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  • How it begins...

    My Mum (left), aunt and uncle - two English, one Scottish, all half-Jewish. 

    In the light of recent news reports and things said by powerful people the world over, I am very much reminded of the words of Pastor Martin Neimoeller ...


    First they came for the Jews
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for the Communists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a trade unionist.

    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left
    to speak out for me.


    It begins by defining someone as 'other', it potentially ends in genocide - which is why today I feel moved to join a political protest.  Whatever our views on the EU or the UK, or anything else, our shared humanity has to come first.  For me, that means today I will join thousands of others to speak out for what we believe to be true.

  • Finishing Touches Completed...

    It's taken a while, and a lot of effort on the part of my little sister to whom the task was entrusted, but yesterday the stone mason provided this photo of the new stone on our parents' grave.  I think she chose well, the colour of the stone and the inscription are just right for my unfussy parents!  Soon the grass will recover around the plinth, and the shine will fade, but the marker, like the memory, will remain.

    It's only when I compare the photos that I realise quite how tired the old gravestone had become after almost thrity years in situ...

    old gravestone.jpg

    To be honest, unless I am in that part of the world for other reasons, I almost certainly won't visit the grave again, but it is good to know that it is easy to find for any who do. 

  • Health Warning...

    Last night I was at a lovely concert where Iona Fyfe, who was awarded Scots Singer of the Year at the 2018 MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards, sang a broad selection of traditional ballads.  Most of these are not happy stories, people often end up jilted, dead or both!  They are, however, great to listen to.

    On Sunday, I will be using a very abridged version of part of the Orkneyinga Saga, which should come with a health warning - there is no happy ending, it is rather bloody and (spoiler alert) the hero ends up dead.

  • Anam Cara and Pilgrimage

    So, today's service brought our summer series on "Aspects of Spirituality" to a close with twin reflections on pilgrimage and soul friendship (anam cara).

    I hope the series has been interesting and helpful -  feedback has been very encouraging.  Certainly it has done my soul 'good' and given me space to identify areas of exploration for my upcoming sabbatical year, of which more another time once it's all agreed.

    Mentoring, pastoral supervision, spiritual accompaniment/direction, all these are helpful and meaningful, if not quite the 'anam cara' of ancient times.  And so is covenanted community - that very Baptist self understanding that says 'we are pilgrims on a journey, and companions on the road, we are here to help each other, walk the mile and share the load.'  So it was good this morning for each person to take away a small scallop shell, and a card with the song words printed on them.  Simple signs of a profound truth - we are in this together, and the God who has brought us this far will see us all safe home.

    Brother, sister, let me serve you,

    Let me be as Christ to you.

    Pray that I may have the grace

    To let you be my servant too.

  • Another teaser...

    Another hint for tomorrow's service... last week of 'summer pattern' so a bit of a 'wrap up' maybe.


    And, in its long form, a lovely Irish blessing for all my loyal readers....

    Deep peace I breathe into you,
    O weariness, here:
    O ache, here!
    Deep peace, a soft white dove to You;
    Deep peace, a quiet rain to you;
    Deep peace, an ebbing wave to you!
    Deep peace, red wind of the east from you;
    Deep peace, grey wind of the west to You;
    Deep peace, dark wind of the north from you;
    Deep peace, blue wind of the south to you!
    Deep peace, pure red of the flame to you;
    Deep peace, pure white of the moon to you;
    Deep peace, pure green of the grass to you;
    Deep peace, pure brown of the earth to you;
    Deep peace, pure grey of the dew to you,
    Deep peace, pure blue of the sky to you!
    Deep peace of the running wave to you,
    Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
    Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
    Deep peace of the sleeping stones to you!
    Deep peace of the Yellow Shepherd to you,
    Deep peace of the Wandering Shepherdess to you,
    Deep peace of the Flock of Stars to you,
    Deep peace from the Son of Peace to you,
    Deep peace from the heart of Mary to you,
    And from Briget of the Mantle
    Deep peace, deep peace!
    And with the kindness too of the Haughty Father
    In the name of the Three who are One,
    Peace! And by the will of the King of the Elements,
    Peace! Peace!