Ladies Night

Ladies night at Rotary tonight. Straightforward meal, good company, pleasant evening.

Two visitors; Wayne and Tina made the evening very special, including when Wayne accidently pinched my pint of Guiness !  Lots of laughter.

Its good to get out of the Church each week and not have to think about the next Church council, or dispute to resolve, or be under pressure to meet deadlines for sermons, hymns etc. I find that I switch off when I attend Rotary; it really has become a means to let my hair down and relax. GOOD friends.

 

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Rotary Polio eradication

Spent part of this morning collecting money for the Rotary campaign to eradicate polio throughout the world. There are now only four countries which have polio and there is a realistic chance of eradicating this disease from the world completely. Bill and Melinda Gates (of microsoft fame) have donated 100 million dollars and have challenged Rotary International to match the funding in order to achieve the Rotary target.

More info on this can be found on the Rotary website    http://www.rotary.org/en/EndPolio/Pages/ridefault.aspx

Each Rotarian took part in two hour shifts which will continue over the weekend. I shared it with two Rotarian colleagues and we had a great time laughing and enjoying each others company. It is a great privilege to know that I have played my part in something historic (albeit a very small part).

Dad

What a day its been ! Dad is staying with us and has celebrated his 80th birthday today. I think he’s enjoyed it although a bit embarrassed.

The old ruin

The old ruin

 

As its the day of the National Macmillan coffee mornings, Alison took him to Codnor and Waingrove Chapels where they each sang `Happy birthday` to him. I couldn’t spend the morning with him as I had to be collecting for Rotary`s Polio eradication campaign.

I was with him when Codnor sang and I supect he was pleased.

Those who know me will also know that my Dad is my hero; kind, caring, helpful, occasionally grumpy (but who isn’t ?) and universally popular with all who meet him. I wish I was half the guy he is. I’m so pleased that he`s achieved 80 years but now I want him to achieve his 90th, although that will mean I will be on the verge of 60 years myself. Trouble is as I feel older I’m sure he is getting younger and more energetic.

Circuit Meeting

The Ripley Methodist Circuit last night held its Circuit Meeting at which they had to vote as to whether or not I should stay or leave. I had requested a further two years beginning on 1st September 2009 as this would see Alison through her ordination training, see Ripley Methodist through its building project and see the Circuit through the proposed boundary changes (in 2010).

Thankfully the circuit agreed to this extension, so subject to evangelism jobs coming up elsewhere in the country, I will be in Ripley until 2011. We are so pleased about this and relieved.

In the run up to the meeting everyone I spoke to said things like “Don’t worry. You`ll be accepted……..etc” and within me I strongly suspected they were right, but until the vote is actually taken you don`t really know. After all, what if ……….?

No one really understands how stressful it is to be subjected to such a vote and no matter how supportive people are (and Ripley have been magnificent), it will always be stressful. When I first began in Ministry I was all in favour of the itinerant system and to a large extent I still am, but I didn`t really understand the stress of it until my first Circuit vote in 1999, my second in 2003 and now this one. Each time has been painful even though the good people of the Circuits didn`t want it to be. And yet Methodism puts us through this `trial` at regular intervals.

What does it do for Ministry. It can sometimes feel as though you daren`t upset or challenge the congregations in case they vote you out. I know that’s the wrong attitude but you have to be tough to avoid that happenng. its only human for it to cross peoples minds sometimes; It means that sometimes initiatives aren`t tackled just in case the Minister can`t see it through; In some cases it means that projects are put on hold because people know a new Minister is coming next year and so on it goes.

For the Minister and his/her family it creates tension and anxiety re. spouses employment, children’s education, moving away from grown up children and the loss of friends in many cases. To be asked to move on can be a real bereavement.

And yet I don`t know the answer either. I believe in going where God has called me to go, but I`m not convinced the Methodist Stationing system actually directs according to Gods will. Instead I think we trust God to work through the mess, regardless.

But I`m staying in Ripley and right now that’s exactly where I want to be, so a big thank~you to the special people of this Circuit, and a bigger thank~you to God. 

Please pray for all those going through the system from now on.

WHO ARE YOU ??

Don’t you just love it when you meet people and you don’t know who they are, even though its blatently obvious they know you and you SHOULD know them ?

Spent last night at a Rotary charter and a significant number of people came up to me and spoke to me. I recognised their faces but had no idea who they were. I tried to get clues fromt he conversations but none came. I know I should be more blunt and ask them to remind me but for some reason I find that so hard; its about not wanting them to think they have been forgotten or ignored.

Weak excuse I know but its the best I can offer.