Marmalade and cake are, perhaps, the two things for which the Scottish city of Dundee is best known, although it is also the home of the Beano, which may be a greater distinction. Today it was the home of the Synod of the Methodist Church in Scotland. Andrew travelled north yesterday morning for ministerial synod in Arbroath and I set off later in the day by train; we stayed overnight with a colleague (had marmalade for breakfast) and both attended the synod today. The Scotland gathering is not too large and we are beginning to feel as if we know quite a few folk there.
Amongst the varied presentations, we heard this morning from Rev. Helen Cameron, Assistant Secretary of Conference, who spoke about “Being a Methodist Church with confidence and imagination”. It was a moving and passionate address which stimulated a great deal of thought in the small group discussions which followed. In particular Helen referred several times to a phrase used by Rupert Shortt in his book “God is No Thing” where he describes the Christian faith as “A story of love which mends wounded hearts”. So simple, so beautiful – how we need that story to be told. Her words sowed other seeds in my mind and heart as well – I might report more when they have germinated a little!
For me it was the third Saturday running at a Methodist gathering of some sort – last weekend I was very glad indeed to be at the MWiB residential event in Swanwick where Dr. Jill Barber also gave us wonderful food for thought (and action) under the theme, “Finding our voice: Heritage, Gender and Story”. 6 of us from Scotland were there – as pictured below.
Lots of thought-seeds sown then too, but one which really struck me was Jill’s observation from her study of Methodist history that often, when the church has been in crisis, the women have done something extraordinary…