Saturday, 22 September 2012


The last ten days have been very varied. Wednesday Sept 12th was the official farewell to Christine Elliott as Secretary for External Relationships. I said publicly then, and repeat the slight paraphrase here, that we won't know what we've lost till she's gone. Chris was a great colleague for me to have worked with in the World Church Office, and has since worked tirelessly with the wide-ranging brief that the Conference gave her in 2008. I was reminded of the high esteem with which Chris is held worldwide when I attended (probably as much for my previous world church experience, as for representing MCB) a Sri Lanka consultation in Geneva over the last couple of days. It drew together members of the Christian Council in Sri Lanka and external partners - of which the Methodist Church in Britain is highly respected as accompanying SL on its long journey to reconciliation and a lasting peace. Notwithstanding the present excellent relations with MCB's World Church Relationships' staff, many delegates from Asia were genuinely sorry to hear that Chris was no longer in the Connexional Team, so soon after the successful All Partners Consultation in 2010. The photo below shows one of the sessions, hosted by WCC, and chaired jointly by WCC and the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka. Much still needs to be done on the road to reconciliation, and MCB remains committed to the future, and possibly painful, process ahead for SL.
In between those events was a very happy evening at Oxford Brookes University, very closely allied to the Methodist Church through its merger with Westminster College. The event was specifically to open two new student residential blocks; and they were designed and finished to a very high standard. The great joy was that one of these blocks was being named after the Revd Professor Frances Young, who served on the Governing Council of Westminster College, was a Governor of Brookes and Chair of the Westminster College Oxford Trust. In 2010 she was awarded an honorary Doctorate by the University. It was a happy, largely informal and yet very significant evening. I know that for all of us our rewards are in heaven, but I am still left wondering whether we always do enough in the Methodist Church to honour appropriately those who have served us well?

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