I wish I prayed more. And I am glad that holiday can be an opportunity to do so.
This year – as so often – the family’s summer break took us to Northumberland. Atop a rock on Bamburgh’s beach I was caught up in a silence that was broken only by soaring gulls, crashing waves and children playing in the distance. And gradually it became prayerful – not because I was saying anything, but perhaps precisely because I wasn’t. A question visited me in that noisy silence, ‘what does it mean to be a Christian today? Continue reading
Life as a new General Assembly Moderator is gently getting underway with preparations for forthcoming engagements gathering speed. In August I will visit and participate in the Holiday Forum at the Swanwick Hayes Centre, following that I will be taking part in a service marking the Revd Lena Talbot’s retirement from full time stipendiary ministry of Word and Sacrament in Blackburn Lancashire. Soon afterwards I will be visiting the Holy Moorside United Reformed Church in Chesterfield where I will lead worship in a service that will be joined by other local churches marking their Flower Festival during Well Dressing week which I understand attracts lots of people.
I am very much looking forward to meeting different people, supporting and taking part in many different occasions that celebrate the life and experiences of different congregations. Continue reading
Fulbourn United Reformed Church, Cambridgeshire
My first preaching engagement as moderator was with one of the two churches of which I am minister – Fulbourn, a village to the east of Cambridge. The elders and I conducted the service and there followed a delicious and delightful lunch, with laden tables, and happy conversation.
At first it seemed a strange thing to do, visiting a church I go to month in and month out; after all, they already know me pretty well really. But then I realised it was less about them receiving the moderator and more about them sending their minister into the wider United Reformed Church family with their support and blessing. Whatismore, it was a significant reminder that I am first and finally a minister of local churches. Whatever else is asked of me, that’s what I live and breathe, that’s what energises me. Continue reading