15 January 2018

Called and Commissioned

Yesterday evening Andrew and I were delighted to represent Methodism at the Commissioning Service for Ms. Fiona Kendall as a Mission Partner, jointly appointed by the Church of Scotland and the Methodist Church.

The service took place in Kay Park Church of Scotland in Kilmarnock, the church where Fiona grew up (although she has been worshipping in the Methodist Church in Ilkley for the past decade so has strong links with both appointing churches). 

It was an excellent service, led mainly by Rev. George Lind, the Moderator of the Presbytery of Irvine and Kilmarnock, and included a splendid sermon by the Very Rev. Dr. David Lacy, a helpful and interesting background to Fiona's appointment with "Mediterranean Hope" in Italy, where she will be working in conjunction with the Methodist Ecumenical Office in Rome (and our other Mission Partners to Italy, Tim and Angela Macquiban), and the presentation of a Bible (in Italian) by Mr. Norman Liddle of the Scottish Bible Society. 

However, the highlight of the service for me, and I think for many, was Fiona's own testimony of how this next step in her Christian journey has come about. 

As she told her own story, of her love for languages and the law (and the Lord), of earlier studies in Florence during which time she became fluent in Italian, of a deep desire to work with those on the margins, particularly refugees, the pieces of her calling fell into place so surely that there could be no doubt that Fiona has been called and equipped over many years for the role she will shortly take up as European and Legal Affairs Adviser for Mediterranean Hope, an organisation set up by the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy to respond to the crisis of migration.

The Commissioning was led by Rev. Iain Cunningham, Convenor of the World Mission Council of the Church of Scotland, after which I led a prayer of dedication. 

Amongst the hymns (all well chosen and enthusiastically sung by the large congregation - although it was a wild night) we sang Andrew Pratt's challenging and thought-provoking "There are no strangers to God's love", the last verse of which sums up the work to which Fiona has been called:

"When people seeking sanctuary come to this place and need our aid,
then in Christ's name let's offer care; through this our debt of love is paid.
God's grace is free, this grace receive, let actions show what we believe."

News and updates from Fiona will appear on the World Church pages of the Methodist Church website; let's all hold her, and all our mission partners, in prayer, giving thanks to God for them.

Jill Baker

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