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Work on Singleness & Church

I recently mentioned I had done some work on single people's experience of church (back in 2002).  I have uploaded the summary of that work which was published in the Baptist Minister's Journal which can be found here and the full thing (12k words plus loads of appendices and a mega impressive bibliography, if I say so myself who shouldn't) here

I also rediscovered some poems I'd collected on the theme and here is just one of them...



Is the liberty

To be me,

To do what I like

When I like,

To travel


The highways

Of the world




Is the discipline

Of freedom,

The privilege

Of having more time

For others,

More responsibility

To give myself,

More space

To share.




Is the pain

Of children

Never born,

Of being outside

On the outside

Of the family,

Mysteriously virgin,

Threatening to others.




Is aloneness

In my one-person family,

The open door

And table,

The discovery

That I am loved,

Valued and of value.




Is the ache

Of rejection,



Of having

No living body

To throw my arms around

And love me

For myself alone. 



Is the ability

To close my front door

On the world,

To enjoy my solitude,

Listen to music,


Be at peace.



Singleness is my beginning

And my end,

My laughter

And my tears,

Myself and God,


Loved and loving,

At home and free,

Celebrate with me!




By Betty Hares, From Mary O’Brien and Clare Christie eds. Single Women: Affirming our Spiritual Journeys Westport, Connecticut, Bergin and Garvey, 1993.  More can be found here (but please be careful with copyright, Nicola Slee's unpublished work was used with her permission as part of my dissertation work)

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