At Queen’s College, Birmingham was the closing service of this year’s “Face to Face” programme run by the Council for World Mission – how appropriate it was to sing “Sent by the Lord am I”, the Central American chorus by Jorge Maldonado, and musically arranged by John Bell. We sing the offering of ourselves, not only to witness to God’s love, but also to join God in restoring our world into a kingdom of justice and peace. Here were 9 students from around the world “sent by the Lord” to come to our country, exploring themes of Empire and Oppression, homelessness and asylum seeking, human migration and trafficking. As we sang the song at the end of the service – it was they who were going home to continue the task God sets before us.
On Saturday many of us met together to celebrate the life of the Windermere Centre and mourn its closure. The decision to close the centre was contentious and that was understandable, but the debate wasn’t just about resources and priorities of stewardship. It involved a place that many had found and treasured as a spiritual home, a building and far more than that, through the friendships made there and the experiences shared there over thirty years. People will give testimony to how Scripture was opened up to them in new ways, how faith was enlivened for them, and confidence grown to share the Gospel. No wonder there was a tangible grief in the service, and this was recognised in prayers and sermon, silence and conversation, hugs and goodbyes. Continue reading
I have recently returned from the annual General Assembly of Presbyterian Church of Wales, held in Cardiff, over three very warm days at the beginning of July. The theme of the Assembly was taken from John 20:21, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you”. They met in a lecture hall in the Cardiff Metropolitan University, with the two evening worship sessions being held in the local PCW church, Eglwys y Crwys. The photograph (not very good quality, sorry) shows the immediate past Moderator (Prof J Gwynfor Jones) shaking hands with the newly installed Moderator, (Revd Brian Huw Jones). Continue reading