Towards the end of July, I spent a day visiting our church in the town where this statue celebrates one of the products the town is famous for. Do you know where I was?
This was the first time I had to preach two different sermons in one day … I know there will be a number of ministers out there saying: welcome to the real world!
For those of you who haven’t come across this statue before, the statue is of a man seated on a bollard, wearing only a sycamore leaf and a single sock, which he is looking down at admiringly (the sock, not the leaf!). The Sock was created by the sculptress Shona Kinloch, and is symbolic of Loughborough’s hosiery industry.
I preached at the morning service in Loughborough URC, which was led by their minister Revd Elizabeth Thomson. In the afternoon, I preached at the service to mark Mike Playdon’s 50th anniversary of his ordination, which was led by the Synod Moderator, Revd Peter Meeks. I have known Mike for many years, so it was a joy to take part in his celebration. His last pastorate before his retirement (Cores End), was in the neighbouring church to the one where I worship, Trinity High Wycombe. The service was followed by a delightful tea which gave me time to circulate and chat.
Following the tea, I visited the Soup Kitchen, held on the premises every Sunday evening by local Loughborough University students. It was good to see the students getting involved with the homeless people of Loughborough. It was equally good to see how Elizabeth engaged with both the students and the homeless guests (whom she knew all by name). Other church members also get involved with other lettings when they had a mission context. Is this a new model for small churches where some of the mission activities are ‘outsourced’ to other groups – outsourced but not abdicated as the church retains a significant involvement in the activity? Well done, Loughborough.