#westandtogether vigil in Leicester tonight


The adventure begins and I have to say it was with a fair few butterflies in my stomach that I set off from home just after lunch to drive up the motorway to Carlisle.

I was grateful for the prayers said over me in the morning by some of my St Denys family.  It was all very moving and they reassured me that they would be thinking of me and praying for me every step of the way.  It was good to be reminded again of our unity, however far apart we are.  In fact, as one of my churchwardens quoted from a CMS missionary, the prayers being said in one part of the world are like the roots of the tree enabling the branches in another part of the world to grow and reach out.  Prayer has a vital part to play.

And that has been so evident in the responses to the horrific attack in Manchester this week.  Prayers have been said all over the world for those whose lives have been turned upside down.  I stopped at Tebay for some food at around 5.30pm just as hundreds were gathering with my colleague Liz Wilson in Town Hall Square in Leicester to stand in solidarity and prayer with those in Manchester.  I said a prayer too as I looked out on the most beautiful scene and wondered how a world that holds such beauty can also hold such pain and cruelty.

I have no answer but I do believe that the heart of God breaks with love for those who are suffering and that the amazing love and warmth and generosity of the world in response to the events in Manchester is an echo of His love.

And so I will keep praying because I believe it makes a difference.  That’s why its so important to me to begin my #walk4andy tomorrow with prayers at the Cathedral here in Carlisle, even if I do have to join them at an unearthly hour of the morning for them!

Motorway services unlike any I’ve ever seen before!

One day

A lot can happen in one day.  A lot can happen in one moment.  A life can be changed forever.

With the people of Manchester uppermost in my thoughts and prayers today, I am conscious that I have just one day left to get myself sorted before I head up to Carlisle ready to begin the #walk4andy on Thursday.

It is three and a half years since the night he died.  This day has been a long time coming but somewhere in my wrestling with God and grief I found the resolve to do something positive, to be different because Andy lived and not because he died.

So today I am drawing up lists and packing bags, checking on hotel bookings and route maps.  I even went on a short 5 mile walk this morning with Rolo and a small group from church.

Unfortunately, we got stuck in a field with a large herd of cows and their calves.  I have rarely been so terrified, faced with an angry mother cow mooing and snorting just inches from my face.  Perhaps wrongly, I scooped up into my arms a cowering and whimpering Rolo  before he got trodden on or kicked and I stood my ground together with my companions.

Eventually, the herd thinned out and we could see our escape route become clear.  I walked cautiously towards the stile, still with Rolo in my arms, and breathed a mammoth sigh of relief when I got to the other side.

IMG_0240I pray that all those in Manchester and across the world who are facing one day they never thought would come will know the love of a God who longs to scoop them up and just hold them in his arms and never let them go.