Two fascinating trips occupied our diary for April. Our good friends Graham and Jenny McAll kindly invited us to the Isle of Man for a mixture of holiday and speaking. Jenny is genuinely Manx and Graham is rapidly becoming so. It was a real joy to be in their delightful home and enjoy their warm hospitality. Each day they kindly drove us round the island to see some of the beautiful and spectacular scenery with lots of sea birds and seals.
The daffodils were abundant and lovely too. During the week we spoke several times and on the Sunday Elizabeth preached in a small village Anglican church while I preached in the main Baptist church in Douglas, the capital of the island. Churches on the island suffer the same sort of problems that we face in England, but there are pockets of encouragement, spiritual and evangelistic vitality. We found people enormously warm and open to all we could give them in our teaching and preaching.
The Isle of Man was the first country in the world to have a democratic parliament. It is still independent and self-governing under the sovereignty of the Queen. Its history is impressive, going back to stone age discoveries. The early Manx inhabitants later inter-married with early Celtic invaders and colonisers. Their blood was then mixed with the Vikings who also colonised the island and enjoyed its rich agricultural land and relatively moderate climate. In more recent years Irish, Scots and English people have also mixed with the local people, so cross-cultural communication forms a vital part of the church’s task. We felt that All Nations could play a significant part in training leaders for the island.
Next up – Albanian adventure