Last week I attended an exciting meeting in Workington (Cumbria) exploring the way in which a URC team with me will be part of the (especially ecumenical) Archibishop of York’s annual mission to a different diocese each year. The mission “Moving Mountains” will take place across Cumbria next March and the teams will include those brought by Methodist District Chairs, the Chair of Methodist Conference, URC Moderators (4 of us), and one of the Moderators of General Assembly.
The snapshot also connects with Cumbria, and the Ecumenical Pilgrimage I co-led back in March this year. Whilst out there one of the pilgrims introduced us to some olive wood producers in Bethlehem which his company, Lakeland, have dealings with. As a gift to the pilgrimage leaders (Bishop James Newcombe of Carlisle, Revd Richard Teal the Cumbria Methodist District Chair, and myself) Martin offered each of us a complete set of nativity figures to be used and displayed by us. For Bishop James it is relatively easy when you have a Cathedral at your disposal. Richard and I don’t – so we will be more creative in our use. Over the coming years the figures will travel with me round the Synod during the season of Advent – but I wanted you all to be able to see the fabulous gift this year that I accepted on our behalf, and mark the generosity that lies behind the gift. (the figures stand approx. 12 inches high, made of olive wood)
Please pray for:
- “peace and goodwill” to prevail in the land of Jesus’ birth, and for reconciliation and renewal between those living in the Holy Land to mark 2018
- the “ordinary” people in the Holy Land who seek to live in fractured communities, and especially those who rely on tourism to provide an income for their families
- the ecumenical county of Cumbria as the churches gear up for the “Moving Mountains” mission next March, and for all the coordination and preparation involved
- our Synod congregations as they provide opportunities for communities this Christmas to focus on “the reason for the season” and for individuals to meet the Light of the World
- those who will struggle this Christmas, and for all who will provide care and compassion to those pushed to the edges of our society.
May I wish you all a very joyous Christmas and may you know the blessing of Immanuel, the Saviour of the World, in the midst of all your celebrations.