At the end of January, I took the morning service in the Rothbury URC which was hosting the regular get together for the Mid Northumberland Mission Partnership. It delightful to spend some time with the folk from Rothbury, Alnwick and the environs; as an added benefit it afforded me the opportunity to pick up with old friends and and to make some new friends.
It was particularly pleased to hear of the development plans for the Rothbury church as it seeks to serve better the local community; the sense of excitement was palpable. It was great to see Dave Herbert, the Northern Synod Moderator looking so well after his recent illness. Of note was hearing about the missional discipleship development work going on in the Synod. Two of my old friends from my home church, Ian and Maureen Buchanan, have lived in Alnwick for about a decade now, so it was good to catch up with them. Ian leads the small Synod team who is working on the Synod’s ‘Footsteps’ programme. Footsteps will be launched later on this year and brings together a cohesive strategy which will eventually incorporate different leadership models and training, missional discipleship (Walking the Way) and lay development (Stepwise). This is a very exciting and practical approach aiming to get Northern Synod into a shape to thrive in the changing circumstances we all find ourselves in today.
One particular highlight of the weekend was to have dinner with Revd Alasdair Pratt and his wife Sheila. A lot of you will remember that Alasdair was GA Moderator in 2003. I did not know Alasdair when he was the serving Moderator, but if the charm, wit and intellect I saw was anything to go by the church would have been well served by him and Sheila.