Back home again after my East Anglian jaunt...and I had such a lovely time. Maggi is a wonderful hostess (no surprises there, then...but I'm glad to report that chocolate with chillies is infinitely more pleasurable than it sounds), who gave me a lovely spoily evening. So good to chat without worrying about the impact on our phone bills. The worship she'd put together for the On Another Planet day was splendid too. Perhaps if we ask her very nicely, she'll post it on her blog :-). It was based on Elijah's interlude in the wilderness, - time out to eat, drink and sleep,and to be loved by God. Maggi has a splendid giant wineglass, which holds a full bottle...and we were invited to drink from it, and to help ourselves to brioche and to share with others. I loved that glass...it said so much about God's extravagent generosity, in contrast to our inhibited tendency to only accept sad little wizened fragments of his grace.
She, Jonny, Paul and Nick (who doesn't seem to have a webpage to call his own, unless you count his high powered job for the Diocese of London) gave us lots to think about...Thanks to the many hours I've spent trawling the blogosphere, I was comfortably familiar with much of the info being shared, though I'd guess there was a wide range of experience among the audience, including a proportion who would indeed have seen emerging (or fresh?) expressions of church as life on another planet. Nick's "Post modernity for duffers" session was extremely entertaining; I may yet get the hang of it.There was some good discussion about appropriate leadership for emerging congregations, and the training such leaders might require and a range of responses to the question of what makes church to be church. Now all I need is a bit of time to process what I heard, and maybe to read some of my acquisitions from the 10% off bookstall. I've bought soo many books in the past few months, it really is getting slightly scary. (Not sure I'm too impressed by the current one Secular Lives, Sacred Hearts but I'll plough through to the end before subjecting it to the withering judgement of the curate :-))
From Cambridge, I drove to the second loveliest city in East Anglia, where one of my very favourite godsons and his family welcomed me with open arms. His mum and I have been friends since we were 13 and time apart never seems to interrupt our friendship. We've done first boyfriends, births, marriages and deaths together and there are no corners of my life I wouldn't welcome her into. Had another happy evening, giggling over old memories (A. is one of my few close friends who really knew my parents) and comparing notes on the trials of the UCAS system and our worries about A levels, Gap years and the like...One way and another, it felt as if our conversations hadn't moved on that much over the years!
Rapturous welcome from the offspring when I reached school this afternoon, and it's clearly my week to be pampered, as L. has just summoned me to eat the supper she's prepared. I could get to like this....