The last few days have been a bit busy with travelling around the country and being involved in a few things.
Last Friday I visited a couple of mission teams, one in Swindon and the other in Saltash. The drive down was through all that rain and thunder. I set off from Cliff in the sun and approached Birmingham into what could only be described as an apocalyptic gloom. I wasn't too surprised to hear what was happening down in Glastonbury!
Eventually got to Swindon and met with the team - most of whom were soaking wet! The drove down to Saltash - entering the blessed realm of Cornwall once again. Had a good time with the team.
Popped into Plymouth on the way home and walked down on the Hoe. I pondered why it was that I always feel so at home in Plymouth. I only lived there for five years before we moved to Lancashire. But every time I go to the city, I feel like I am coming back to somewhere which is just so right. I had a chat with a few people about this over the next few days...still not got to the bottom of it. More later perhaps...what would church be like if we had that sort of allegiance to it?
I then came home for a couple of days - well 1 and a bit days. We had friends round on Saturday although I spent the evening running around with Sam trying to find a doctor who could prescribe an asthma preventer. We went through NHS Direct which was clearly chaotic and ended up at a new form of doctors out of hours thing in Chesterfield. The doc decided he had a chest infection and so it was good job we took him. He's better now.
Sunday was Matt Finch's ordination service in Taunton and Theresa was due to come down with me. With poorly kids and Grace with a broken leg(!!!), we decided I would do the trip on my own and stayed south for a couple of days.
It was good to be with Matt and Yaz for their special day - and to see other friends - Phil and Zoe, Bart and Rachel, Peter Barber and so on. However, I have to say that I found the ordination service to be dull as ditchwater! Why can't we use spirituality which is rich, deep, meaningful. Why can't we use symbols, senses, visuals? Why are the only two ingredients in our worship words and the blessed organ? I'm sorry but that is simply not good enough. It belittles worship and fails to show the congregation how important ordination is.
After the service, a few of us went off to Pizza Express for a meal - lovely time of fellowship and probably a much deeper sense of worship than in the church! Doing Par Cours on the way to the meeting was great fun! And if you don't know what Par Cours is - nor did I! Apparently it is 'street running'.
Stayed with friends for a couple of days and spent Monday afternoon on the beach at Charmouth with Matt and Yaz. We collected fossils (probably Methodists!) and talked about the future, about emering church, about blogging and everything else. Yaz is thinking of starting a blog (PLEASE!!!!) and was asking what I thought. Well, I think my blog is basically a diary with a few comments thrown in. Don't think anyone reads it really. But it is good for me to write some stuff down. One day I might lose my memory and then what would I do!
Blogging can be sharing newsworthy items (Paleojudaica? NTGateway); sharing wise thoughts (tsk; Jonny Baker; Maggi Dawn?); family based musings (???); or a complete farrago of all of these (mine?). I don't know what blogging is for and so I am not sure whether what I do is right or not. So hard to advise Yaz about what to do with hers - Just do it Yaz and see what happens! It will be worth it.
Matt and Yaz are wonderful people and we had a great time - and the ice creams were wonderful - Mango something or other...mmm.
Tuesday morning drove down to Torquay for the Methodist Conference. I was there to introduce a report called Growth in Ministry. I had been on a working party which wrote the report and so they felt I was the right person to speak to it. In fact, this meant meeting lots of people during the day and standing up in Conference and making a three minute presentation!!! Long way to go for the speech, but a good opportunity to see loads of old friends and be involved in making a change to the way Methodist seeks to offer professional development for its ministers. I believe in what I was saying and presenting. And they liked it too! Passed without any problems.
Eventually after much greeting, tea drinking and chatting, I set off back to Cliff. I ended up driving through TEN thunderstorms!!! It was manic. I wished I could stop half way but decided to push through. Got home about midnight and was very very pleased to be home...it's been a tiring few days.
Better stop...long blog...I will try and reflect upon this some other time...