This evening I noticed the effects of earlier events today in my behaviour.
I had been at a couple of events at Methodist Church House (more on that in a minute), afterwards I stayed in my dog collar for the rest of the evening which is not really my normal practice.
I had a good time, a nice bike ride around London without getting too lost while looking for Foyles which is a lovely place to spend some time, then a nice meal at Pizza Express. It was only when I was getting off the train in Leicester with by bike to ride home that I noticed I still had the dog collar on.
No big deal even if with my rather low church background it is not what I normally do.
I realised it came from feeling inspired by what I had gone to London for. I went for two leaving "do's" as a representative of the Methodist Council.
The first was for Mark Wakelin, currently President of the Methodist Conference and it was a farewell as his "day" job of Secretary for Internal Relationships (yes we know, daftest job title ever) as that has come to an end (and at least we are getting rid of the job title).
I have known Mark for some 11 years as he was leading a team at the Guy Chester Centre (the team included Morfa Jones, Helen Muller, Liz Gamble and Sister Anne Marie Farrell) who together were a key part of the two years of foundation training the Methodist Church gave me.
Today Mark reminded us of three key themes that he focused on during the last 4 years in the Connexional Team
- Encouraging the people of the Methodist Church to be kind to each other. Building relationships and bridges across the connexion.
- Encouraging the Methodist Church to think strategically and intentionally about what we are doing, why we are doing it and what outcomes we expect/want.
- and very much at the heart of all that Mark always does. Encouraging the Methodist Church to deepen our discipleship and gain in confidence as we talk of God.
Hearing Mark speak again on those things reminded me how consistently I have been encouraged and inspired by him over the years in all those things.
Mark was one of the key people who inspired and supported me in my initial training.
After Mark's farewell it was good to have a chat with another key person from my past. Ann Leck (Vice President of the Methodist Church in 2001) leads a group in our District for under 5's (Ministers who have been ordained but have not yet completed 5 years service). Ann was also one of the leaders of the series of retreats I went on for Ministers reaching the end of their first appointment. Both those were incredibly helpful for me and Ann is always good to talk to with both wit and a tendency to powerful insights.
Then it was time for the second farewell, this time to John Ellis who has been Secretary for Connexional Team Operations. I have only got to know John during the three years I have been on Methodist Council but his integrity, commitment and determination to listen and respond has been outstanding. He is going on to be Lay Moderator of the URC a great choice by them.
So I left Methodist Church House feeling re-engergised, inspired and proud to be associated with these people and to have been trained and influenced by them. So much so that I realised afterwards that I had continued to wear my dog collar all evening because it is so good to be associated with people like Mark, Ann and John.