Thursday, 6 September 2012
On Sunday September 2nd, the first Sunday in the new Connexional Year, Mark and I were invited to Wesley's Chapel in the morning.It was a time of praise and worship with a real international flavour, we enjoyed two baptisms, an uplifting sermon from Mark on '...the best is yet to be', and shared in communion. After the service, outdoors at the back under the watchful eye of our founder, an international buffet was laid on for a veritable multitude. Conversations with Ghanaians, Sierra Leoneans; with others from Cote d'Ivoire, Tonga, Fiji, Ireland, Singapore. What a joyous occasion - and thanks to all involved! The evening service was a more reflective time at Westminster Central Hall. It was a healing service and was lifted in prayer well before 6.30. Walking into the sanctuary there was an almost palpable sense of expectation, and people were clearly wanting to hear God speaking to them. The theme for my sermon was 'Longing for Grace'. The integrated communion and prayers of healing was such a special time. The Revd Peter Edwards will now co-ordinate this healing ministry. I was very impressed by the quality of leadership evident on Sunday. Not just the superintendent ministers, Leslie and Martin the right people at the right time, but also by the team of ordained and lay people who are involved in so many ways in both Wesley's Chapel and Westminster Central Hall. Without such quality lay commitment, up and down the country, Methodism would be very much poorer - indeed, probably not exist at all. Yesterday, Mark and I were together again at Methodist Church House to take part in the new year service for the Connexional Team. The Revd Jo Cox led the worship and I kicked off with a reflection on 'We'll praise him for all that is past...' followed by Mark on '...and trust him for all that's to come.' It was not the easiest reflection that either of us will do this year. Decisions taken at Conference, or even by Methodist Council, sometimes taken without much debate, often have a real impact on people's jobs and lives in the Connexional Team, and we were both very conscious of this; for me the real impact was in 2007, for Mark it is, of course, very recent. We all need healing, we all need God's grace, we all need to trust God - and yes, the best is yet to be!