Saturday, 31 May 2014

London District - Festival, Surrey and Wesley's Chapel

My visit to the London District began on Saturday May 17th after meetings in Church House on the Friday. On the first day Rev Jenny Impey, one of the London Chairs took me to a local farm, and woodland. The farm was the local city farm which was a popular place with families. Here children can see market garden crops growing and a variety of farm animals. All the sounds and smells of the farm were here and I thoroughly enjoyed myself!

The woodland is in the area of Russian Dock and, again it was being enjoyed by families. There were mature trees, wild flowers and even a constructed hill from which there were good views over the city.

Wonderful variety of food
In the evening we went to Walworth Methodist Church to enjoy an international festival I was joined here by Daleep, the Vice-President who was also visiting the London District. The evening began with food provided by the different cultural groups: Hindu, Philippino, Chinese, Nigerian, Zimbabwean and Ghanaian - it was a magnificent feast - Could we call it fusion catering?

Hazel served tea
After the eating and a lot of photographs we moved into another hall for the entertainment, each group having 10 minutes to perform. There was singing, dancing, a demonstration of lantern making and a lot of laughter and fun.
We processed into the hall

With the Philippino Fellowship
With the Ghanaian Fellowship

With the Chinese Fellowship
With the Nigerian Fellowship

This was the first time the fellowship groups had joined together for a festival - I hope it is the first of many.
On sunday morning, Jenny drove me out from central London to the outer part of the District. We went into Surrey to Warlingham Methodist Church. In this area which is somewhere between suburban and semi-rural Warlingham is a church serving the local community and with strong and good lay leadership it is growing and thriving. The service was led by a worship leader and an excellent music group. The young people participated fully and I preached.
Sharing after the service
As I left the church I talked to a man sitting on the wall, reading his Bible. He had been one of those at the front who had been invited to the church. He told me how much his faith meant to him. I thought how much was shown simply by reading the bible in a public place.

The Church has a monthly Messy Church and last month 96 children arrived, there is a youth group and several other fellowship groups. During the service five people were called to the front and the congregation were asked what they had in common, several suggestions were made, all correct but none the answer that was being sought. Five others were then invited to come forward in order to make five pairs. Among them were a mother and daughter, a son and his father, a young woman and a male friend, a grand-mother and her grand-daughter - what the original 5 had in common was that each of them had invited some-one else to come to the church who was now a committed worshiper. A powerful and apt illustration of what we all should be doing.
From Warlingham we travelled to Whitehorn Avenue Methodist Church, where they were celebrating their anniversary. We joined them for a roast lunch and for conversation.
With 4 female presbyters, the Chair of District, Superintendent and the 2 other circuit ministers
We returned to central London and I spent some time talking with members of the District Youth Board who were meeting in Central Hall Westminster.

On Sunday evening I joined Daleep again as we were both participating in the ordinands testimony service in Wesley's Chapel. I was invited to preach and Daleep brought greetings to the ordinands and also to those candidates who had been accepted for trainingand new Local Preachers. Among the ordinands was one who had candidated from the Darlington District, it was good to be with him on this occasion.
On Monday I was to visit the Tower Hamlets area and it was another full day  - so full that it demands a separate blog.

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