Sunday, 28 June 2009

Farewell to Steve Mantle and 'The First Voyage of the Coracle'

Saturday I was back at Melton Mowbray Baptist Church, for the farewell to Steve Mantle as the Regional Minister/Team Leader of the East Midlands Baptist Association. Steve has been a fine colleague and a good mate!

Steve is going to work in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa as a Projects Manager. Steve has a huge heart for the two-thirds world which goes back many years to when he worked in Zaire with BMS World Mission. Yesterday, he showed an image of an African woman with an unreal load on her back, and spoke of the the burden that is carried by the people of Africa. He shared something of his burden for the poor in this part of the world, and in particular the children with whom he will be working, in a place at the epicentre of HIV/Aids in Africa. He quoted Edmund Burke, 'Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.' You can read about the organization, Shine Foundation here.

Steve is an inspiration, and I'm full of admiration for his eagerness to follow God's call, and not a little concerned.

He read 'The First Voyage of the Coracle' which comes from the Community of Aidan and Hilda, which formed part of our worship when we last met as Team Leaders.

'Brothers and Sisters, God is calling you to leave behind everything that stops you setting sail in the ocean of God’s love. You have heard the call of the Wild Goose, the untameable Spirit of God; be ready for him to lead you into wild, windy or well-worn places in the knowledge that he will make them places of wonder and welcome.

He is giving you the vision of a spoiled creation being restored to harmony with its Creator, of a fragmented world becoming whole, of a weakened church being restored to its mission, of healed lands being lit up by the radiance of the glorious Trinity.

In stillness or storm, be always vigilant, waiting, sharing, praising, blessing, telling. Sail forth across the ocean of God’s world knowing both the frailty of your craft and the infinite riches of your God.'

Go well, and God bless Steve!

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