I’ve spent part of this week in Devon, just outside Torquay, at Brunel Manor attending the annual Convocation of The Order of Baptist Ministry to which I belong.
This splendid manor house in which we stayed was designed by that great and
prolific Victorian engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. It was to be his family home; a wonderful
gothic pile perched majestically above Torquay.
Yet he lived only long enough to see the foundations laid before dying, leaving
the final construction to others.
That all felt rather poignant on Thursday as we gathered for Morning Prayer and
as a group tried out a new liturgy for the season of All Saints. During the prayer time we were invited to
name out loud someone from our past who helped lay the foundations of our
faith. I named Donald MacKenzie, my
senior minister from the church in which as I served as assistant minister, he
was a great mentor during those first five years after ordination.
That moment, hearing nothing but names, yet recognising that to everyone who
spoke them these names meant the world, was deeply touching.
Tomorrow at Amersham we’ll be commissioning our Junior Church Teachers for
another year of Christian service and I’m sure part of their ministry is to
help lay a foundation for our children upon which faith can be built. It’s an important task and we give thanks to
God for those who have done it in our own lives.
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