Today brought our Junior Church Anniversary at Cleckheaton, and another local preacher enjoying the truly uplifting atmosphere inside our refurbished sanctuary, as Stephen Stokes led worship for the first time in it. His theme was the Good Samaritan, the story played out with enthusiasm by the children, both those cast as baddies and those as goodies! An animated cartoon version brought out for me the actual journeying part of the story, and led me to reflect on my travels of the last 2 years. God has certainly been with me every mile I have gone – I have been equipped and enabled by him, and encouraged by the prayers, emails, cards, hospitality and practical help in ways large and small of so very many Methodists, and not all of them women.
I have not counted up the answers to most of the questions “I wonder how many….?” – that will be a job for later. (Beds I have slept in, nights away from home, hands I have shaken, people I have spoken to are some of the burning questions!) But, out of curiosity, I counted up yesterday evening the number of train trips I have made from home in Brighouse to central London, in the 3 years since I became vice-president. Most of these were for single days and some (as we got better at planning this) for 2 days with back-to-back meetings; the longest was for the Pre-Conference Consultation with World Church partners, followed by the Methodist Conference, in July 2013, when I stayed 8 nights. The total was 47 trips, or 18,800 miles, almost all on Grand Central trains direct from Brighouse – the station very recently enhanced by dozens of tubs and boxes planted with an array of summer flowers, as you see.
I give thanks for so much safe journeying, even as I look forward to a little less of it next year! Blessings, Linda