Monday, 27 July 2015

A month of Transitions

I'm conscious that things have been quiet on here in recent weeks. This is probably because they've been far from quiet elsewhere!

July 2015 will be one of those months that we remember as a family for a number of reasons. Here's just a snapshot.

Mike & Nadine's Wedding
Mike & Nadine
On 4th July our eldest son, Mike, married Nadine at St Thomas Philadelphia Church in Sheffield. It was a wonderful day, full of love and faith, and was a beautiful way to begin their life together.

The service was a perfect expression of their own personalities, with hymns, songs and readings chosen with care, and a particularly moving time when friends from church stood and prayed with and for them both.

After the service drinks and cake were available for everyone there, before the photos were taken. Then we all departed for the reception.

The menu was themed around the honeymoon destinations: so we had paella from Spain, crépes from France, and wine and lemonade from Italy, with much dancing and conversation to follow. A truly wonderful day!
Don't we scrub up well!

A Slight Scare!
The Birthday Girl!
About a week after the wedding, when I should have been preaching at one of my churches, I spent the morning sat with Jude, my wife, in A&E as she recovered from a 'minor cardiac incident'. The scariest part of it was that, in order to get her 'ticker' working properly, they had to stop it and start it again! Not something either of us wants to go through again in a hurry!

The Big 5-0
Thankfully by last Friday Jude was back (almost) to normal, and was able to celebrate a landmark birthday. She had wanted to have a party - who doesn't? - and wanted a theme, which she'd narrowed down to a choice of two. Thankfully '50 Shades...' lost out to 'Hawaii 5-0', and loud shirts, grass skirts and fruit punch (with or without rum) was the order of the day. The weather was a bit of a let-down for the BBQ, but we went ahead anyway, and a great time was had by all.

Formal Farewells
The last couple of weekends have been spent in the sometimes painful task of saying farewell, as Jude & I prepare to leave the city that has been our home for the past 11 years and move to Kendal in Cumbria.

On Sunday 19th we gathered in the evening at Stephen Hill church for the formal farewell to four of us who are leaving the Sheffield Circuit (2 retiring, 2 to other appointments). It was lovely to see people from right across the city come together to worship God and give thanks for the varied ministries of the four of us, and it was a wonderful service, put together by our 2 least experienced Presbyters - a great job, Katie & Will!

Mike leading
Then yesterday, 26th, came my final service, at Wesley Hall. These are always the hardest ones to plan, lead and get through. There was a wonderful turn-out from both the congregations that I minister with, as well as one or two from other churches in the area. Mike (as above) led us in sung worship for about 20 minutes in a very powerful and wonderful way - it was something I'd always wanted him to do at Wesley Hall. I preached from Ephesians 6 - "Finally", and then we shared in a liturgy (which I 'borrowed' from a Lutheran Church in Minnesota, and adapted) where both I and the congregation gave thanks, asked for forgiveness, and let go of each other, assuring each of our prayers.

Quite out of the blue, there then came a presentation, which was generous both in words and in gifts: things which I will treasure as a memento of some of my best years in ministry so far. All there is left for us to do now is shredding and packing, before we embark - without the boys for the first time - on the next stage of our journey.

Final words and parting gifts