Thursday, 22 December 2011


London has been the centre of most of my activities since I last blogged! Living so far away from the so called centre of things its helpful to try to combine a whole lot of meetings when I’m in the capital so it was “wall to wall” from morning to night. Highlights included two visits to the House of Lords (I think I could get to like it!!) a site visit to the Olympic Stadium (a lengthy and most inspiring conversation with the Chaplain there and a handshake from Lord Coe!) as well as a visit to Stratford Methodist Church to hear how they are preparing for “the invasion” and learning to see it as a Gospel opportunity, a Carol service at the Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest in Poplar - an incredibly slow journey (how do people cope with it every day?) but an amazing work and a great service. Proud to be a Methodist there! It was also a real privilege to be at the Fresh Expressions Summit and to hear of the exciting things that are happening all around our Connexion where some folk are connecting with the Gospel and others re-connecting. It was also good (and humbling) to host with Ruth a day for the former Presidents and Vice Presidents and although it got occasionally out of hand (what do you expect with 44 church leaders in the room?) it seems to have been appreciated and Rev Dr Kenneth Greet’s gracious words at the end made it all worthwhile.

Then to Birmingham – the real capital of England – for the centenary service to mark the death of William McGregor, Founder of The Football League and Director of Aston Villa. All the great and the good from Villa were there – it was like heaven! Pity watching the team play at the moment is apparently like the other word beginning with H!

So now I’m in Norfolk and looking forward to something of a rest for a few days but with a certain nervous glance towards an incredibly busy January I suspect I’ll need to carve out some preparation time somewhere along the line!

A very happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year to all my patient readers!

Friday, 9 December 2011


Sitting in Addis Ababa airport (Tuesday night), so barring an overnight flight nearly home! What an exhilarating trip to Ethiopia! At times grueling (six hours walking each way to remote forest communities in high altitude). At times challenging (with no electricity or fresh water for three days - an experience of course which is a way of life for many Ethiopians) but always at every turn a breaking down of more pre-conceptions (see the Methodist Recorder Christmas edition!) Yes a country that has known much poverty and oppression but is so much more than that - the splendor of the countryside, the safety of the towns, the rich history of the Ethiopian people and not least of the church (as The Patriarch reminded us is the oldest church) see Acts 8 vv26 ff. Ethiopia needs many things but not least a more positive press in the west and plenty of tourists to visit Lalibela, source of The Blue Nile and wildlife in abundance - any takers?

I am so grateful to MRDF, to Simeon Mitchell and Charlotte! who looked after me and to MRDF's partner in Ethiopia SUNARMA for the opportunity to visit this amazing country and see the way in which climate change and deforestation has had a devastating effect but also the way in which Small Miracles are taking place as trees are planted, irrigation provided, alternative sources of income developed and those of how food, security and livelihoods are improved.

On my flight out I read of God's promise to his people of a future and a hope and on my return reflect on a people beginning to believe in both again. Please pray for them.