Tuesday, 4 July 2017

My first visit as President happened on Saturday the 1st of July to Lidgett Park in Leeds to share in the celebration of the district before a new district is formed in September, Yorkshire West. It was a joy to meet colleagues I had served with in previous districts and to meet many people who had been at conference last week or who had been watching on line. 
After a very splendid tea, the worship began with a very moving prayer reflection with photographs of the district. We then encountered the many ways in which the district engaged with the world church and we received greetings in person from Bishop Asiri Perera from Sri Lanka when we learned that the very first Methodist missionary to Sri Lanka was from Leeds. Deacon Jenny Jones shared with us the many ways in which the district engages in mission before we heard about chaplaincy in the university and the airport. 
The Wesley and the Ashfield singers graced our worship which was led by Revd Anne Brown the district chair and it was good to have four Vice Presidents all resident in the district with us Professor and Mrs Susan Howdle, Dr Edmund Marshall and Dr Richard Vautrey. Our reading from the Gospel of Luke was read to us by Revd Roger Ducker a previous chair of district and it was really good to catch up wit Revd Dr Liz Smith also previous chair. looking so well. Brian Hoare’s hymn ‘Looking back but moving forward’ was sung with great gusto before the Gaelic blessing by Rutter.
A very important occasion when the connexion through the presidency was represented on such a significant moment in the life of the district as it moves to a new beginning. I was struck with and thought how pertinent the last verse of Brian’s hymn was:
Looking back but moving forward
as we celebrate today.
giving thanks for all that’s past, we
pledge ourselves to walk your way.
Holy Spirit , lead us onward;
keep is faithful to your call.
May this ever spur our mission:
Jesus Christ is Lord of all! 
God bless

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