Today I am involved in a Glasgow-wide service which will mark two important anniversaries - the 150th of the Baptist Union of Scotland and the 125th of the Scottish Baptist College. Should be good - report, and possibly photo, to follow.
3rd October - the date on which I was Inducted at The Gathering Place ten years ago today.
It was then as it is now - a truly glorious, golden autumn day.
I had spent a few days settling in, setting up my office and trying to get my bearings, and I was a mix of excited and terrified.
The church was packed to bursting - between guests I had invited and guests the church had invited - and we enjoyed a great time of worship and promise making.
Ten years later, and on Sunday we will renew those same promises. We have the same guest preacher. And I look forward to a time of worship and fellowship.
Happy Birthday (?) to us Gatherers - thank you for putting up with me and my weird and wonderful ideas all this time. With God's grace, may our journey together continue for a long time yet.
... but it's so much nicer to come home!
Had a lovely week in Crete. Did some fairly serious walking, some ancient sites, some sea-swimming, some exploring Chania (where we stayed) and some chilling.
Lots of lovely Greek food - sheep and goats cheese, spinach pie, cheese pie, 'cream' pie, sheep milk ice-cream, mountain tea, almond cordial and many more.
Was well bitten by mozzies - and by fish when sea-swimming!
Should have got the overnight coach back from Manchester at 1 a.m. but couldn't face the seven hour wait, so splashed out on a train ticket and was tucked up in bed by 10:30 p.m.
I have now been living in Glasgow a full decade and have to admit it was a very welcome site when I reached it last night!!
One reason this blog has been so very quiet of late as that I have been very busy with training courses, including two days of Mental Health First Aid.
It was a great course, though could have done with being twice the length to allow us to really dig into any of the topics.
Based on Australian material it uses the acronym ALGEE...
- Ask about suicide (in Australian version this one is 'assess for risk of suicide or harm')
- Listen non-judgmentally
- Give reassurance and information
- Encourage appropriate profressional help
- Encourage self-help and other support strategies
I cannot claim suddenly to be equipped to support anyone or everyone I may encounter, but at least I have some ideas what not to say or do, which I guess is helpful in and of itself.
A massive 'thank you' to the smallVOICE podcast for directing me to this book, which I absolutely loved.
At one level, it is the story of a couple walking an extremely long coastal path, and it has all the 'insider' humour that walkers of long distance footpaths understand and share. At times I laughed out loud - not much makes me do that.
At another level it is a story about homelessness, and the skilful inclusion of statistical data along the way is challenging and thought provoking.
At yet another level it is about home, and how that may be found not in place or bricks and mortar, but in relationships.
At still another it is about the kindness, and the cruelty, of strangers, about people in all our muddled, messed up humanity.
And then at its heart is a couple coming to terms with traumatic and life-changing events, including a life-limiting degenerative illness.
All of it told with a lightness of touch, some skilful and engaging imagery, vulnerable honesty and compelling story-telling.
Way back, nine years ago, I used the metaphor of a long distance footpath to describe and interpret my experience of being treated for cancer. In a good and helpful way, the book took me back to that metaphor and reminded me just how far along that road/path/journey I have travelled and how that has informed/transformed my own understanding and living.
If you like audio books, and if you like the actress Anne Reid, then I heartily commend that. If you prefer a good old fashioned paper book, then it's available at any good book store.
If you only read one book this year, then I recommend this one!