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Fra Angelico, Philippians and Food for Thought

Yesterday's evening service centred on the life and work of Fra Angelico, and wonderful frescos to be found in the Convent of San Marco in Florence.  This famous image, often found on Christmas cards is beautiful and mysterious, drawing the viewer into the story and posing questions as it does so.

Yesterday's morning service saw a guest preacher speaking on the theme 'the Lord is near' based on Philippians 4:4-9.  A very familiar passage, so always good to hear what someone else has drawn from it.  Gentle in delivery and clear is message, it was well re ceived, and that makes me glad.

In between times, I was fortunate to join some others for lunch with the guest preacher, and to enjoy some interesting conversation.  Towards the end of the meal, he asked me what it is like for women in ministry in the Baptist Union of Scotland.  It was a conversation that drew in others around the table, who have lived with, and know, this story better than I do.  What struck me is the internal tension I live with day by day, of knowing absolutely this is my calling, of being loyal to 'my' Baptist Union (s) in converation with outsiders, and sometimes finding it all a bit overwhelming

It hurts, and it will always hurt, when I am 'blanked' or excluded on the grounds of my gender, yet, here I am, I can do no other. 

It is sometimes very lonely being a 'pioneer' trying to do what I believe God calls me to do yet fearful of fouling up the future for those who may follow, yet I can do no other.

It is true, that I could have a much easier time as female Baptist minister if I returned to England - yet God continues to call me to Scotland, so I can do no other.

There are moments when for two figs I'd give it all up and stack shelves in the supermarket - yet here I am, I can do no other.

There are moments when the joy and wonder, privilege and mystery of it all overwhelm me, and in delight I recall, here I am, I can do no other.


Mary, sat on a stool, arms cradling her middle... she offers her 'yes' to God.  A yes that says, 'here I am I can do no other, let it be to me according to your will.'

Women who are ordained Baptist Ministers ought perhaps to be more attentive to Mary, whose heart was pierced by metaphorical swords, who experienced misunderstanding and who must have, sometimes, felt desperately alone.


Today I am glad, truly glad, to be in the place, and among the people, to which and to whom I believe to the core of my being God calls me.  

Rejoice in the Lord always - the Lord is always near.

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