Monday, 15 October 2012
VP - Birmingham to Bethlehem
On Monday and Tuesday it was off to Birmingham for the Conservative Party Conference. The Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) had again enabled the joint-Churches group to meet politicians such as Eric Pickles and Dominic Grieve, Attorney General. I also had time to hear Jeremy Hunt in the Hall extol the virtues and significance of the NHS. No time in a blog for analytical comment, but the Tory view on coalition government was different to the LibDems two weeks ago. I was also given the opportunity to take part in the devotions at the Prayer Breakfast, which led to some interesting conversations afterwards. Upper Boddington's Church Council on Tuesday evening was a welcome change! Very recently I had been asked to represent the Church at the opening of the Methodist Liaison office in Tantur, near Jerusalem. So on Wednesday it was off to Luton Airport for Easyjet's flight to Tel Aviv. Evening in Bethlehem. At 5 am on Thursday morning I was being herded through the 'cattle pens' with all the Palestinian workers trying to get to Jerusalem to their daily work. It was my first time of crossing the wall and I found it a de-humanising process - but those around me did it every day. I marvel at their patience. The Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAPPI) were splendid people from all over the world, including 19 year old Alex, a Methodist from Brazil (see photo), and clearly all were deeply moved and troubled by what they were experiencing day in and day out.