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IT’S SUCH A PRIVILEGE to be invited to preach in the Name of God when one’s friends and loved ones are celebrating. Wonderful Eucharistic Worship was offered this evening at Trinity Methodist / United Reformed Church in Cheadle, and presbyter Geoffrey Stephen Clarke was honoured on the twentieth anniversary of his ordination to the ministry of Word and Sacrament. He’s a treasure, and widely recognised as such. Prayers of Intercession shared by one his young colleagues thanked our good God for “Geoffrey’s special gift of being himself – especially when he’s happy and also when he’s being grumpy”.

I thank God for Geoffrey’s faithfulness, friendship, joy, kindness, liberality of heart and mind, loyalty and all encompassing embrace. Geoffrey believes passionately, as I do, that we need to look after each other. And he puts that belief into practice – which is why many – including friends and colleagues from across the deniminational / theological boundaries – were simply delighted to be present to “look after” him – and Judith, and their two splendid sons tonight.

Geoffrey, beloved presbyter, thank you for hearing the call – and for calling us to walk in right pathways.

What’s Ministry about? – I asked tonight. Well, gratefully, I’m going to sign off this happy day with some words sent to me this morning by another priest – the clarity and generosity of whose message remind me of that offered by Jesus Himself.

No reply will be a good sign that you are not trying to keep up with emails – delete this – it’s an email signifying an arm round your shoulder wishing you well.

So may God’s Kingdom come: “on earth as it is in Heaven”. All love and blessing for this particular sender – and for many other wonderful people around the world who share “good news” with me by simply being who they are – when they’re happy and also when they’re grumpy! …