Well! What a summer! It went something like this:
Moved furniture out of house and into storage, flew out to Ghana for 2 weeks to spend time in a small village called Ekon, flew back from Ghana and move into new house in same day, picked up kids and spent 2 and a bit weeks with them, flew out to Ireland to take a wedding of mammoth proportions, flew back to England, had kids for a week, travelled to Greenbelt, spent weekend camping, back home, back to work.
It was remarkable. I can’t remember a time when I felt more alive.
In Ghana I spent time with people who had nothing and yet shared so much; I discovered the reality of difference and alterity; got a good beating at football by a bunch of 8 year olds; and enabled a toilet in a school to be finished.
In Ireland I met up with an old crowd who I haven’t really spent any time with for 15 years or so; took a wedding in an amazing venue (Mussenden Temple); spent far too much money on alcohol!; laughed till I couldn’t breathe; danced till it hurt; and swapped my cassock for a girl’s yellow dress for a photo shoot. (You’ll have to go on Facebook if you want that picture).
Greenbelt was its usual self. I heard a great description of it as ‘prophetic and prankster’. I froze on a night; I laughed in the day; I got the chance to speak in the Galilee tent (on pioneer ministry); I heard far wiser speakers; and spent an hour wearing red filter glasses in a numinous act of worship conducted by Grace.
But the most wonderful thing about this summer is simply this: I was reminded of the value of friendship and I discovered new relationships that have already begun to transform my life. Whether in Ghana, Ireland or Greenbelt – I can’t believe the number of people I have met and got to know. How that pans out over the next 12 months or so remains to be seen. But I wouldn’t be surprised if some of my future reflections of pioneer ministry are heavily influenced by my experiences of this summer.