Monday, 10 June 2013
Darlington and Westminster
On Thursday, off to Darlington, where the sun shone for 3 days. Thursday afternoon in the Middlesborough and Eston Circuit with reps from the Foodbank, Trinity centre in Ormesby, and the ecumenical mission work of 'Together Middlesbrough. Then to Linthorpe Road Methodist Church to meet people involved in the Methodist Asylum Project; and finally to Normanby for tea (or lovely supper!), followed by a service of celebration for all that is happening jointly in the new Circuit - and it is impressive to think how many volunteers are enabling this outreach work to develop. The following morning a very different landscape, for we went via the Methodist School at Richmond and, leaving Mark there, ventured unto the beautiful Swaledale. Isabel's grandfather was a minister at Reeth, so it was a joy to see round the village school, now joined with Gunnerside further up the valley and where we had a school lunch with the children. Admittedly the weather was bright and warm, but what a great place to go to school. In the evening, over another delicious meal, I was asked to speak about World Church relationships. On Saturday morning Mark and I addressed Local Preachers, Worship Leaders and Lay Workers who had gathered at Bishop Auckland, before Isabel and I headed south on the train to London. The preaching appointment on Sunday morning was at Westminster Central Hall for their World Mission service, where Gordon and Denise welcomed us before worship which included the JMA presentations, some excellent music and choral singing, and an expectant multi-cultural congregation. It was quality worship. We had a very pleasant lunch afterwards, getting to know Denise and Gordon better. So today (Monday) it is back to the day job, a working lunch with Glyn, who works for the Oxford Diocese on rural affairs, amongst other rural-based jobs; and then to Greatworth for their afternoon Church Council. It has been a few days thinking about local, rural, town and city church life as well as world mission. Proper Connexionalism!