It seems an age ago that I gave my last update, such is the busy life of the Connexional President.
On the 14th April Sonia and myself were invited to visit the Bristol Circuit, last year we were invited to their 125th anniversary. This year, we were invited to close the celebrations. It was a joyous time sharing with the folk of Staple Hill and Warmley churches.
Before we commenced the Saturday service, a buffet style tea was served, and after observing this I instantly knew my waistline had no chance!!
At the Saturday evening service I was asked to present a long service award to church secretary Janice Jones who has served our Staple Hill church for 40 years. Mollie Sheperd thanked Janice for her longitude of service and performing many other duties that were necessary in keeping the church alive in Bristol. The church also recognised Ray Ursell’s 40 years of service as a Connexional Minister. Ray was presented a certificate recognising his service, and flowers were given to Ray’s wife Tracey.
Sunday morning we held the service at Warmley, and again it was a delight to share with them. I felt that I should speak on the feeding of the 5000, but unbeknown to me the Sunday School also presented the same story. After the service we were invited to have lunch, we declined this extremely kind offer as our journey home was a minimum of 4 1/2 hours of driving, and as it was I knew that there was increased congestion and delays which made the journey 6 hours.
I have attended many seminars in Sunderland, London, and locally in establishing how GDPR will affect us as a Connexion, and Sheila Heron has now put to the churches guidelines and policies regarding how each church should adopt the new laws.
On 11th & 12th May 2018, I was invited to chair our Ministers & Leaders conference at Lancaster University. Marcus Honeysett was the speaker and his subject was "Leadership”. The conference was attended by 36 Ministers, Leaders, and Students. I have never been to a conference as powerful as this,
Marcus really did not hold back and delivered a hard hitting look at how we minister. Phrases like "40 million people will go to hell if we continue to minister as we currently do.” And "Christ said he would build his church, it is up to us to take on board Matthew 28, being disciples of Christ, and making others disciples.” From the conversations around the meal tables it was clear that Marcus had more than made his point. Once again I must thank Shaun Newton for organising this event and seeking to find this calibre of speaker.
The afternoon of the 15th May we were invited to represent you at the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.
A beautiful, warm spring day, we sat in the Palace gardens enjoying the cucumber sandwiches and iced coffee, and as the Queen made her appearance flanked by Prince Andrew, and the Count and Countess of Wessex, it really made me think of the privileged position I hold as your President being at such a prestigious event.
Back to reality as the 19th May we held our Connexional Committee meeting at Barnoldswick church. We received an extremely warm welcome from the folk there, and we ploughed through a busy agenda and ending the meeting at 4:15pm.
An invite from Pat and Kevin Hodgson took us to our Grindon church on 26 – 27 May.
Grindon had a social evening on the Saturday evening, and we warmly welcomed by all that had gathered there. What we did not realise that quite a few of the ladies who took part in the quiz are well known cheats!! And were able to falsify there answers to achieve maximum points….. I had to forgive them when I saw yet another table groaning with food (where will it end?)
Sunday morning I ministered at one of the most vibrant church services I have ever attended within our connexion. Our church at Grindon has a clear vision for its future, and I pray that God is already putting his plan into action to fulfil the vision, and may the Lord richly bless you in all you do to see kingdom growth in property and numbers.
In June I will attend the CLAS agm, the Congregational Federation Annual Assembly, the Weslyan Reform Union AGM, and I look forward to being back in the North East to visit the circuit attending our churches at Greatham, and Easington Lane.
God Bless you all.