My April 2016 visit to the UK – ICS Chaplains Conference

Alyson Lamb and Paul Vrolijk being interviewed by Richard Bromley, ICS Mission Director © Ricky Yates

As I explained in my earlier post, I spent the second half of my time in the UK, attending the annual ICS Chaplains Conference which this year took place at Ashburnham Place Conference Centre, near Battle in East Sussex. Whilst being conveniently located for reaching Dover and my return journey to Prague, I wasn’t otherwise very enamoured with the venue.

However, as always, I enjoyed meeting and hearing from my fellow Chaplains ministering in a variety of situations across Europe, and a couple from farther afield. And for the first time, I was invited to speak myself, giving what was billed as a ‘TED talk’, about my ministry in Prague, Brno and Dresden. It was very nice to have positive feedback from several of my . . . → Read More: My April 2016 visit to the UK – ICS Chaplains Conference

My April 2016 visit to the UK – a family weekend

Jov and Phillip, awaiting the start of the match © Ricky Yates

After my two-day visit to North Wales, I headed back across Offa’s Dyke, to Nottingham in the English East Midlands, spending the weekend staying with my son Phillip and future daughter-in-law Lisa, in their recently purchased new home. This has a guest bedroom meaning no more sleeping in a cellar without windows, or in a sleeping bag on the settee, as I have in times past 🙂

Ever since his childhood growing up in North Oxfordshire, Phillip has been a fan of Oxford United FC and is currently a season ticket holder. Months previously, when I was organising this visit, we agreed that we would go down to Oxford together and watch OUFC play Hartlepool United on Saturday 23rd April.

At that time, we didn’t know how critical . . . → Read More: My April 2016 visit to the UK – a family weekend

My April 2016 visit to the UK – a trip on the Welsh Highland Railway

Aberglaslyn Pass © Ricky Yates

As a teenager in the 1960s, I enjoyed several visits to North Wales – either on geography field trips, or walking holidays, staying overnight in youth hostels. On a number of occasions during those visits, I walked through the beautifully rugged Aberglaslyn Pass, following the line of a long defunct railway. This included walking through three short tunnels, hewn through protruding outcrops of rock.

Research using my local library back in Coventry, revealed that what I had walked along was part of the line of the narrow gauge Welsh Highland Railway, which had closed in 1937. A few years later in 1941, the track and rolling stock had been requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence, to support the ongoing war effort.

Much as I liked the idea that one day, what must have been a most wonderful scenic . . . → Read More: My April 2016 visit to the UK – a trip on the Welsh Highland Railway

My April 2016 visit to the UK – Brownsea Island & St Tecwyn’s Church, Llandecwyn

The castle on Brownsea Island, as seen from the ferry from Sandbanks © Ricky Yates

Following worship at St. Clement’s on the morning of Sunday 17th April, when I and the congregation bid farewell to Rev’d Dr Karen Moritz, I was away from the Czech Republic for the rest of the month, only returning to Prague on the afternoon of Saturday 30th April, ready to lead worship the following day. It was first a week of annual leave, which was then followed by attending my final ICS Chaplains Conference.

I drove from Prague to the UK over a period of two days, following the almost identical route I described two years ago, when I last made this journey. The only difference this time was that I spent the night of Sunday 17th, staying with the York family in Luxembourg. Then . . . → Read More: My April 2016 visit to the UK – Brownsea Island & St Tecwyn’s Church, Llandecwyn

The wedding of Adam and Claire

The happy couple in Fringford Churchyard following their wedding © Ricky Yates

Just a week after conducting my first wedding of 2015, on Saturday 6th June I conducted my second of the year. But for the first time in nearly seven years, this wedding was conducted under laws governing marriage in England and Wales.

It was in July last year that my son Phillip’s best friend, Adam, wrote to me, saying that he and his long-standing girlfriend Claire, were planning to be married in late May/early June 2015 and that they would like me to officiate, and asking whether I was willing and able to do so. As I normally travel to the UK for a week, once a year, I replied agreeing to their request, planning for the wedding to be at the centre of my annual UK visit. Adam did also . . . → Read More: The wedding of Adam and Claire