President’s Blog: 25th July 2022
After the excitement of Conference and speaking at the Liverpool District 10+1 Anniversary Event in Ormskirk, Michael and I prepared for our much needed holiday – a Cruise on the River Danube, to celebrate our Golden Wedding Anniversary. The weather was perfect, though a trifle hot, and the Danube was blue, in places! We sailed from Budapest to Passau, calling at Bucharest, Brattislava, Vienna, Durnstein, Melk and Linz, passing under many bridges of all descriptions which spanned the river. Some were old with many arches, whilst others were modern with striking features. There were bridges for pedestrians only, bridges for city traffic, railway bridges, aqueducts and viaducts, all of them providing a vital link with the two sides of the river, linking north and south, east and west. The boat moored alongside bridges as it was easy to walk into the cities and towns from there and acted as landmarks to find our way back.
The River Danube was described as being the blood-line of Europe, carrying goods cheaply to ports along its banks, bringing vital supplies to and from countries on the Black Sea. The water level was low so we were able to pass under the bridges easily, but this meant that if the level of the water dropped further, then there was a danger of boats going aground and so sailings were stopped. If the water level was too high, then the boats would not be able to sail under the bridges. The boats that sailed after us were only allowed to sail halfway so the passengers had to be transported by bus. Climate change is definitely having an effect!
We heard how bridges had been destroyed in the two world wars, cutting off communications, splitting cities and towns in half, separating friends and families. When the wars were over, it was vital for the bridges to be mended so that normal life and the economy could be restored.
One of my favourite songs is ‘Bridge over Troubled Waters’ and in the chorus it says: ‘like a bridge over troubled waters, I will lay me down.’ We need to keep building bridges; we need to see new ways of connecting with people, of understanding and helping one another, whatever our nationality or our creed. At the last supper, Jesus gave us a new commandment – ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’ (John 13:34)
Can I encourage you to attend the online World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women’s 14th Assembly 9th-14th August, so that we can continue building those bridges of love and hope across the world.
Register your place at WFMUCW.ORG