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  • Communion Again...

    Today we commandeered the hospital chapel to share communion with one of our folk.  I did try knocking the door of the office to ask permission, but there was no reply.

    These moments are so incredibly beautiful and precious. 

    Grape juice in a paper cup (I have four glasses in my communion set, there were five of us), a bread roll precariously balanced on a paten so small that it would fit well in doll's tea set.  A piano stool doubling as a communion table.  Chairs gathered into a circle.

    And then on into the (W)RVS cafe, one of the few that survive in this age of shopping malls in hospital, for steaming cups of tea and a conversation characterised by hilarity before the hour had flown and we needed to wend our ways whence we had come.  One to the ward, four in different directions home or to work.

    You can't bottle it or buy it.  You can't manufacture it.  It just is what it is - people meeting and sharing and remembering and making memories - and it is as beautiful as it is fleeting, as precious as it is privilege.

  • Hmmm...

    Today's PAYG asked the question, "As you read the gospels, does Jesus still amaze you, or has he become cultural wallpaper?"



  • Seasonal Ritual Photos

    It's become a bit of a ritual that in September, as the leaves change colour and start to fall from the trees, I take my self out for a walk, savour the beauty of the season, and snap a few photos.  Nothing that would ever win any prizes, but that's not the point.  They are simply a reminder to myself that another year has passed and that, not only am I still here, I am well and healthy.

    Obviously after five years, the intensity of feeling has dulled, and the wobbly moments are much less often and much less wobbly.  What doesn't change is the deep sense of gratitude for my continuing life.  I still don't take anything for granted, still won't look ahead more than a year, or two at most, but I am content, and that's a good place to be.

  • BUGB Statement/Call relating to Refugee Situation

    Not a snappy post title, but there you go.  Serious stuff.

    The BUGB yesterday put out this statement (which I've copied rather than linked, apologies if formatting is doolally) which is encouraging and challenging.  Some joined up thinking, working with other bodies and other faiths, and long term focus...

    Call for a National Refugee Welcome and Resettlement Board


    Statement by the Revd Lynn Green, General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain


    In response to the outpouring of public support, including a number of clear expressions of concern from local Baptists, we join with others in calling for the formation of two new bodies to enable a co-ordinated response to the growing refugee crisis.

     While government agencies might manage the process of re-settlement, including the provision of professional support, we believe there is a vital role for civic society, the private sector, local citizens and other stakeholders to play alongside this. This is a vision that has been developed by Citizens UK, and we believe it is right to add our own support to this.

    The successful resettlement of people with extreme and complex needs, will require significant support and it is particularly important that the substantial resources of faith and community organisations are not under-utilised at a time of such crisis. It is equally important that these organisations are able to work alongside and connect with professional agencies where this is required.

    We share the belief that this could be effectively achieved by the establishment of a National Refugee Welcome and Resettlement Board, which in turn would work to establish and build a network of local Refugee Welcome and Resettlement Committees.

    Historically, volunteers have been at the forefront of welcoming, befriending and even housing refugees in their local communities - notably in the cases of the Kindertransport, Ugandan Asians and the Vietnamese boat people. However this needs to properly connect with the activities of Government and non-governmental agencies. Historically, there were co-ordination boards and committees to fulfil this role, but these no longer exist, so new institutions need to be created.

    Following the Prime Minister's commitment to increase the rate of Syrian resettlement to 20,000 over the next five years, and the reduced capacity of local government and refugee charities in a time of austerity, the need for the voluntary capacity of civil society organisations to assist in welcoming, befriending, mentoring, teaching English, finding appropriate housing and other tasks is greater than ever.

    1 The National Refugee Welcome and Resettlement Board (NRWRB)

    The NRWRB has the potential to bring together diverse national civil society organisations, leading private sector voices, and key public sector institutions. All would share a deep and long-term commitment to refugee resettlement, significant human and financial resources spread across a broad geography, and a commitment to mobilising voluntary effort to assist the state led resettlement process.

    Civic members could include representatives of the Faith communities, Citizens UK, the British Red Cross, Avaaz, Save the Children, 38 Degrees, TUC etc.

    The role of the NRWRB would be to organise the resources available on a national scale to support refugee resettlement programmes. Its key role would be to complement the work of other established agencies by helping to interface these with the activities and offers of help that emerge from local communities.

    2 Local Refugee Resettlement and Welcome Committees (RRWC)

    The NRWRB would develop guidelines for the formation of local RRWCs in areas where resettlement will happen and help provide coordination for their activities. Wherever possible existing local groups and community initiatives will be supported to form such committees, supplemented by a core of local affiliates of the national members of the NRWRB. Where they do not exist and significant resettlement is planned the NRWRB could support the initial convening and formation of such a committee.

    The focus of the committees will be to support the local council and other relevant agencies in welcoming and supporting refugees. 



    The Revd Lynn Green is General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain


  • Rebellious Redness... Five Years On

    It's getting quite scruffy now, a well-loved, well-worn, permamnently stained, pilled red duffle coat.  Definitely an air of the Paddington bear about it.

    Bought in BHS in Coventry on a gloriously sunny Sunday morning five years ago (12th September 2010 for any fellow date-aholics) as a nose-thumb to being sensible, as a 'yaboo sucks' to cancer, as a moment when just for once I followed my heart not me head and treated myself to something I've always wanted.

    It has served me well, keeping me warm during the icy cold 2010/11 winter, topping off festive outfits at Christmas, reminding me of how far I've travelled, and of the need to be a bit spontaneous now and then - that a little frivolity is actually good for the soul.  And this week, on a dull, chilly Wednesday, in an otherwise warm and sunny week, it had its first outing of 2015.

    So I'm not fussed that the stains won't come out; that it is pilled where the velcro on my wrist splints stuck to the fabric or that it undoubtedly looks a little tired.  It is my rebellious red duffle coat, and I love it!