Thursday, 24 November 2011

This has been a very special couple of weeks. It began in a tent at the Monument in Newcastle in an hour’s conversation with the protesters. It’s been a long time since I discussed Hans Kung in church! Fascinating conversations and whatever the rights or wrongs I was challenged by the comment that “each of us can make a difference” and the mutual caring/sharing with Brunswick Methodist Church 20 yards away.

The Remembrance Service at The Cenotaph was unforgettable - for the timing, the silence, the dignity and the opportunity to speak to a number of High Commissioners - including from Fiji! The occasion demanded politeness (would I be anything else?) but I did indicate that our Methodist sisters and brothers in Fiji would continue to be the focus of our concern.

It seemed somewhat fitting that I should then spend the next couple of days with the Army Chaplains - it was their turn on a three year rota - and I was mightily impressed! I wonder why we sometimes think Chaplaincy is a soft option? All I can say is if spending seven months with our troops on the front line in Afghanistan caring for the injured and their families and grieving for the dead and the bereaved is a soft option then I don’t know what the hard one is! How much they are valued by the armed services - more than in the church I wonder? Perhaps a clue for the next intercessory prayer time at your local church?

And talking of prayer I led a day for Worship Leaders and Local Preachers in the Manchester and Stockport District last Saturday and thought the prayer pyramid at Cheadle Hulme was wonderful! It’s used before, during and after worship when anyone can come and light a candle. A far cry from my second Circuit where I was accused of being a Papist because I asked a child to carry a candle at the Nine Lessons and Carols Service!! Another good idea to pinch from others? Methodists are good at that!

Now after a weekend in Durham for the new Bishop’s Enthronement and the Advent Carol Service - something else Methodists could do well to “pinch” - its off to Ethiopia with MRDF. I can’t imagine what it will be like but moving and exhausting are two words that come to mind. Please pray for me, Charlotte and Simeon Mitchell (from MRDF) that the visit may be both informative for us and encouraging for others.

I’ll let you know how it went next time.

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