Saturday was the first in this season of inductions, but it was one with a difference. Although I took part, leading some prayers, I was there as a friend. Colin Norris was inducted as the Senior Minister of Westbury upon Trym Baptist Church. Colin has been a close friend since our time at theological college, and over the years our friendship has deepened, so it was good to be there for this special occasion. It’s slightly unnerving as it was Colin’s fourth induction and I’ve attended them all!
By contrast, today I was in Melton Mowbray to for the farewell service of Charles Jenkin. Charles has been the Rector of St Mary’s and while I was in Melton our relationship as colleagues in Churches Together became a valued friendship. This too was a special occasion, in the process meeting up with other friends we haven’t seen for a while.
Although I find myself regularly hearing the nice sort of things said over the weekend, on these two occasions, because of the nature of the relationship, I have been part of the story, and it caused me to pause and be grateful to God for those with whom I have shared and continue to share friendship. I came across a phrase several years ago, ‘There are friends for a reason, friends for a season, and friends for life.’ Colin and Charles fit firmly in the last category.