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  • Harvest Reflections

    This morning's service seemed to go really well - the place was packed out, despite several people being away on holiday or unwell.  Everyone joined in, and there did seem to be plenty of laughter and generosity abounding as we shared together.  It felt, to me, like a proper All Age Service in that, at no stage did did we split into adults and children doing differently.  There was no sermon, but a snappy little reflection read from the Operation Agri book with about two minutes from me added on the end.  We sang in Spanish and English.  Some of us multi-tasked a syncopated percussion rhythm against a syncopated Samba rhythm song!  (And one of us operated the PowerPoint at the same time!).  The children enthusiastically entered into the activities - as did the adults if truth be told - and managed to be really still and quiet in the appropriate places.  We shared tortillas for communion as that seemed more fitting than a loaf, and imagined oursleves in the upper room with Jesus.

    I had fun... and now I am bushed!  Good bushed.  Spent and happy - the way a minister dreams of feeling on a Sunday afternoom!

  • Harvest Thanksgiving

    Tomorrow is our harvest service, when we will be collecting non-perishable foodstuffs for Glasgow City Mission and money for operation Agri's 'Fit for Life' project in Nicaragua.  It will be one of my 'marmite' services, lots of Spanish language stuff, lots of interaction, lots of multi-media, oh and a newish twist on an old hymn and one old one as it is traditionally sung , that should ensure Ioffend everbody equally! ;-)


    There are numerous contemporary versions of this old harvest hymn, but I opted for this one written by friends in inner city Manchester:


    Here in the modern city,

    We have no fields to plough;

    Our food is grown by others

    And comes we know not how;

    And yet we want to offer

    Our harvest praise today,

    For still in God’s creation

    We have our part to play.


           All good gifts around us

           are sent from heaven above;

           then thank the Lord,

           O thank the Lord,

           for all his love.


    We place our trust in money,

    And in the welfare state;

    But these we know are human

    So justice has to wait;

    The harvest is unequal

    And some, they have no bread.

    O help us to keep working

    ‘til all your folk are fed.


    So at this time of harvest

    Our grateful thanks we sing;

    The first fruits of our labours,

    Our lives an offering.

    Let’s plant the seed of justice

    And work that it might grow,

    Until God’s love eternal,

    On earth its fruit shall grow.

    From Crumbs of Hope ©  Clare McBeath  & Tim Presswood

    Now, just a small matter of sorting the props...


  • Happy 40th Birthday URC!

    The United Reformed Church is celebrating its 40th birthday this year.  As a child of nine, I recall the sign changing on the village chapel from D***** Congregational Church to D***** United Reformed Church.  It was another three years before I began to worship regularly there, and that particular URC retains a special place in my heart.  It was there I learned about congregational governance, the importance of membership and communal discernment... attributes that resonated deep with my inner being.  Although I would in time come to specifically Baptist convictions rather than Congregational/URC ones, we have much common heritage... indeed that little URC/Congregational church in D began life as a Baptist 'plant'.

    Roberta Rominger, for whom I have deep repsect, has listed "fifteen things to love" about the URC.  They are interesting to look at, and some made my chuckle a little - especially that in their forty year history they have been ordaining women for ninety five!!!  (Baptists and Congregationalists can legitimately make the claim; the URC can more legitmately claim that from its foundation it has ordained women...).  A longer list of forty items can be found here

    It's perhaps as well that as Baptists we have not set out to identify 400 things we love about our tradition!!

  • Baptists & Social Media

    Recently I made an attempt to preach on 'responsible words in an age of instant messaging'... it was not entirely successful, though it did prompt quite a lot of response, which is maybe no bad thing.  For a more sophisticated, considered and measured approach, take a peek at this from Steve Holmes and look forward to what else he has to say on the topic.

  • The Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness...

    ... and red duffle coats, is now declared open!

    Hard to believe that my precious red coat is entering its third winter, hopefully (viz 'filled with hope', not 'oh I hope it will') defying the dark and cold, literal and metaphorical.

    Thank you God for the promise of another winter, and the indefatigable hope of Christ within it.