Two photographs – one is of the south coast of England, at Freshwater Bay, the Isle of Wight, the other is about as far from the sea as you can get, near Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. The Isle of Wight may be at the country’s edge, yet in our churches there, we discovered a real heart for the Gospel and care for others. West Midlands may be at the heart of the country, but we discovered a minister and a faith community seeking peace and reconciliation at the edges of society, alongside its neighbouring Community for Reconciliation at the Barnes Close Centre.
A couple of weeks ago I attended the London part of the Legacies of Slavery Hearing organised by the Council for World Mission (CWM). This was the first of four hearings; the others will be held in Ghana, Jamaica and the US. There was a broad range of people attending the hearing which consisted of a core group, who will attend all four hearings, and a group of local participants. Kate and I attended as the two local participants from the URC. Kate attended not as the Moderator’s wife but in her own right as she was CTE’s project officer for Set All Free (a programme marking the bicentenary of the 1807 Abolition of the Slave Trade Act) remembering Transatlantic Slavery, reflecting on its legacies and responding to slavery today. The process used by the hearing was to listen to a number of invited guests and witnesses, which included our own Dr Eve Parker who delivered an erudite paper through WhatsApp accompanied by some charming gurglings from her new-born babe. Continue reading
Sometimes when we meet Christians and we sense the love of God flowing through their lives, it is as though the spirit within us is thanking God with an almighty “Alleluia!” As our Wessex tour continued, to Fareham, and Hythe and then crossing over to the Isle of Wight, our spirits were indeed proclaiming “Alleluia! Alleluia! Give thanks to the Risen Lord” or was it more “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” according to Leonard Cohen?