at last!!