Thursday, 29 November 2012
28th November 2012 President at Swanwick
I’m on my way back from the City Centre group of the Methodist Church where I’ve spent the last 24 hours. It’s a gathering of those, rather obviously, who have a ministry within the centre of our great cities – from Edinburgh to Plymouth and wide on either side. It was really encouraging. I started my ministry in what was then called a ‘pre-collegiate’ year living in the Birmingham Central Hall with my very new wife, Judith. I was a youth worker and it was an adventure! I learnt so much from the likes of Alan Francom, Michael Wildgust and the Superintendent Alan Broadbent who recently sadly died. As I lived on the premises and was about to be trained as a Methodist Minister, I would get all the drunken, lost, bewildered, sad and simply odd members of the City Centre community of Birmingham. I truly loved the job. Meeting ministers and lay people who work full time in such areas is simply inspiring. They do a great job. I was most inspired by a Fresh Expression in Swansea, Sean and the ‘Zach’s Place’ project will rekindle all your longing for ministry as it should be. Google it and pray!
I had the privilege – and believe me it was, to share some thoughts with the 50 or so people in the Conference. Obviously I felt a right old fraud with such front line ministers! However I asked a question that has been bugging me. ‘What if the church was more than simply for the poor, confused, sad etc., and instead did the ‘Jesus thing’ and was ‘OF’ the poor and odd etc. I really don’t have a clever answer – but I’m pretty sure it is a good question.