What a good couple of days!
For lots of reasons this has been a good weekend.
For a start Jane joined me at the caravan in Wolverhampton on Saturday morning and together we went to the Civic Hall for the "Opening of the Methodist Conference". It was great to share it together (last time two years ago I sat with the Ordinands) and with old friends going way back to University. Our official role was to cheer on Riachard Vautrey as he took on the office of Vice President of the Methodist Church of Great Britain. Richard and his wife Anne are great friends from the Manchester Methsoc and St Peter's Chaplaincy.
Sitting next to us to join the celebration & support Richard & Anne were Pete and Catherine, also friends from Manchester Methsoc (Pete and I shared a house for 2 years and they were both part of the team of advisers helping me get up courage to ask Jane out). On the other side were Robert and Pat Creamer, both Methodist Presbyters, Robert was the Methodist Chaplain at Manchester for my 2nd and 3rd years. Neil Richardson & Rhiannon were also around (Neil was chaplain in our first year, but as a former President of Conference had official tasks to do).
I was tempted to do some twittering in the 2nd half but was dissuaded by the 121 tweets from the press office and the heat of the netbook in my lap on an incredibly hot afternoon. I will be writing some reflections, particularly on Richard's address (excellent but an urgent need to be more nuanced in a certain area).
After the conference opening (audio is online at The Methodist Church of Great Britain | Methodist Web Radio) the 6 of us went to Costa to cool down before going to an evening "do". Got back to the caravan too late to have energy to go to my cousins 50th (and nephews 18th) in Bridgenorth.
Lovely to retreat to our own caravan with just the two of us (enough said).
Quick summary of wonderfulness of today:
- Four hours of worship shared with my wife!
- The Reception into Full Connexion of the Ordinands (plus transfers & re-instatements). This is where they are welcomed into the Connexion by conference (puts you under the discipline of the Conference) and then sent out for ordination. Yes I cried, it brings powerful memories of my own ordination weekend.
- A good Chinese eat all you want buffet lunch with Jane.
- Inderjit Bhogal presiding at the Ordination Service at Coventry Central Hall (we went to that one as Richard was doing the Vice President bit).
- Having communion with my wife (and not taking any part in the service other than as a worshipper)
- Meeting lots and lots of friends
- Now a quiet evening on my own in the caravan, drinking some wine and eating pasta & apple pie (no not together), Jane has gone back home via a concert at the Derngate that oldest son is playing in.
A big thanks to my sister-in-law, Anne, for looking after the boys this weekend so we could spend it together.