“All you have to do is turn up”

4 July 2013

On the Wednesday afternoon of Conference I took some time to pray and prepare for the Installation service that evening. Those of you who were at Conference on Sunday afternoon when thanks were being expressed, will be aware of just how many people worked incredibly hard and prayed in preparation for and during Conference. That afternoon, I had a sense of God speaking peace (I do have a tendency to worry!) and saying “All you have to do is turn up”. It was a reminder that the work is God’s and our task is simply to step into what God is doing. That is still my sense.

“So, what does the President…do?” This question, or one like it, has been asked of me often over the couple of weeks since Conference. So, I thought that I would tell you some of the things that have happened since Conference, it is, in a way, my own “wet feet” story.

There is no routine! The Monday morning after Conference Neil and I were up early because we had tickets to the Waterfront Hall to hear President Obama, and as it turned out, Hannah Nelson.  That was the first of many such engagements. We have been to lectures and a Garden Party, a Methodist College Board of Governors and a Youthlink Award Ceremony and on each occasion, got to meet new people. I have enjoyed conversations with politicians, councillors, police men and women, civil servants and academics, many of whom are genuinely interested in what the Church is doing and who offered on-going conversations. I have had chats with young people who have worked so hard towards academic and practical excellence, a woman who had reached the milestone of her 100th Birthday, congregations thinking prayerfully and courageously about where God is leading them.

Our first weekend was spent in Killarney, Kenmare and Mill Street on the Cork South and Kerry Circuit. It was inspiring to hear of what God is doing, building congregations and Bible Study groups which are growing bigger and deeper because of the work of God’s Spirit in relationships, kindness and hospitality and the fact that folk are seeing the difference that Jesus makes in lives and want to find out more. I have put a little more and some pictures on Facebook.

I have heard “wet feet” stories for which I am grateful to God, and the Conference planning group has met to think back and think ahead. There have been challenges to face as well. Life together as God’s people is not always straightforward, but God leads us on.  Then, of course, have come the “joys” of learning to use Facebook and Twitter with regularity!

The “wet feet” bit of this has been about a new way of living, I am enjoying these days very much but this “new land” often seems unfamiliar. In the midst of so many opportunities it is crucial to listen for God so that I choose the right priorities. I am daily aware of, and grateful for the fact that many people are praying. And in it all a deep sense that God is at work in God’s Church and beyond God’s church, and that is very exciting. What is my response? To walk close with God, Father, Son and Spirit, to be alert to God and to obey when God speaks, and to “turn up”, stepping with joy into what God is doing.

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