Marking Special Occasions
On Thursday 21st I travelled to Cambridge to meet with two of the people planning a conference for the Churches Network for Non-Violence against children. They have been campaigning against corporal punishment of children for many years and there is now legislation in over thirty countries against hitting children. Some of the most resistant groups are religious bodies, who draw on sacred writings to justify their continued (mis)treatment of children. The conference is entitled ‘Faith and Vision into Action – Ending Corporal Punishment of Children’ and people are coming from all over the world to attend. There are legal, political and religious issues to be dealt with. The conference takes place at Westminster College, Cambridge from 22nd to 24th August.
The following few days were taken up with the celebration of the fortieth anniversary of my wedding to Joan. Our three daughters and many friends gathered on Saturday and it was a wonderful occasion. One of the highlights was the music and songs from Northumberland performed by my cousin Mike and his wife Di. Mike was my Best Man forty years ago, though he claimed in his speech not to remember very much – just the telegram about the missing three Green Shield Stamps. It was also special to hear the speech by Abbey, our second daughter, who reminded us of the qualities we had instilled in our daughters as good parents – the ability to eat three puddings at once is the one that sticks in my mind!
On Monday I was in the office early and receiving good news of ministers interested in seeking calls to serve in the East Midlands. There are now five introductions taking place. I have three inductions coming up before the end of August, and there will certainly be two for Peter later in the year- if not more. I wrote my introduction to my final E-Letter, which will be sent out on Thursday.
On Tuesday there was the last meeting of my support group and we talked through the farewells and celebrations of the last few weeks. Then we went over the remaining work to be done. Finally we talked about the future, which remains mysterious and exciting at the same time.
On Wednesday, Joan and I marked our anniversary by seeing the final film in the Harry Potter series and with a special evening meal at a nearby restaurant.
Our house is decorated with flowers and cards from many friends and colleagues, marking, retirement, Ruby Wedding and thanks. The house also has a ‘For Sale’ outside and rooms are filling up with boxes. I have one more day in the office next week for the handover of the laptop and then we move.
It has been wonderful to mark these special events and amazing that so many have travelled to be with us. God has blessed us greatly