Sunday, 6 September 2015

A Warm Welcome

So, the Methodist Stationing system reaches its final stage, as decisions made back in November last year and ratified by the Conference in June now come into effect. After living in Kendal for about a month, this weekend brought our official welcome to the area, and to my appointment as Superintendent of the Kendal Circuit.

Welcome from the Chair
People gathered from across the circuit at Stricklandgate Methodist Church, which is to be my main centre of work, for a service of welcome on Saturday evening. Most of the chapels were represented, as were other churches in the town, and the Deputy Mayor was also on hand to offer support. The service was very ably held together by my colleagues, David & Wendy, and the sermon was given by our District Chair, Richard, who challenged us all about the servant nature of Christian ministry. It was wonderful to see old friends from college present, as well as a contingent who had come up from Sheffield (probably to make sure I was really gone!). I actually love it when folk from your previous appointment come to see you into your new one - it gives a wonderful sense of continuity and of that great Methodist concept of Connexion - a bright succession!

The Declaration of Intent is read
One of the things that excites me about this appointment is the strength of ecumenical cooperation across the county, as well as in the town. As part of the service the Ecumenical 'Declaration  of Intent' was read by the Area Dean - a tripartite commitment by the Methodist, Anglican and United Reformed Churches to do all we can to work together in mission and ministry.

The welcome continued this morning, as I led my first service at Stricklandgate. Again, there was a good congregation who laughed in all the right places (which is always a bonus!), and reaction afterwards seemed to affirm that I had 'passed the audition'! I know it's early days yet, but things seem to augur well for a productive time of ministry here.

Ecumenical & Methodist colleagues and the Deputy Mayor
My thanks to my colleague Jonny for the photos!

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