Friday, 17 January 2014

A Potpourri before Christmas Day in Durham

I left Guernsey on December 13th and flew to Exeter where I spent the day with staff and students of the South West Ministerial Training Course. It was a very good day as I heard about the course and spent some time with the 2 Methodist students who are completing their ministerial formation here.

Gathering for the service
 I arrived back in Darlington that evening to unpack after an eventful couple of weeks and to prepare for a service in Windlestone Methodist Church where they were celebrating their centenary. Windlestone is in the Darlingon District and it was good to be able to preach and to share with them on this very special occasion.
The music group

 A crowded entrance vestibule
Enjoying mince pies and conversation

On Monday December 16th I was on the train again - this time to Leicester. I was presenting a paper at De Mountford Law School at a conference on the issues of faith and belief and the donation of body parts for transplantation and research. My paper was entitled 'Donation as Gift'. It was a fascinating and engaging day with speakers from the fields of law, medicine and theology.

On Tuesday I was in London to record my Christmas message which you can still hear at That evening Daleep and I attended a reception in St Martins in the Fields at the invitation of Action for Children. We were there to celebrate the work and to say good-bye and thank you to Dame Clare Tickell who was leaving her post as Chief Executive of the charity.

I was still in London on Wednesday to be interviewed by Barry Weetman for the Methodist Recorder and to take part in the Carol Service in Methodist Church House. This was my first Carol service of the year and it was good to look forward to Christmas with the staff who do so much to support the work of the church.
At lunch time I met other women who are in leadership positions in faith communities: The Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury, The General Secretaries of the United Reformed Church and the Baptist Union and the Senior Rabbi to the Movement of Reform Judaism.

December 19th was the beginning of a Christmas break, time to celebrate the birth of Christ, time to be with my family and time to rest.

On Christmas Day I went to Durham Prison where I preached in the morning communion service. It was the right place to be, a challenging place and a place to remember the reality of God with us, with us wherever we find ourselves.

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