My much anticipated year of office as President of my local Rotary Club (West Ashfield) has begun earlier than anticipated. I was due to become President in July, but our current President (Graham) has moved to the Isle of Wight and so I have had to step up earlier than I expected.  Graham will be much missed but his move was an opportunity that he couldn’t let go by so I begin my new position officially on Tuesday coming (16th). I don’t know if I will be President or Acting President but the title isn’t the important part for me; what is important is the opportunity to help the club through these difficult times.

If anyone wants to know what Rotary is about then plenty of information can be found on the website. Rotary is a terrific organisation committed to helping others (and especially at the moment, to eradicating Polio completely). Our help is both local and international, and I’m proud to be a member of this fine organisation.

being further connected !!!

Further to my post of yesterday, I have been taken to task by some youngsters who I omitted from my list. My apologies therefore to Ellie and Julia Wood, and I ask forgiveness.

Ellie and Julia are very special to me and like Gareth and Kate I almost regard them as my Godchildren.


Being Connected

Retreat is still going well. Just finished a session on `Being connected`based on John 15:1~17. We were challenged to think about all the people we’ve been connected to in our lifetime, we are still connected to and we were challenged to give thanks for them. Set me off thinking about Doreen Bullerwell, to whom I owe so much for setting me out on this journey, to Mum and Dad who gave me so much, to Auntie Evie and Uncle Bill who loved me as their own. I think of Alison, my wife, of whom I’m so proud, of friends like Judith, Alison, Stuart, Andrew and the list goes on and on.

I then began thinking about the youngsters I’ve been in contact with over the years, Gareth, Kate, Chris, Jamie, Nathan and the youngsters I think so much of in my current Churches, Ben, Adam, Nathan, Matthew, Bradley, Brodie, Iain, James, The Crowther girls, the Grundy girls and again the list goes on and on (My apologies if I’ve missed anyone out; it doesn’t mean I think any the less) and it becomes so long that I cannot mention everyone. I see that on my facebook I have 143 friends and I am aware of others who have not yet found me on facebook.

When I came into ministry it felt as though I was leaving my wider family behind in the North East but as I look back now I see that God has given me a much bigger family and I am so grateful for that connectedness.

The second part of the challenge was a lot harder. It was to think of those people who would be giving thanks for being connected to me; people who I’ve sat with at bedsides, the sick, the dying; those I’ve helped on Alpha courses; those I’ve simply befriended; schoolchildren at assemblies. I am aware that there must be some but its a lot harder and against natural inclinations to think that anyone would be thankful for me. I know, in my heart that they are, but it almost feels like boasting to admit it. Maybe that’s part of the reason for the challenge, because we all need to know how useful we are to others and how others really do appreciate our presence. I may have to work a bit harder on that one yet, but I’m trying !

The new Ripley Chapel, open at last
The new Ripley Chapel, open at last
It has occurred to me that with all the business of the last month, opening of the new Chapel, dedication of the said Chapel that I’ve never even posted a picture of it. Here it is…………………….. and everybody who has been in has said its wonderful.
May God be blessed by the work that is carried out in it.


I’m in the middle of the bi~annual Methodist Ministers retreat for our District, at Swanwick Hayes Conference Centre. It is a precious time of reflection and rest and I’m thoroughly appreciating it.

Sometimes its only when you stop that you realise how much you’ve been working. To be honest I find the old joke (and its usually meant in jest) about only working one day a week, wears a bit thin when you’ve been working 8 a.m.~11.00 p.m. for several days and when you’ve struggled to find time for a day off. Ripley circuit are quite magnificent in trying to respect my time off but the sheer volume of things to be done mean that it either eats into the day off or creates ridiculously long hours, and so to get this opportunity to stop and `get away` is so precious.

We’re being led in the retreat by Rev. Dr Christopher Blake the Principle of Cliff College. He’s leading us in 5 sessions based on reflections from the Gospel of John. We’ve now had three of the sessions and they have been quite magnificent and very thought provoking. Chris` style is to give us a short reflection of his own on a part of the passage and then leave us to reflect at our leisure. In this way we’re both challenged in our thinking and also given space to relax.

Our last session was the most challenging so far as Chris looked at the washing of the disciples feet by Jesus and then challenged us to think about those people we struggle to get on with. The real challenge was how would we wash their feet. After all Jesus washed the feet of Judas and John alike, the betrayer and the beloved. I’ve just spent time in prayer and reflection thinking about those people around the circuit and in other circuits with whom I struggle and who I suspect struggle with me. How do I love them in the way that Christ loves them ? How do I reflect Christs love to them in my life, words, actions ? Its not easy but that’s what we’re all called to do.