Saturday afternoon was the ordination of Mary Moody at Bovingdon. On these occasions space is given to 'tell the story' and Mary's story of her call to pastoral ministry was inspiring, not in some spectacular way but simply in how things fitted together with that sense of right-ness and God. It was particularly encouraging to see a number of other ministers there supporting her, and there was some lively conversation over tea and cake.
Sunday morning I was at Stotfold Baptist Church which was another good occasion. It seems to me that while many of our churches describe themselves as charismatic, what this in fact means is that they do worship alla Spring Harvest. Stotfold really is charismatic, and it was refreshing as well as a great ambiance in which to preach. This is a church which is big-hearted, and one way that this is expressed is in helping struggling churches to get on their feet and to flourish. On Sunday afternoon, Sandy Baptist Church was inducting its minister in training, following Stotfold's recent involvement.
And then Sunday evening and a new experience. I was due to preach at an Ecumenical Confirmation Service in Milton Keynes which I was looking forward to, even though it was '10-12 minutes' (I confess to exercising a little license!). But then, unfortunately, Mary Cotes, the Ecumenical Moderator, was unwell and so I was asked to take her place as one of the Milton Keynes Mission Partnership Presidents. And I did. This involved leading the service, and after four baptisms, two by immersion and two by sprinkling, I confirmed twenty-two candidates. It was a significant occasion and a moving one, and although I don't expect to make a habit of it, a great privilege.
Before the service, the person responsible for the practicalities of filling the baptistry came to me and enquired, 'Are there any normal baptisms as well?' He wasn't to know why I found his question so amusing, but after explaining that I was a Baptist he saw the funny side of it as well.