Building the dream

Dear Friends

Last week while I was at the Superintendents development training, Rev Stepehen Lindridge from the Fresh Expression movement (a joint initiative between the Methodist and Anglican Churches) showed a video, from YouTube on the internet.

The video is actually an advertisement for an American company but it shows an airplane being built while it is in the air and flying. If you want to look it up it can be found under the heading, EDS “Airplane” and it shows the fuselage being built around the passengers who are enjoying their mid flight meal; it shows seats being ferried and fixed into the plane amidst the chaos of the clouds going past. Of course it is a piece of camera wizardry and special effects, but it is built around the strap line of “We’re not just building a plane, we’re building a dream.”

I think that church and in particular the re-organisation of Methodist Circuits feels a bit like that; building the dream as we are in mid-flight.

It makes us uncomfortable because we want to know what the future holds, and what is going to happen. We’re people who like detail, who like to know all the `ins and outs` before we commit ourselves. And yet, we are also people of faith.

When the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples at Pentecost, Peter didn’t work out a marketing strategy or a preaching plan before he left the upper room to preach the first sermon; no, he just went as the Spirit led him. We need to be the same, a body of people who trust enough in the Lord to simply “go, and tell others”.

I’m not decrying the need to think it through or to make plans (the Bible actually tells us to plan things out), but at times we also need to set out in faith and trust believing in a God who will bring us through difficulties and hardships to the place where he wants us to be. We believe in a God who, in Jesus, not only said “Go” but also added “and I will be with you to the end of the age”.

It is in that sense that Alison and I embarked on itinerant Ministry and it is in that sense that we all build the Church (even as it travels from day to day).

Good journeying !!

Borders Mission gets off to a flying start

Rev Jim Magee holds forth
Rev Jim Magee holds forth

We held today the first ever social gathering of the future Borders Mission Circuit superbly organised by Rev Mick Dilley and Trevor Lee. I didn’t count how many people were there but it must have been well over 70.

An introduction given to the staff, whereby we had to stand up and identify ourselves. On the right there is a picture of Rev. Jim Magee, my co-Superintendent. I`m really looking forward to working with him.

Playing human noughts and crosses

We played all kinds of `getting to know you` games including speed dating, noughts and crosses and a game involving dried peas. The whole afternoon was a constant round of chatter, laughter and fun. People really seemed to enjoy each others company, new friendships were made, old friendships renewed.

If every Christian community could allow the sort of fun and spirit of togetherness as we have had today, then we’d be far more attractive to the world.

Why don’t we do it ? Probably because of our human weaknesses, our selfishness, our intransigence towards others and so on, but this is also why I give thanks: because we have a God who looks at our weakness and still declares love for us.

“Father, forgive them” was the cry of Jesus on the cross and so I believe that it is a cause for celebration that we can know we are forgiven. And yes, I believe Jesus was in the centre of everything today including the chatter, the food and even the speed dating !   

"Can`t shut them up can we ?"


Please hold the people of Cumbria in your prayers this morning, as they try to come to terms with yesterdays tragedy. They have been through so much lately with the floods, the horrific bus crash and now this shooting.

Pray for God’s peace and protection.

Sue’s big day

Had a smashing day at the Queens Foundation, Birmingham on saturday past. The reason was the closing celebrations for those leaving to go into Circuit practise in September. My particular interest was int he future Rev. Sue Preston. I’ve known Sue for almost 14 years now and have followed her progress as a Local Preacher in the Erewash Valley Circuit, through Foundation training at Emmtc (East Midlands Ministerial Training Course), as she explored her calling into Presbyteral Ministry.

I then followed her time at Queens college, Birmingham over the last year. In that time she has afforded me the tremendous privilege of being her Chaplain, and over the course of the past year she has been on extended placement in the Ripley Circuit. Sue hasn’t had an easy time of her training but has come through with tremendous courage and fortitude; it has been a real joy to see her blossom and gain confidence. She is a wonderful person to know and her Churches in Stoke are going to be so blessed by her presence.

The day consisted of welcome drinks (tea/coffee) a chance to look at old photographs in the Chapel, a splendidly uplifting act of Worship, a good meal with friends, and finally a presentation ceremony to end all ceremonies; we laughed so much and there was a genuine sense of community and friendship.

A truly memorable day and a joy to have been a part of it. Thank you Sue for inviting me.