Tuesday, 12 October 2010

A weekend in Scotland

What a weekend! Last week was a busy one with a Council for World Mission European region roundtable meeting where I was hosting and leading morning worship and Biblestudy... so it was, I admit, with some reluctance that I boarded a train heading North instead of back to London!

I had been invited to conduct a service of Harvest Thanksgiving at Bathgate E.U United Reformed Church where an old colleague from my Croydon days is minister. We happened to bump into each other at General Assembly and he said why don't you ever come to Scotland? I replied that I would if he invited me... he got his diary out and the date was fixed!

Well, what a weekend! Catching up on news and stories from the past, eating great food (I had haggis for lunch on Saturday), and sharing deep conversations about my recent discoveries and steps along my faith journey, about where the URC is going, Reformed T|heology and Church polity!

On Saturday we headed West up into the Highlands where the sun was shining on the Lochs and mountains! It was incredible! From the stunning Munros to the bleakness of Rannoch Moor it was a sheer delight! My friend has a wonderful mind for history and regaled us with stories of Jacobite and Red Coat battles, of clan wars and the hiding of cattle high in the mountains.

As we were driving out of Luss I saw the daughter of URC ministers David and Zam - they were there for a Church away day from their new place in Greenock! What a small world! I'm known within their family as the 'Horsey lady' due to a time when after a church service she climbed on my back and we galloped up the aisle!

We stopped for lunch in Fort William where I had the aforementioned haggis and where it was t-shirt weather! Oystercatchers were feeding on the shores of Loch Linnhe and seagulls played overhead!

We were too late to visit the Dalwhinnie distillery on the way back to Bathgate but that somehow didn't seem to matter - it was such a special day!

Over beer and pizza we talked about my journey of faith and the amazing adventures I've had this year - especially my trip to the States and my rediscovery of Reformed Theology, the cross and the importance of Easter! It was good to feel supported and valued in retelling my story and the share the excitement that this has brought to me!

On Sunday I led a service of Harvest Thanksgiving with a world church flavour! The congregation at Bathgate EU URC are a great bunch of folk - responsive, engaging and keen to share and be involved! They we keen to hear about the Belonging to the World Church programme and how they can be involved!

I think that the more I involve local congregations in my work the more valuable and blessed it becomes!

I have a lot to think about and a lot more reflecting on my own journey but my short trip to Scotland was inspirational! Thank you!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Difficult decisions...

I'm supposed to be in Jerusalem now but am back in my little flat in London waiting for Pizza Hut to deliver! It's been a week of difficult decisions - whether to stay in the UK or fly with the group to Jerusalem... I stayed put!

There has been an emergency with one of our partner churches (I'll tell more in a later blog but now it is not appropriate!) I am having to make difficult decisions all the time but finding support comes in many forms - Francis getting my lunch as I needed to be by the phone. Heather getting me a Mars Milkshake - and then allowing me to join the youth and children's team to have a 'picnic' on the office floor! Jo's general thoughtfulness and 'having a giggle' even in the midst of the stress (oh and crunchie bars!!) Ann and Richard's smiles and words of encouragement and support!

Yes it has been a day of difficult decisions but a blessed day too - I am fortunate to be part of such a great team and to know people are praying for me and the situation!

Yes, I am in London when my friends are in Jerusalem - but I am happy...

Oh, and here comes the Pizza!!!


Monday, 23 August 2010

Singing around the World... At Windermere!

I'm in the Lake District this week at the Windermere Centre (http://windermere.urc.org.uk) for the annual Come and Sing event! It's a 4 day long singing course which attracts singers from both within and outside of the URC. It has a regular crowd of folk who gather each year (always with one or two new people whom are made very welcome!) 

This year we have a new leader in my friend Carole and her theme is 'Around the World'... so she invited me to lead worship! This opportunity has given me the chance to reflect on the last year and use some of the songs and stories I have gathered on my journey around the world! Stories such as visiting the Hector Pieterson Memorial Museum in Soweto, South Africa, or the visit to Cape Coast slave castle in Ghana... 

So, I look forward to sharing and singing with old friends and new... Oh and also to promoting Belonging to the World Church...

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Some photographs from the last year...

A group of URC Ministers visited the Presbyterian Church of Mynamar (Burma)
Top of the Sydney Tower, Australia
 WARC Global Dialogue South Africa

 Durgapur, India
Kids in the Child study and development centre for 'underpriviledged'

 Budiriro, Zimbabwe


Taroko Gorge, Taiwan
Church Leaders' visit to the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan

 Brooklyn Bridge, New York

WCRC Uniting General Council, Grand Rapids

Monday, 16 August 2010

First posting...

Welcome to my new blog... Here, hopefully, I intend to post reflections etc from my life travelling round the world as a URC Secretary for World Church Relations..

These blogs are entirely personal and don't reflect any policy or thinking of the URC...

I hope you enjoy!