03 October 2018
Party Conferences and more
It's been a very busy couple of weeks and my posting of events has tailed off a bit! I'm now on a few days leave following the marvellous wedding of my Godson and his fiancé, so I have time to look back at a few of the events and share some highlights with you. Meanwhile, Bala, the Vice President is at the Conservative Party Conference and I look forward to him telling me all about it when we next meet.
It seems some time since I visited the Liberal Democrats' Conference in Brighton. It was good to be with the group representing JPIT churches along with the Salvation Army and the Society of Friends (Quakers). We met with half of the sitting MPs and a number of peers and shared our concerns and listened to their priorities, as well as assuring them of our prayers.
I spent time with Head Teachers and Governors of MIST (Methodist Independent Schools Trust) preaching at their annual conference and offering a keynote speech on the 'Essence of Education'. I was reminded again of the privilege we have as a church to have contact with thousands of children in our schools and that those we might dismiss as 'privileged' have as much need of the Christian story as anyone else.
I also visited Trinity House (from where all our lighthouses are looked after and merchant seafarers are cared for), to help celebrate 175 years of the Queen Victoria Seamen's Rest. QVSR has done extraordinary work, supporting many thousands of sailors and service men. Applecart Arts made the event very special by performing four vignettes mapping the history of the charity to the present day.
Next, I spent time on an interfaith panel, judging 21for21, helping choose 21 young interfaith leaders breaking down barriers and demonstrating that faith has a place in our public life and enriches all our communities. We had hundreds of nominations, so it was a challenge but we were able to choose some astonishing people as representatives of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths.
Then - after a dash across town - I caught the train to Liverpool, where I helped with a study day on helping all people to engage in worship. I'll post a version of my talk later (note - now available here). On the Sunday I was thrilled to help lead worship at West Derby Methodist Church's All Age, Cafe Style Covenant Service!!
Then - off to the Labour Party Conference. Again with the churches' group. Lots of fascinating conversations and also the privilege of offering a reflection at the Prayer Breakfast arranged by Christians on the Left and World Vision.