Tuesday, 11 September 2012


A week-end of anniversaries and celebrations! Last Friday I was one of the Methodist Church reps at Yattenden, near Reading, for the 40th Anniversary of the Arthur Rank Centre, the ecumenical body which has helped rural communities so much in recent times. It was a lovely occasion rounded off by a service of worship, with Pam Rhodes interviewing both the Revd John Clark (Director 1988-99)(in the photo) and the Revd Graham Jones (National Rural Officer for the Methodist Church and URC).
On my way there I was pondering on the ARC initials, and for me they could stand for Approachable, Rural expertise, and Credibility. The Revd Gordon Gatward (present Director)at Conference this year reminded us that probably the only organisation that kept credibility with the farming community during the Foot and Mouth outbreak, was the ARC; acts of kindness, compassion, practical help and just being there for people when it was most needed. On Sunday, after leading a morning Harvest Festival in Chacombe (as part of which we exhibited the art work of the village group), having found a way across the paralympic marathon route, I went to Westminster Central Hall to be with the Ghanaian Methodist Fellowship and join in their 10th Anniversary service. Much celebration about what has been achieved, the big strides forward in integration, the ways in which the British Church is being changed by influences from beyond these shores. Yet the challenge throughout was the further need for Ghanaians and those of other Fellowships, to take more of a lead in ministry and mission here in UK. In the Body of Christ, in the Methodist Church in Britain, how we need to make the most of each other's gifts.
It was a week-end to give thanks to God, and especially for the Church being a credible presence in the lives of very different communities.

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