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  • Women in Ministry... or in God's Service anyway...

    I saw this hymn quoted on Facebook, and it seemed pertinent to share it here:

    There is a line of women
    extending back to Eve
    whose role in shaping history
    God only could conceive.
    And though, through endless ages,
    their witness was repressed,
    God valued and encouraged them
    through whom the world was blessed.
    So sing a song of Sarah
    to laughter she gave birth;
    and sing a song of Tamar
    who stood for women's worth;
    and sing a song of Hannah
    who bargained with her Lord;
    and sing a song of Mary
    who bore and bred God's Word.

    There is a line of women
    who took on powerful men
    defying laws and scruples
    to let life live again.
    And though, despite their triumph,
    their stories stayed untold
    God kept their number growing,
    creative, strong and bold.
    So sing a song of Shiphrah
    with Puah close at hand,
    engaged to kill male children,
    they foiled the king's command.
    And sing a song of Rahab
    who sheltered spies and lied;
    and sing a song of Esther
    preventing genocide.

    There is a line of women
    who stood by Jesus' side,
    who housed him while he ministered
    and held him when he died.
    And though they claimed he'd risen
    their news was deemed suspect
    till Jesus stood among them,
    his womanly elect.
    So sing a song of Anna
    who saw Christ's infant face;
    and sing a song of Martha
    who gave him food and space;
    and sing of all the Marys
    who heeded his requests,
    and now at heaven's banquet
    are Jesus' fondest guests.

    John L Bell (born 1949)
    © 2002 WGRG, Iona Community, 4th floor, Savoy House, 140 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3DH, Scotland



    There is a line of women

    Which continues down through time

    Continuing to persevere

    In living for their LORD.

    And though the church moves slowy

    And trips over its feet

    Yet still they keep on trusting

    God's call upon their lives.

    So sing a song of Edith [Gates]*

    Who pioneered the way

    And sing a song of others

    Who do the same today

    And sing of all the women

    Who strive to do their best

    As people called to serve God

    In every time and place.


    extra words by me!!!


    * If my memory is working correctly, Edith Gates was the first ordained woman Baptist minister in England in the 20th century, back in 1929, and along with a Congregationalist of roughly the same date, one of the first two in any tradition in the UK

  • A Sad Day too...

    News had reached me of two of Dibley's folk who have died this week.

    R was just a few years older than me, a generous, warm-hearted person who would help anyone, snatched away by a particularly aggressive and rare cancer.

    C was in his nineties, a slightly crusty Gideon with a rare twinkle in his eye, and a heart of gold, who had evidently felt a little unwell the last few days.

    Heaven is a brighter place/entity now, but 'my' fragile little former flock a little more fragile.  So tonight I weep with them.

  • A Sad Day

    A sad day for the Church of England.  Sad in my opinion because of the decision reached on women bishops, and sad because it strains yet further the already fragile Anglican communion.

    I have tried to type all sorts of stuff here, and deleted it.  What I admire about the Church of England is its diversity, somehow held together across theological and cultural spectra.  What saddens me is that the flip side of this strength is days like this.  Today just feels sad, there is no sense of anyone 'winning' let alone of God's will being done.  My heart aches for my sisters in the Anglican clergy who are almost certainly weeping tonight.

    Words... they just fail me.  It's a sad day. 


    Father, forgive us, we have no idea what it is we are doing...

  • Time Out

    This is day three of my time out from work, before the start of the advent season and the craziness it brings.  Taking a little break from blogging, with my laptop at hand and even switched on, is maybe been no bad thing.

    This morning I listened to the recording of yesterday's Gathering Place service, led by one of the students from Scottish Baptist College, the third to have provided cover preaching this autumn as I have finally got round to taking a few free Sundays.  Each of the three this term has served us very well, and I hope they have gained from the experience of our more traditional approach to worship.  Amanda did a sterling job in concluding the series on James, with a very thoughtful and practical sermon on prayer.  Chris brought creativity and depth of thought as he tackled the rather bewildering title of 'volume setting' in a short series on prayer with the psalms.  And Lionel spoke with courage and insight on the challenging passage that is Mark 13:1 - 8 as part of a series on 'Who Rules?' - a lead up to Christ the King Sunday.  Each of these people had clearly prepared carefully and prayerfully, and it was a blessing to listen to them speaking.

    Next Sunday I have 'Christ the King' and we are at the end of another liturgical year!  Where did the time go?

    Next Sunday we also have a Church Meeting, and a lot of important stuff to discuss, so it will be a busy and demanding day one way and another, but I am looking forward to it.

    As part of this year's advent blogging, I will be joining in with Andy Goodliff and others on the '25 Things' blog... it's not yet properly live so don't expect anything much if you visit it now!  I will also be offering something of my own... not quite sure what yet, as the daily Bible reflections last year were hugely demanding, but some sort of advent calendar type thing anyway.

    For now, though, I suppose I ought to do such things as updating my Christmas card list as the weather is not conducive to going outside!

  • True Words in Jest

    One of the little books of mine that has been out on loan for a very long time is "101 Things to do During a Dull Sermon" a collection of fun and funny anecdotes that dates back to the 1990s.  In fact, it has been out on loan so long, and via such a long chain of people, I fear I may never see it again, so have just ordered myself a shiny new copy! :-)

    This morning's Baptist Times enews sweep thingy, had a link to a blog with ten ways for children to survive a boring sermon from which there is a link to a more general list aimed at adults.  Each of these is amusing and shows that as time passes, nothing much changes.

    But, on a more serious note, a little book has recently been published by Andy Goodliff presenting his MTh work in to how Baptists have viewed children, which I will also order (once it becomes available).  How we relate to children, how we nurture their innate faith, how we make church meaningful for all ages and stages of people, is a massive challenge.  I am interested to read what Andy has written, and to set it with other work, including some of my own undergraduate research, and see how we can move forward so that children and young people don't just vote with their feet because church is boring, irrelevant or whatever.