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The nights draw in

By now you will have realised if you’ve forgotten to put your clocks back. Or maybe you are hibernating already? Of course if you are in hibernation mode you won’t be reading this just now…

This also means that it’s time for the season of Remembrance, and then Advent. It’s also Methodist ministerial matching time with the speed dating sessions around the circuit after the eagerly awaited call from the District Chair to say that a puff of white smoke is coming our way, or not as the case may be. As senior circuit steward this time around it’s quite a hectic task for me to make sure that the matched presbyter gets a good opportunity to look around and, equally, the local church gets a good go at taking a look at them as well. She or he will be no doubt be faced with a plethora of subtle questions to determine what they are really like. One question could even be about safeguarding training and experience.

So we will see what transpires as presbyters and circuits alike wait with a mixture of hope and perhaps a little apprehension.

The other regular early November event for me is the annual model railway exhibition at our local leisure centre. 25 working layouts and trade stands galore. And a vintage bus service from the station. Modellers’ heaven! We have been along as a family for over 20 years, and this year it’s the time to induct our 9 months old granddaughter into the mysteries of 00 gauge and track control systems. It is a bit if a niche interest, and I do have some wistfulness about never having constructed a fully working scenic railway. To do so requires, time, energy skill and commitment as well as a good supply of cash. But we go along for a couple of hours and escape to another place, enjoying the skills and enthusiasm of the exhibitors. I’m not sure what our granddaughter will make of it though.

I am reminded of a recent case where a group of boys broke into a hall and destroyed thousands of pounds worth of irreplaceable models, lovingly built over the years. There is so much to depress and upset us in the news these days and sometimes awful stories wash over us, but this story made me very sad. I was then heartened by the warm responses from so many people. If you give so much of your time to something and someone spoils it in an instant the impact can be shattering. Our churches can experience this feeling when something tragically unexpected happens. It will take time and careful support to recover.

Take care as you wander out on these dark nights.

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