Thursday, 6 September 2012
On Saturday August 25 I joined Mark at Greenbelt. We did some things together - photo opportunity at the Christian Aid bus re Tax Justice (please watch out for it on its current national tour); and a late evening 'Methodist mingle' in a very soggy tent. In between, some stimulating speakers, good worship, and a fascinating discussion on prayer. The Goan fish curry was good too! There was the joy of unexpected meetings with Mission Partners, Chairs of District, old friends and colleagues. I am interested too, at ecumenical events like this, in the number of conversations with total strangers who have Methodist connections. Do I lament that all these people are not now regularly worshipping in the Methodist Church; or rejoice in the seeds that Methodism continues to sow? And which is nearer to the vision of John Wesley? The next day, in between leading worship am and pm, I attended a service in a village called Wroxton at a chapel where the fellowship was 'ceasing to meet'. It was the first time that I had attended such a service - a sensitive mixture of thanksgiving for all that had happened there, mixed with a sense of bereavement, and the difficult task of 'moving on' for the faithful few - but to where, and to what - how to discern what God was actually asking them to do now? Where now to sow the seeds? The building itself is in good condition and the local school will use at least one of its rooms for the next two terms. After that, decisions will need to be made about the various options: realising capital for the circuit, releasing money for mission, keeping a 'presence' in the village, using the chapel for other Christian purposes, etc. God is present in all this; but what does God want us to do? I keep thinking about that discussion at Greenbelt on the importance and purpose of prayer.