One of the main reasons for going to the Crimea was to spend a whole day talking to about twenty pastors of churches about eldership and elders working together in leading a local church. Where we have a history in our country of democracy, they have a history of autocracy. Therefore gathering a team all who have a contribution but who willingly hear each other and work together, coming to agreement on the way ahead is a novel idea, and not an easy one to grasp. The morning and the afternoon were given over to biblical teaching on this and the work of apostles. But even the best of times have to be punctuated with a lunch, as here with Martyn in the foreground.
After a whole day of this it was time for some fresh air and where better than by the sea. Here are some of the Russian sailors queueing for a local ferry.
The Russian flag flies proudly from their naval base.
Sevastopol is a separate municipality apart from the rest of the Crimea, and after the fall of communism it became a matter of serious dispute between the Ukraine and Russia because of its strategic importance.
Below is the apartment block where we stayed.
Saturday morning saw us meet with two church leaders from Sevastopol and Armyansk and discuss pastoral issues.
Sevastopol has many forms of transport. Here is a one of the many trolley buses. It was time too for us to be on the move and head north, through Simferopol to Armyansk, at the top of the Crimea, where the Crimea joins the mainland of the Ukraine.
Much of the Crimean countryside is just plain flat. Just like my home area of the fens of Lincolnshire. I liked it and felt very much at home. A big expanse of sky, flat fertile soil growing the same crops as in the fens, wheat, potatoes and vegetables.
By five thirty we had arrived at a small cafe in Armyansk and ready to eat. We were served some of the best food we had in our time in the Ukraine. Wonderful home made borsch (beetroot) soup followed by pork chops and potatoes. We were well fed and ready for another day.
Some of the varied Books I've read recently in no particular order....
The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni. Another one of those books I wish I could have read 20 years ago. Excellent about how to achieve organisational health.
The Orthodox Church by Timothy Ware. very helpful in helping to understand Orthodox history and thinking. The Orthodox Church is the main church in Serbia and Macedonia.
Austria-Hungary and the orgins of the first world war. Helps with the historical background to the Balkans. The Powers at work then are still at work today, politically, economically. Samuel R Williamson Jr
Bradt Guide to Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia etc (excellent and sometimes the only guides avaiable for lesser known countries)
Jesus through Middle Eastern eyes. Opened my eyes to see the Gospels in a new way. Kenneth E Bailey