London’s high murder rate

Recently there has been a lot of focus on stabbings and shootings in London, not least in the press.  It has been reported that the murder rate in London is higher than New York (and while this may have been true for that month it was not true for the previous year taken as a whole).  The fact that New York has three times as many murders as London does not make our situation any less palatable.   This is a serious situation which needs addressing. Continue reading

NEW HEART, NEW LIFE

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”   John 13:34-35 NRSV

Lent began this year with Valentine’s Day, when I was challenged to ask, ‘what is real love’? On the Sunday at Longcauseway United Church, Dewsbury the church Leadership Team led the service, but it was a real leading by the Holy Spirit, who took us through worship and teaching to the very heart of God.

In Jesus Christ we receive all the love that God has to give, and by the Holy Spirit we are given that love for ourselves, (yes, for each and every one of us ) and to share with everyone else. The children made hearts for everyone, but as you received the first one, you were to give it to someone else, and then someone would share theirs with you. It was a very simple but powerful activity. As our own hearts are forgiven, healed and restored, we receive a new heart to live a new life, as the old has gone. Another ‘sketch’ acted out, at first by the young people, but then inviting others to join in was “People in the Box”  – what a wonderful hotchpotch of humanity was invited into the box, but even more profoundly, leapt out of the box together.

Here was the clue as to how Lent will end – on April Fool’s Day!

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Mission Council – Mission Possible!

Kevin and I have just surfaced from our last Mission Council as General Assembly Moderators.  The next time we attend in November we will be ‘has beens’ (or as the church politely calls us Immediate Past Moderators)!

This Mission Council is the last one before the 2018 General Assembly, and as such we were refining a number of papers and honing the resolutions in order to try to smooth their passage through General Assembly; and now the General Secretary and the Assembly Committees are putting the final touches to the papers that will end up in the Book of Reports.

This was a poignant meeting for us as it signals our term as GA Moderators is drawing to a close.  But it was also for a number of other people.  As some Assembly posts naturally come to an end at each Assembly the list of people for whom this was their last Mission Council was humbling – you know who you are … and thanks for your years of dedicated service.

Alan and I have just surfaced from our last Mission Council as General Assembly Moderators. And if you think you have just read that already, no, you haven’t as it is now Kevin writing so it’s the other way round! But how much the other way round? Continue reading