Monday, 3 June 2013

AMEN Programme Day 5

The early morning was glorious, and I rushed downstairs to put in some preparation for our final day's sessions tomorrow.  Today's aim included a prayer walk around the property under negotiation to become our next Jesus Centre.  Mary was due to travel down by train from Sheffield to join us in Birmingham city centre.  But first a relaxed drive from Kings to Cornerstone, with the countryside around the M40 looking its best.

Matthew and Simeon had now arrived from Nigeria.  Huw agreed we should to shuffle up the day's programme to allow them to catch up with their contributions.  Desmond led again, continuing with his report from discussions with the other guys.  He recommended we should all download Viber onto our smart phones for better communication.  I did it there and then: 12MB, 50 minutes and a drained battery.  (But he and I successfully exchanged free text messages in the coffee break.)  We all agreed that if the guys settle on (or some how raise) finance for a minibus, it would be better to source a vehicle locally than send one over from UK.  We would add in the shipping cost.  Well, that's blown my little scheme to drive to Freetown.

We also reached a consensus on the qualities of possible future AMEN guys, or their designates/deputies.  This led on nicely to Mick picking up part two of his theme on leadership training.  Again we shared in pairs.  Piet offered, "All this stuff about team building is alright.  But the washing-up team's a team too.  Does the 'big leader' play his part in that?"  John followed with an update on Jesus Centres.  He drew some lessons from Wednesday's visit to Kings Church, Medway.  Jesus Centres express the heart of the church, in contrast to social action for its own sake.

Cornerstone is blessed with a Malaysian sister, so an enticing variety of rice salads and spicy peanut were on the lunch menu.  I called Daniel over to my laptop, and we agreed more of the total 23 flight details we have to book for the India trip.  Then it was time to head for the city centre.

It's evident how much has changed since Mary and I live there in nearby Kings Norton in the early 1970's. (Ellen and Gavin, our eldest two, are 'Brummies').  I took a car, and jumped several traffic lights to keep up with the minibus ahead.  We passed under the new Bull Ring.  "Looks like someone's put stickers all over it,"  my 4-year-old granddaughter Faye commented recently.  I grew apprehensive in the NCP.  An Asian guy asked from his SUV if I knew where the exit was!

John had recommended that we shouldn't all congregate in the open green space lest the property's CCTV record the visit for posterity.  I dashed off to New Street station to meet in Mary.  I knew this would be a challenge: the last time I'd tried to find my way out I got lost.  Also, Mary had already texted to say the train was delayed by twenty minutes at Tamworth.  I wasn't wrong.  The ongoing station redevelopment has left the whole complex impossible to negotiate.  By the time we met - after several 'Where are you?' phone calls, the allotted hour was up and the guys were climbing back into their minibus.  We need their added faith to land this deal. 

Heading out on the A38, Mary was equally perplexed.  "Is this Northfield?  No, it must be Bournville."  Under the afternoon sunlight and fresh green of the limes and beeches, I offered, "I can't see how Sheffield can claim to have the most trees of any city". 

We'd all resolved to pray with Mark before leaving Cornerstone.  He and Hans were heading back to Berne first thing next morning.  The friendly huddle reinforced how closely we've all been drawn together over the week.  Mary had a catch-up with Mick.  We took our time heading back to Coventry and Gavin's for tea.   Last day tomorrow, and I'm still only halfway through preparing my session.

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