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Return to Reality

Having reached the end of our amazing Swiss holiday, with a delightful group of people and a first class tour manager, we are now settling back into our usual hectic routine.  Next we are off to The Christian Resources Exhibition at Sandown Park (the Ideal Home Exhibition for Churches) and next week to Marc’s induction in Livingston, via Leicester and Moffat on the way up to Scotland and Durham on the way back.

The Swiss holiday was everything we hoped for, wonderful mountaintop hotels with great views and wonderfully scenic rail journeys on The Glacier Express and the Bernina Express.  Sadly for me the walking necessary at stations and approaching hotels was a very great problem which has exacerbated my disability, making me a considerable burden to the group, who nevertheless helped me wonderfully and made light of the nuisance that I caused.

I have had almost no time since our return to edit photos, but here is one of my favourites to be going on with.  It was taken in the afternoon at Brienz after a splendid trip on the Rothorn mountain railway, as we were waiting for our boat to take us back to Giessbach and the funicular to our glorious hotel.

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Swiss Adventure

Our Swiss adventure starts here with a night in this stunning hotel.  It is a nostalgia trip for David as his theological college at Kelham was Gilbert Scott’s architectural prototype for St.Pancras.

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David presided at a Benefice service at Stratford St.Mary’s with a celebrated guest speaker.  Baroness Caroline Cox spoke again about the little known groups of persecuted christians with whom she works.  It was another amazing presentation, this time without pictures, mostly off the cuff.  Here are some photos of her with members of the congregation.

On our return I took some photos in the garden.

In the afternoon we took part in a harvest festival service held at the Magdalen House care home.

On Monday morning David led an assembly at St.Mary’s primary school on ‘saying thank you’.

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Before we set off for Switzerland there are several important events in our calendar.  This morning we enjoyed this superb lecture by David Cornick.  We have had personal contact with David before, having encountered him at Stowmarket URC, after which we invited him to Hadleigh to speak at a Churches Together in Hadleigh service, while he was still General Secretary of Churches Together in England.

The talk was superbly researched, telling of the Reformation in Europe, England and particularly Hadleigh in considerable detail.  The second half outlined the legacy which the Reformation has left for us and the challenge for modern ecumenism.  Thank you David for a stimulating and provocative morning!

We shall shortly be setting off on a Great Rail Journey from St.Pancras to Switzerland featuring short stays in three hotels in spectacular mountaintop locations.  It is unlikely that I will be able to post on the blog while we are away, but meanwhile here are the photos of the hotels in each of which we have a short stay.  We stay in Basel on the way out and Strasbourg on the return journey back to St.Pancras.

Grandhotel Giessbach

Grandhotel Giessbach (Lake Brienz)

St.Moritz

Romantik Hotel Muottas (St.Moritz)

SCHWEIZ CARL F BUCHERER PILATUS

Hotel Pilatus Kulm (Lucerne)

Poem for a Service

We first heard this poem at a service at Elmsett Methodist Church led by Maggie Finbow.  We liked it so much that it was included in David’s service yesterday “Logo to Logos” at Castle Hill URC Ipswich yesterday.  I read it and several people commented on it.  So here it is for you to share.img004

            Free to Believe : Life, Death and Everything, Ely Reading party

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Ely is such a delightful town, and we were close to Cathedral. We were fully booked. The group was very diverse in opinion, everything from Assembly of God to Unitarian or perhaps even Buddhist and many URC.
Free to Believe at Ely
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The books were stimulating, Dale Allison Night Comes and  Richard Holloway Waiting for the Last Bus.  Both exploring death with open minds
Anne Lewitt and Martin Camroux expertly led our sessions on the books with much humour. Of course plenary and group discussions were included and continued over coffee meals and in afternoon free time.
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Martin Camroux

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Anne Lewitt

The worship was moving (thank you David, Chris and Sheridan) and Nigel Uden had the difficult task of preaching to people who challenged everything. As he said, “You won’t agree but, I’m free to believe it.”
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David

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Nigel Uden Moderator of General Assembly

Martin was strangely warmed when someone said, “I came here believing that death is extinction, but now I’m not so sure”. Perhaps being not so sure the beliefs we begin with are  necessarily right is what FTB is about?  Above all everyone got on well together and we enjoyed each others company.
                          (Thanks to Martin for quotes from his email to the group!)