This week I have been in Durham for 3 days for the annual conference of the Society for the Study of Theology. Along with a few others from the URC we have been part of the 260 who have gathered at St John’s College and enjoyed this year’s conference theme on Redeeming Human Nature. It is a conference which brings together the academy and the church, with a concern which works out in many of the papers that theology should not be confined to ivory towers. So, themes touched on topics such as dementia, homelessness, redeeming money, ecumenism, and Gollum! This evening’s lecture by Prof David Brown was entitled “Durham Cathedral as Theology”, set against the beautiful surroundings of the current cathedral built in 1093 (picture). It was a reminder of the way in which at times our eyes need to be lifted from the things of earth “to see the beauty of the Lord” (Psalm 27:4) and the way in which, as with all continuing ministerial education, we can step aside for a moment to be refreshed for the new challenges of ministry that God has in store for all of us. Please make your prayer for the Synod that we may recognise the gifts given by God to each person for ministry, and that together those gifts may be used for the beauty of the Lord and the work of his Kingdom in each of our communities.