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The Diary of a President March and April 2017

Saturday 4 March. Today it was the Christian Ministries Committee in Nottingham. This is a large committee and there are important matters to be decided for the future of the Federation. Please continue to pray that the Spirit will lead us into the paths that we should be following.

Tutors ResidentialThursday and Friday, 9 - 10 March. Attended the Federation's Tutors' Residential at Luther King House in Manchester. Interesting time especially with teaching from our accrediting University - York St John on marking and moderating our students' assignments. We also had the necessary Course Committees. Wonderful place to stay - peaceful. But I could never study here - the food is much too good!

Saturday 11 March. Attended the Mission and Society Committee in Nottingham. Challenging times but it was good to hear about the applicants for Startup Grants and other resources. Very enterprising proposals.

Sunday 12 March. Lead worship at Old Heath Church near Colchester. Very hospitable and lovely people. It was a real joy to be invited to celebrate communion with them - part of the family of God. Thank you

Wednesday 15 March. Special visit today to York. attended York St John University for my Progress Review Meeting. Successfully passed despite the failure of their IT equipment. It all adds to the stress!!
The flower beds in York are beautiful and raise the spirits.

NewarkSunday 19 March. Visit to Newark, led worship and preached. Lovely folk and very welcoming. We met in the church hall because the church is being painted -scaffolding and dust sheets every where. It will look terrific when it is all finished. Great organ and pulpit. I really loved the impressive Minister's chair - most impressive.

Saturday 25 March. In Nottingham for the additional Council Meeting.

Sunday 26 March 2017. Led worship at Hutton Free Church. Mothering Sunday so the ladies (and the gents!) received a small bunch of daffodils. Then we considered the journey that Nicodemus took from enquirer to disciple through to devoted, committed follower at the cross.

Friday 31 March to Sunday 2 April. Training weekend in Nottingham. What a wonderful weekend! Time spent with real friends, both students and tutors, Refreshing, supporting, renewing, caring. A fantastic blessing!

Thursday 6 April. York St John. A really great day at YSJ. Success with the studies that are really taking shape now. Celebrated with a large glass of Merlot overlooking the river. I really hope this project will help the Federation in its approach to baptism in the future.

WhitlandFriday 7 - Saturday 8 April. Travelled to West Wales for the Welsh Assembly at Whitland English Congregational Church. Spoke to the Assembly on afternoon. It was good to meet new people and renew old friendships. Lovely fellowship - very welcoming.

Saturday 8 April. While the Welsh Assembly Executive were meeting in session, we decided to play hookey and drove on to Tenby to take the sun and enjoy a welcome cup of coffee on the beach!

Saturday 8 April. Back to Whitland to speak at the Welsh Assembly's afternoon session. Spoke about the experiences of being President and a little about responding to God's call on life. Fascinating chapel and a good opportunity to engage with the folk from the churches on my special subject of baptism. Lively debate and good contributions.

Saturday 8 April. Nobody warned me about the effect that Presidential visits would have on the waistline!! What a wonderful spread the folk at Whitwell chapel provided in the Town Hall as a special tea in the President's Honour!

Abertillery TabernacleSunday 9 April. Visited Abertillery Tabernacle in order to fulfil a promise made to an elderly gentleman who has now been called to glory. This was a wonderful opportunity to lead their Communion Service on Palm Sunday. We were able to reflect on the Palm Sunday story and look forward to the events on Holy Week.

Tuesday 11 April. Time spent with my Spiritual Director in mutual support and brotherly love in dark times.

Easter Sunday 16 April. Led worship at Orsett Community Church. A lovely day when two new members were admitted to the Church and we all enjoyed a fantastic roast lamb lunch in the church hall. Lamb and all the trimmings followed by apple pie and custard. A great service together and a great way to celebrate Easter.

Congregational ConferenceTuesday 18 April. Congregational Conference at Cliff College. Arrived for the Conference. Wonderful location. This is the view from the balcony outside my room. Looking forward to a great Conference with friends who I know and friends I have yet to meet.
(Hope the cows in the field don't wake up too early!)

Wednesday 19 April. Conference.
The cows were up early!!
Great worship led by some of our musical delegates. Bible Study, teaching sessions, workshops and there was even time for some really interesting and tasty food. Highlight?? The All Age Worship led by Rev Peter Thomas. This was a masterly demonstration of how all age worship should be. Engaging, worshipful and fun!

Thursday 20 April. Conference Quiz Night. Lots of fun. Some really difficult questions like "Name the last four Popes with their numbers"! Some much better - even I knew some of the answers. However, quality will overcome! Congratulations to the "Tech-tonic" team who clearly won the prizes. Congratulations!
Many thanks to Mark and Debbie for an entertaining and relaxing evening.
(PS In case you had not guessed, I was part of the "Tech-tonics" team - but they still won!!!

Friday 21 April. Conference. And so to the last day of Conference. Final events and a closing All Age Worship by Rev Peter Thomas to send us back to our churches and Areas with a lift. Thank you to all who organised, participated, enjoyed, laughed and cried together at Conference.

Sunday 23 April. Visited the folk at Frampton on Severn. What a beautiful village and what a lovely church. A huge village green and rose-covered cottages. The church is everything one would want it to be and to offer. A gem in the rural countryside.

Frampton on SevernSunday 23 April 2017. Frampton on Severn. Easter Tree, turned wooden font, stitched banner and attractive chapel. All this plus a "bring-and-share" lunch. Delightful!