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Saturday 30th June 2018 – ‘Challenge and Pleasure’

Saturday 30th June 2018 – ‘Challenge and Pleasure’
July 2, 2018 Sandra Goodwin
I’m writing today’s blog seated in the departure lounge of Heathrow airport waiting for the announcement of. my Gate number for my flight to Hong Kong, the first part of my journey to Fiji.
Reflecting on the last two days in Nottingham University, the venue for this year’s Methodist Conference I recall a sense of both challenge and pleasure.
Arriving on the Thursday afternoon I joined Gillian and Liz in the Exhibitions Hall where they had very efficiently set up our MWiB stand. It was good to catch up with friends and to make new ones as we chatted with visitors and exhibitors.
On the Thursday evening, after sharing a meal together Gillian and I attended a Fringe event to hear Naim Stifan Ateek, a Palestinian Anglican priest and founder of Sabeel, an interfaith organisation seeking justice, peace and security in Palestine and Israel. I felt privileged to be asked  to bring greetings to Naim on behalf of MWiB. We too seek to find justice in many different ways through our work.
On the Friday evening we held our own Fringe event ‘Story and Song’, We were privileged to be joined by two groups called ‘Signs for worship’, pictured above. They had travelled from Long Eaton and Walsall to tell their story and demonstrate their skill in worshipping together using British Sign Language. Led  by Colin Townsend we were taught to sign ‘My Jesus, my Saviour’. Joining together we truly worshipped with our hearts, hands and voices.
We were also pleased to welcome David Hulme who presented prizes to the winners of this year’s writing competition ‘At the heart’. David spoke of the ministry of his late wife Julie in whose memory the writing competition was created.
In the final section of the evening Anne encouraged us to think about the stories we encounter in life, our own stories, stories of those we meet along the way, stories that may encourage, challenge, amuse or inform us, stories which weave their way through and into our lives.
As I sit, completely surrounded by a lovely, lively group of Japanese junior school children I wonder what stories will emerge over the next two weeks in the South Pacific?
Blessings, Sandra