Hard to believe that today was the last day of Conference and we only have a week left! I will be sorry to leave but pleased to see the family again (although we’ve just managed a great Skype conversation).
We joined our friends for the whole of Conference today, we were running late, but they were running even later. The morning session had a running theme, that of the church needing to strive to provide for itself rather than seeking help from others as a first response to needs and problems. We also had the chance to bring our ‘fraternal greetings’ on behalf of the SLM and Connexion in the UK. I found this quite moving as for me this was the opportunity I had hoped for to say my goodbyes.
As the meeting progressed another theme made itself clear, that of concerns over land and buildings. There are clearly problems with land encroachment and we shall need to try and obtain copies of the land deeds that are held in the UK to send to them to limit this. Our discussions with the Officers and Ministers were also summarised. The Connexional Officers are now going to draw up a paper outlining their proposals for our future relationship for us to bring back to the UK to discuss with our committee. There will no doubt be areas on which we differ, but I feel that the fact that we have had these discussions and listened to each other stands us in good stead.
Over lunch we took the chance to slip out of St. Marks and wander around Waterloo. This is a very different type of village to Jui where our wanderings took us the other day. The houses are often old colonial properties, or built replicating that style, and the people are obviously more affluent here (and the church’s income supports that suspicion). As we walked, we were greeted by two men who insisted in taking us down to the river where there was, they said, a site of historic interest. Arriving posts remaining from an old building were pointed to, this, we were told, was where the slave trade started. Whether or not this is true, the slave trade and colonial buildings point towards a past that doesn’t always show us white men in such a good light. The irony was, for me at least, was having taken a photo of a mural on the side of a local ‘cafe’ showing Steven Gerrard and the Liverpool Football Club crest. Despite some of the horrors of the past, we are welcomed and our culture in many ways admired.