Saturday, September 26, 2009

Two AGMs today

Up and out early to drive up to Methyr Tydfil this morning to attend the Diocesan Conference in a huge leisure centre on the edge of town, taken over and decked out to accommodate the formalities of the conference, worship, and a festival of diocesan life and activities, with stalls, seminars and activities running throughout the day. It was a rich diverse experience, impressively well organised and a real morale booster for all taking part. I guess there were over six hundred people present.

Archbishop Barry's formal address to the Diocesan AGM at the start of the Conference accentuated many positive dimensions of life in the diocese and parishes, he encouraged us to appreciate and take confidence from the many good things, and not simply worry about matters which gives cause for concern. He had every reason to be up-beat on this occasion. The Mission committee introduced us to a new international companion link - with the Church of Bangladesh, to run alongside the existing link with Uppsala. Sunil Menken was there to receive a gift and good wishes from the Conference on his forthcoming consecration. The Rector of Llantwit Major is to attend his consecration on behalf of the Diocese.

I had a good look around after the conference formalities, but then had to return home, since the Heritage Open Day and Friends Festival date had been arranged without the clash of dates being noticed, and it was important that I be there for the afternoon, and the Friends AGM. When I got back to the city centre, the streets were even busier than previous days - the shape of things to come. Ill be interested to see the footfall measurements in a few days from now.

Chief Superintendent Josh Jones gave the address at the AGM of the Friends of St John. He spoke about policing in the city and about the innovative Street Pastors scheme, which has become a notable feature in the reduction of city centre crime in the past. Cardiff now has nearly forty trained volunteers, working on rotation Friday and Saturday nights between ten at night and four in the morning. It's an impulse from the evangelical Christian organisation Ignite Hope.

It has a commendable track record wherever it has been implemented. It involves a training course of ten weeks and volunteers have to pay £300 for the privilege of getting accredited They get special uniform clothing to make them visible, as part of that. Josh is an active member of Lisvane Baptist Church. As part of his address he read a passage from John 13. In his day job he's the consummate professional leading policeman fair and equal in his regard for all. He must have felt at home and among friends to have been able to share his faith so freely with us.

Not long after I got home, I had a call from church to say that one of our senior members had tripped and fallen as he was leaving church. Thankfully he was among friends who knew what to do. Paramedics had been called, and now he needed to be taken to hospital. And on the busiest night of the week too. An unsettling end to the day.

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