Pause for Thought

Dear Friends

We recently went on a coach holiday to Llandudno. It’s a favourite area for us, with its good views and lovely seaside resorts. There is always a bit of excitement at the coach interchange at Normanton. Which coach is ours? Will we know anybody else on it? What will the weather be like? Will we have a good driver? Ours turned out to be a woman with a cheery smile and very knowledgeable about North Wales.

Not everything on holiday turns out as you might hope. One trip in thick mist took us across the Menai Straits to that tourist attraction with the long name which no one can remember but usually known as Llanfair P. G. Its attractions are a coach park, a café, and a shopping outlet. En route, though, we did manage a photo stop between showers for the impressive bridges across the Straits. Next day we went on the local bus to the National Trust gardens at Bodnant, and discovered they were closed because of the gales. Llandudno has a superb situation under the Great Orme headland. There are some lovely gardens and, surprisingly, several roundabouts have life-like statues of Alice in Wonderland characters. But it was not very pleasant exploring the town in a gale, and we were feeling rather depressed as we walked back to our hotel.

That was when we spotted a sign outside the Methodist Church: “Teas and Coffees”. Inside the church hall there was a cheerful atmosphere and displays of handmade gifts for sale for church funds. We went back another day, and this time the place was half full of disabled people who with the help of able bodied companions were enjoying meeting others. We also looked in the church where we found a striking stained glass window showing John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, preaching from a market cross. It was a reminder that Wesley must have travelled thousands of miles preaching the Christian faith to people untouched by the established church, and that he must have done this undeterred by fog, rain, and gales. It was a cheering thought that, over 200 years later, his mission is still bearing fruit.

A prayer by John Wesley:

Christ, from whom all blessings flow,

Perfecting the saints below,

Hear us, who your nature share,

Who your mystic body are.

Move and actuate and guide.

Diverse gifts to all divide;

Placed according to your will,

Let us all our work fulfil.

Sweetly may we all agree,

Touched with loving sympathy;

Kindly for each other care,

Every member feel its share.

Marion Spiers