Face to face…
At our church coffee morning today someone greeted me with a few bars of “The Happy Wanderer”! I have indeed travelled some miles since my last blog – Hertfordshire for Methodist Council, London for another meeting, Norway for a conference then Cliff College, Derbyshire, for a consultation on spirituality in the Methodist Church. “Join the church and see the world”, as a remarkable nun from Oxford once said to me in the mountains of Greece!
Despite the wonders of our electronic age when so much can happen via telephone, email and Skype, I do passionately believe that there is still a place for face to face encounter. At the heart of Christian faith is a God who said, “I’m going myself” and who, in Christ “pitched his tent among us” (John 1:14 The Message) and brings light to all.
From the many, many encounters of these recent travels, just a few snapshots:
- A sense of bonding with the Ukrainian Methodist woman I met at the airport bus stop in Oslo – we had virtually no common language but connected on a deeper level.
- A wonderful “chance” encounter with Tove – a Norwegian Methodist woman whom I had met 3 times previously and with whom I was so glad to reconnect in that same bus queue as I arrived as a stranger in her land.
- So many Russian Methodists whose faces lit up when I mentioned my friendship with Nicola Vidamour and who gave me greetings, hugs and even chocolates to bring back for her!
- A couple who opened their home one evening to share traditional Norwegian food and hospitality with conference delegates.
- The joy of gathering with members of the conference and local Christians in the Lutheran Cathedral and finding myself sitting next to the Dean, who not only generously offered the building for this special Methodist occasion but also sat humbly amongst us and participated.
- A sense, at Cliff College, of a group of folk with a huge range of Christian experience earnestly and humbly seeking ways to be more open to God’s Spirit speaking to the church.
Now a few quieter days to allow my introvert tendencies to resurface (I hope)… Jill