Wednesday, 29 May 2013
Wesley's Chapel, Queen's and Cliff College week-end
Just getting my breath back after a wonderful week-end of celebrations. It kicked off on Friday, which was Aldersgate Day, and Evensong at St Paul's Cathedral, with Mark. Then graciously led by Leslie Griffiths and Jennifer Potter, a couple of hundred people (Americans, Koreans and Ghanaians well to the fore) joined in short acts of worship in St Paul's churchyard before John Wesley's statue, at the Aldersgate memorial at London Wall, and in Bunhill Fields at Susanna Wesley's grave. Did it matter that it rained and was really quite chilly? It was a 'warmed heart' experience. Over the road to a service in Wesley's Chapel where I was privileged to use the pulpit (and lost my footing as I left it - thank you, Jennifer, for catching me!), before a final wreath-laying in the garden at the back of the Chapel. What an evening! On Saturday Isabel and I joined in the end of year celebrations at Queen's Foundation in Birmingham. Plenty of good conversation with ecumenical friends, course leavers of both diaconal and presbyteral vocations, staff - and not least both old and new friends from our world church partners who are at Queen's for their MA courses. A lovely sunny afternoon with good worship, fellowship and food. Not an easy year for all our theological colleges and the staff concerned, and I was very aware of this all afternoon. However, there was another feeling of celebration in the air on Monday when we joined Mark, Judith and a number of their family at Cliff College for their annual week-end of teaching and worship. The entire act of worship on Monday morning when Mark preached was very powerful, and it was good to be a small part of the afternoon programme amongst hundreds of eager and expectant Christians. How blessed we are in the Methodist Church to have such gifted people teaching on all our courses throughout UK. The whole week-end confirmed for me what a talented Church I belong to and what an extraordinarily rich year I am having, being able to meet and share with such brilliant preachers, teachers and organisers - for which I give thanks to God.