In the days leading up to taking up her post, Revd Dr. Barbara Glasson, President Designate of Conference, set out to walk the 130 miles by canal towpath, from her home base in West Yorkshire, to the Methodist Conference in Birmingham. With a small group of supporters from her West Yorkshire District she started from Aspley Basin, Huddersfield, aiming to arrive two days before Conference started, at which moment she would start her year of office as President of the Methodist Conference.
The aims of the walk reflect the story she wants to get over during this presidential year:
- Because the earth matters and we want to reduce our carbon footprint
- Because the Methodist Church matters and we want to tell people where we are going
- Because we want to raise the profile of the Methodist Church
- Because life matters and we want to listen better and share our stories
- Because faith matters and needs to be seen
The route took them to Macclesfield and Congleton. Revd Derek Oldham, Alan Harrison, Revd Simon Sutcliffe and Dennis Wood joined the walkers for the journey by canal-side from Macclesfield to Congleton, being joined at different points by Revd Helen Byrne and her husband from Gawsworth, Robin Quine, Sylvia Harrison & Meg. It was a good day for walking, and a good day for greeting passing walkers, runners and boaters.
Arriving at Westwood House next door to Trinity Church at 4pm the group were greeted by a coffee shop full of folk, not to mention tea and lots of cakes (no surprise there – we’re Methodists!) When our waistlines were bulging, Barbara talked to us about ‘her story’ and presented Trinity with an empty book. She asks YOU ‘What’s your story’, and wants YOU to share it by writing about your story in that book or a similar book in your own church.
Many thanks to all those who helped at Westwood House, and particularly to Susan & Mark Dormer, Avril & Rob Waghorn and Judith & Derek Oldham who hosted the West Yorkshire team overnight and sent them on their way next morning.
As you think about your personal story, please reflect on the prayer for the journey to Birmingham:
- Lord of our pathways
You go before us,
Walk beside us,
And protect us as we pass by.
Be our companion
On life’s journey.
May you be our focus,
And our deep joy on the way.