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!