Rach's Diary - talks, tissues and even more trains

Last time I blogged I was in the middle of 7 full on days. If you recall I'd spent time in Manchester, Birmingham and Sheffield. Thursday evening took me to a talk by Brian McLaren about his new book The Great Spiritual Migration. It was really interesting to hear him talk about how we could migrate our thinking about God, the Bible and organised religion. I'm hoping one of the students will write a blog on that but I will be putting his book on my Christmas list! It was also really lovely to bump into my old university chaplain and his wife - I even passed on an SCM connect card for my old church that nurtured me so well during my time at university.

Friday I missed out on seeing Wills and Kate as they came to visit Manchester, however I did get to go to Glasgow for the Gathering. It was a full on weekend of talks, discussion, Bible study, practical workshops, a creativity and faith panel, refugee film, food, fellowship and a cèilidh. A highlight certainly has to be the unity dinner on the Saturday evening and also the unity shown through the coming together during the worship at Wellington Church on the Sunday morning. It was great to meet the Bishop of Manchester David Walker - though a long way to go to meet my local Bishop - he had lots to share about his research into church going and those in their 20s. I'm sure more stories will come out over the coming days, and check out the hashtag #scmscotland16 for more conversations.

While in Glasgow I had the opportunity to do my good deed of the day when I found others dealing with a collapsed man and suggested someone find a blanket to put round him while they were waiting for the emergency services. I also became the tissue lady after popping into a supermarket to get something cheap so I had change for the bus (did you know you need the correct change for buses in Glasgow?) and buying 6 packets of tissues for 49p. I was also blessed to be able to stay with friends of mine who looked after me overnight, including toast and hot chocolate.

Monday I had the day off to recover from my very long week and got to see the Olympic Parade going around Manchester.

Tuesday was my regular Birmingham trip, it was great to have all 7 of us in the office, even if that does mean I don't get a desk. Wednesday was a day in St Peters House at my desk - which hadn't happened for a while. This meant I had time to get on top of the evaluation of the Gathering and do a debrief with Debbie who did incredibly well in puting the weekend together. I rang up a few more chaplains to try and sort out some more visits, looking forward to more adventures around the North West as the weeks go by. If you'd like a visit please get in touch. Also if you are in Manchester or Salford then next week I have loads of time for coffees and chats.

Today I got to go to a really interesting meeting about a future campaign but I'll let Ruth tell you about that at a later date. We did have issues with the trams so ended up on another bus! Current October total trains 54, trams 8, buses 7, subway 1.