Thought for the Month (July 2019)

There is an adage that runs something like this: "what hapens in X (insert place of choice), stays in X". That certainly should not be the case for Ministers Spring School! What happens at Spring School should have a direct bearing on what happens back in the pastorate.

In recent years Spring School has been held at High Leigh, Hertfordshire which may seem a strange choice. After all it is the gathering of Ministers in Southern Synod, and Hertfordshire is a bit north for that. Such is the demise of Christian Conference Centres, however, there is no venue big enough within the bounds of Southern Synod even for our relatively small gathering. The benefit for us therefore is a venue surrounded by countryside yet less than 10 minutes' walk into town. Hence the opportunity for some good birdwatching in the tea breaks. The Red Kite swooped as if showing off just for us on our last day, the cuckoo called as it flew directly overhead, and the kingfishers made several displays for the five of us who made the effort to go and seek them out.

As ever a main benefit is the catching up with colleagues over breakfast, lunch and supper. We seldom get together and promises to keep in touch between Spring Schools never quite materialise so the most is made of these opportunities.

The main programme rotates - one year is biblical studies, the next is something pastoral or practical, and the third more of a retreat. This year our main speaker was taken seriously ill just before the event and so Rev. Alex Mabbs stepped in with only a few days to go. I hesitate to say this too loudly but actually it was the best of the Spring Schools I have attended. Alex gave us permission on the first day to spend an hour just walking the grounds. A WHOLE HOUR. Wow. For however much I may have encouraged others to just take time to admire the beauty of God's glory somehow I had allowed life to be too busy. Lesson, hopefully, learned or at least reminded.

"Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let all the trees of the forest sing for joy."

Psalm 96:12

Rev. Helen Warmington

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Tunbridge Wells United Reformed Church