Learning about another faith and another culture doesn't have to be dull. These students from Askham Bryan College in York not only visited the Doha Mosque but stocked up on some bargains at the local supermarket. Afterwards their tutor wrote:
Spent the weekend with some rare Christians, warmhearted, forgiving, gentle and good fun .....
and having suffered some of the most horrible things that could happen to people ..... in church, exclusion prejudice and hatred ..... they are all the more remarkable.
To be gay and remain a Christian is totally something to be proud about!
The days since my return have been fairly full. Here is Christine Fox, a student minister from Durham who came to be with us for 3 weeks. Christine soon became part of the Touchstone team - and learned the essential part of cakes in any ministry (and hopefully a lot more too!).
The Council of Mosques held a demonstration concerning the film seen as 'anti Muslim'.
We learned how to make (and eat) wheat porridge.
I led a weekend for the Thames North URC synod (and wrote a song).
and there was the latest in the Women Breaking Free weekend .... no pictures but a rainbow to mark a time of promise.
We have also filled out loads of funding bids, with 30,000 promised so far ... and launched two major initiatives, Tandem Listening, with the Bradford College and Listening for a Change, teaching listening skills to women on Community Service ... never a dull moment here!
I have had three wonderful months touring the world on a Churchlll Fellowship. The title of the project has been 'Weaving Bradford Differently' and I have been to the very north of India, to Nepal and to Indonesia to find weavers and learn about community development. If you want to know what I have been up to then my blog is at thewanderingweaver.wordpress.com
but here is a flavour
travel to the very North of India by train and taxi (avoiding close lorries)
turn up for work with the Panchachuli weavers (foothills of Himalayas, temp 46 degrees)
learn a bit about weaving
fly to Nepal (and learn that you are not short)
meet some great kids and their granny (mum offstage left weaving - you can see the warp!)
fly to Balii
learn some really complicated stuff (icat weaving)
meet some amazing people
come home and pop up to Scotland
find some looms from Keighley
come home and be inspired to weave Bradford differently!
One memberr of the West Yorskhire
Methodist Women in Britain District Day
weaves silver threads into her creation
to remind her of God's presence
right through her life ...
The yurt and I travelled down to Sarum College
in Salisbury to be part of an away weekend
entitled Vulnerability and Trasformation.
Like the participants, the yurt itself was
a bit wobbly to start with but soon was
a place for quiet reflection and a fitting setting
for the clay jars and creative poetry
that emerged over the weekend.
Laura also moved on this month. She has been the Beacon coordinator, working with Refugees and Asylum seekers,
coordinating the McKenzie friends and generally bringing joy and laughter to the Touchstone house.
We will miss you Laura and hope all goes well with your further research in the Peace Studies Departement at the University.
(She does however have a lot to learn about Daleks!)
Whilst on placement from Queens in Birmingham, Naomi learned many things from folding napkins to ...
... tying up yurts!
She's also learned quite a bit of theology ... and been a real blessing to us at Touchstone .... come back soon Naomi!
There are some days when you simply want to say, ' Thank you God!' 'Hooray indeed, most wonderful God!'