Thursday, 21 February 2013
VP - Ash and Beach
One of the joys of living in the village of Hornton, near Banbury is the close ecumenical working between Anglicans and Methodists. Last week I was invited to lead the Ash Wednesday service for the village in the Methodist chapel, which was a real privilege. A couple of days ago, in another village, I was asked why Christians don't do more together as, from an 'outsider' point of view, this seemed like illogical disunity. I agreed. In between, I spent the week-end in Somerset, preaching in the morning at East Brent, a small chapel where my parents worshipped for many years. It was good to see old friends from some of the surrounding 'link' chapels too - Brent Knoll and Brean. It was just as good to meet people new to me, now new friends, who have recently given fresh impetus to those small village causes. In the evening I joined Robert Channon (Superintendent) and Ward Jones (Chair) in a Circuit service at Milton, Weston-super-Mare. During the day I picked up some anxieties about the way the Methodist Church was moving; but much of this was based on one-sided reporting of recent Conference decisions. There are different ways of addressing communication breakdowns, but the PR role of President and VP is one very important part of the strategy. Perhaps the Church has underestimated this PR role of senior Connexional leaders lately. It is difficult to put 'time to listen' in a job description and how would you assess, quantify, appraise or target-set such an objective? But it's nonetheless vital for a Church that values connection so highly. Just as Lent is a good time to listen to what God wants to communicate to us.