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June 4, 2023 Ruth Parrott

Ruth’s Co-Chair Blog: 5th June 2023




It’s difficult to know where to start! The last few weeks have been full of new experiences –  the Big Climate Protest outside the Houses of Parliament when we protested about the use of fossil fuels with thousands of others, the Coronation festivities, an open-air service on a new housing estate when we sent our prayers of intercession into the air by blowing bubbles and not least, our holiday in Iceland.

It was good to have a complete change and to be driven round Iceland to see the wonderful scenery. Here are just a few experiences and observations:

We knew that we were to visit hot springs so we packed our swim wear in the suitcase but what we had not realised was that we would be taken to The Blue Lagoon, straight from the plane so we only had our hand luggage. Luckily, were  able to hire swim wear but Icelandic ‘medium’ proved to be smaller than ours’- it was a bit of a struggle to get in and out of it! Never-the-less, swimming in very warm, blue, steamy water, is an experience that I will not forget.

We were in awe of the extraordinary scenery: vast lava fields, beautiful fjords, spectacular waterfalls, fast flowing rivers, retreating glaciers, icebergs, rough and stormy seas, vast uninhabited countryside, forests – no more than a metre high, volcanoes, hot springs, geysers, and rugged, snow-capped mountains. There were small museums with extraordinary collections of arts and crafts. It was light until 11pm.

Inevitably, there are some surprises when you visit a different country, Iceland being  no exception. The little green man, in one town, on the pedestrian crossing , was a woman and that made me think! We are used to seeing the green man that we do not question the gender issue it presents. The red light on the traffic lights was heart-shaped to show support for a boy who had an incurable heart disease. Simple but effect ways to highlight causes and injustice.

We were in a hotel in Reykjavik, when the Council of Europe Summit was taking place. One morning, whilst having breakfast, we were surrounded by armed police and coast guards from Iceland, and armed police from other Scandinavian countries. It was quite unnerving as they were all much taller than me!

Then, we were back to earth with a bump and Easter Offering Services. It was good to be able to share our experience of Venezuelan migrants in Colombia at the Easter Offering Service in Frodsham, in the North Cheshire Circuit, and to hear of their work with refugees in our country.

This week MWiB is hosting Sister Santusa, the Bolivian President of the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women. Please pray for her and for the women she will visit.

Life is never dull, and I thank God for all the new experiences and the people I have met over these last few weeks. It was a reminder that whatever country we are from, or whatever our experience, we are all part of the world created by God.