This past weekend Carol and I were in Minehead celebrating the Golden Wedding of two dear friends, Christine and Stuart Lawrence. They held a party for 40 of us in the Foxes Hotel (which was all part of their vision in their work for the Baptist Holiday Fellowship through the last 40 plus years). Apart from their family we knew no one else. Many friends from Coventry who had been present 50 years earlier were excitedly present (!) plus a scattering of politicians including an ex-MP! And we discovered a startling number were also celebrating their golden weddings this year (including Carol and me!)
I was asked to make a speech which was easy because we have known them well since 1978 and they represent high quality team-work in their work and marriage throughout these years with their very different qualities complementing each other. Committed to making holidays work for all everyone who came to their centre (and how our family benefited) they gave so generously of skills, practically and emotionally. Bluntly, the Baptist Holiday Fellowship and Minehead operation would never have survived organizationally without them. They saw it as ministry and service 24/7.
Yet, in addition to a rich family life they are such interesting people. Over 20 years ago, Christine became County Councillor for nearby Dunster and rose to become the first female Chair of Somerset County Council. Stuart, an artist of considerable skill has a gallery in Porlock and a website. His support for Christine in her public role shows such pride and willingness, driving her to hundreds of special events and accompanying her with aplomb.
Best of all, their mutual love shared so liberally with us owes everything to their Christian faith. As I said in my speech, it is God's love for them that has motivated their love for each other and for us. Next day I preached at Millbridge Evangelical Church where Christine and Stuart are members and to our joy several party guests were there too. It seemed the right way to finish celebrating. It's good to have friends like this, isn't it?
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
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