Sunday, 27 October 2013

East Anglia District

This morning I am using the gift of an extra hour to write about my visit to the East Anglia District last week. It was a visit that included two meetings with retired colleagues - Supernumerary presbyters and deacons, their wives and husbands and ministers widows. We met in Lowestoft and in Huntingdon and on each occasion I presided at communion before we shared lunch and conversation. I really enjoyed and appreciated these opportunities.
Gathering for communion in Lowestoft

This is Vivi who has recently been appointed as community worker in South Lowestoft. The church here wants to make closer and better links with the community in which it is placed and already are seeing the difference that is being made as Vivi, who lives in the community, is making important connections.
On Saturday I was in Hethersett where there was a District gathering of Children's and Youth Workers. Those from Hethersett Church told us about "The Bethlehem Experience" which they had performed last Christmas for 450 children and adults from local schools and the local community. We saw examples of the costumes and the scenery which had been used and some video clips of the production. After the success of last year, the church are repeating the Bethlehem Experience. The Children's and Youth workers then shared their experiences and examples of good practice in small groups. We left before the afternoon session where they were to hear about creative prayer in schools from Sarah, a schools worker.

On Saturday afternoon, Graham (District Chair) took me to visit the Julian Centre in Norwich, I have found Julian of Norwich inspirational and so this was a special visit for me. We also went through the market in the city centre and then visited the beautiful Norwich Cathedral.

Sunday began with morning worship in Swaffham Methodist Church. This was the final event of their bicentenary celebrations and, in my sermon, I referred to some words from Julian of Norwich about God's desire to be seen, sought, expected and trusted.

The Congregation at Swaffham
 In the evening we were in Berkley Street Church in St Neots, where there was a circuit service. It was the church anniversary and we celebrated that. During the service we also received Angie Barnes as an authorised local preacher and I was able to read out the letter I had written, and to present her with a Bible. Local preachers are presented with a Bible as that is the symbol of our authority to preach. It was a joyful service in which we also welcomed a number of supernumerary ministers and ecumenical colleagues into the circuit and celebrated Revd Vivian's 61 years of ordained ministry and 66 years as a preacher.
Gathering for worship in St Neots
It was a day of celebration and a day of worship, recognising the many and varied gifts of the people of God.

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