New Year

Dear Friends


As we come to the close of another wet and windy August Bank Holiday our thoughts in Methodism turn to the start of the Methodist New Year which always begins in September, and my sabbatical seems a distant memory.


I have been reading recently about house building!!  Don’t worry I don’t intend to do anything radical to the Manse. Apparently when a house is built there is an outer wall and an inner wall. That may not be a surprise to you, as it wasn’t to me, but what I hadn’t realised was that at various places the two walls are joined by small, twisted pieces of metal. Known as ties these small almost insignificant pieces of metal hold the two walls together. As I return from my sabbatical and as we embark upon a new year I am very conscious about what `ties` me into this circuit and area. It is the small relationships, the mutual sharing together, the smiles, the tears, the frustrations and the joys. These are the ties that bind me with those I am called to serve. And they are precious connections. To them I could (and so could you) add my family, wider circle of friends, and those people we meet occasionally who we might not even know by name. Why am I telling you this? Well, apparently the ties holding the two walls together are there for a purpose and that purpose is so that each wall can `gain strength` from the other. It’s the same with our ties with other people. We are called to support, encourage and strengthen each other.

wpid-Photo-20140929120408.jpg Take time to re-read 1 Corinthians chapter 12 which speaks of many parts to the one body, look closely at chapter 13 which reminds us of love and then read chapter 14 verse 1 which says “It is love which you should strive for.” The ties that bind us together are the ties of love; Christ’s love holding us together. Let us rejoice in that love and seek to build each other up.

As this circuit enters its third year together, I`m aware that we are gradually getting closer and closer to each other; I find fewer people are harking back to the former circuits, but more and more are speaking of `Trent and Dove` and I hope and pray that we can continue this year in that growing together; Lets pray for each other (every Sunday I pray through the preaching plan), for the work of each Chapel, the Circuit, the District and the Connexion and lets pray for it all with a passionate love for each other.

(The picture is of a painting in the Church, I support in Poiana, Romania. It is one of my favourite pictures-Gods love in action)

Happy New Year



5K Colour Run

Birmingham Colour Run is happening on Saturday, when I'll be running/walking/crawling 5k to raise funds for Burton and District YMCA, through a variety of colourful explosions !

Along with the sleep out in November which, as many of you know, I do each year all monies raised goes towards great work amongst the homeless.

Please sponsor me if you feel you can by clicking or pasting the following link.

THANKYOU and if you want to see the results I'll be conducting Holy Communion @ Short St Methodist Church the following day (almost certainly colourfully). There'll also be photos, almost certainly.


“………and now the final curtain”

“………and now the final curtain” says the well known line sung by Frank Sinatra. In many ways it feels the same as I draw to an end my latest sabbatical: in one hour and eight minutes to be precise.


No doubt as I return to work tomorrow many will ask how it’s gone, have I enjoyed myself, am I refreshed and so on, but to be honest I’m really not sure. This has been my third sabbatical and probably the hardest one of them all for a variety of reasons. I’m still reflecting on all that’s happened, with memories that are both good and bad.


Memories of spending time in Orkney hospital, where the care was terrific, but not where I expected to spend part of my holidays…………..

Memories of a wonderful holiday nevertheless……….
Orkney is certainly a place we’ll return to.
Memories of the worry Alison had while I was in one hospital, her Mum in another and my brother in a third. It took it out of her, but thankfully all are well now.
Memories of the disappointment that out of 250 questionnaires despatched electronically and personally only 25 came back, but the joy of Oldham where 10 were returned and the opportunity I got to visit and interview folk.
Memories of a wonderful day out at the Harry Potter tour, but the disappointment that we didn’t get our London tour but that will come later in the year.
Memories of simply spending time doing Wasjigs, and the absolute joy of having time to read; especially having time to read the Celtic saints (especially the Northern Saints) and the knowledge that my online study course in Celtic Christian Spirituality still has 4 months to run. Spending time on a pilgrimage of the Northern Saints returned me to my roots in Durham and Northumberland: what a special time that was.
Memories of spending time visiting Dad and my brother, and having Dad visiting .
The garden looks great now !
The sad and difficult realisation in these last few days that my health difficulties are going to prevent me going to Romania this year to see the villagers I love so much; I just can’t risk being poorly over there.
Many memories but perhaps two or three special highlights: firstly, conducting the wedding of a very special couple, Ellie Wood and Andy Morris who I love dearly,
Secondly, greeting the arrival of the daughter of Ellie’s sister, Julia. Julia and Joe, who I also love so much, are now the parents of a gorgeous little girl, Caitlyn and I’m so proud of them all.
Finally, and there’s an enormous pride here, the highlight of my time has been the opportunity to spend time with my family, Alison, Rebecca, Michelle, Vikki and Mark and to rejoice in the news that in November Vikki and Mark will give Alison and I our first grandchild. YAY!
Still reflecting on it all and still unsure of what to make of it, BUT I give thanks 1) for the Methodist people who gave me this great gift. I pray my re-telling of it will bless them and open them more to Gods great work. 2) the knowledge that I’m returning to them, to love and warmth. That is so reassuring.


(p.s. Only another 7 years till the next one !)