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  • Unity in Diversity

    Thursday 4th Febraury is, so I recently discovered (or maybe rediscovered, my memory is rubbish) World Cancer Day.  This year in the UK four of the major cancer charities have chosen to work together, each selling ther own 'unity bands' to raise funds for their work, but with the common theme of 'unity'.  With the hashtag #adaytounite individuals and families are invited to post photos wearing their band/bands as a sign of this unity.

    The four charities each offer something unique...

    CRUK is primarily a research charity, covering all kinds of cancer and funding work right across the UK.

    The Anthony Nolan Trust is concerned solely with blood cancers, and central to its work are the bone marrow donor registers, as well as research and support.

    The Movember Foundation, famous for it's November moustache fundraiser, focuses on mens health in general with key areas including male cancers - prostate and testicular - a mixture of research, education and support.

    Breast Cancer Care as it's name suggests is a support charity concerned with cancers affecting the breast in women and men, with education and awareness raising as well as all sorts of practical support.  Unlike the others listed above, it is not a research charity, though increasingly it is involved in campaigning in the area of secondary breast cancer.


    I opted to purchase two bands - CRUK and Breast Cancer Care as these are the two that resonate with my experience, and for which I have raised, and do raise, money.

    What I like about this awareness and fundraising campaign is that these charities are not competing, they are standing alongside each other, recognising the unique contribution each makes in a huge field.  Sometimes charities do compete, sometimes one will deliberately start up services another already offers... not so unlike churches really!  What is good is when, as here, they can work alongside each other.  There is lots of small scale charitable ecumenism for sure - here in Glasgow I know of joint projects between these and other charities.  This all seems good.

    On Tuesday I will have my annual check-up and "squish" - which will be five years since my surgery and, all things being equal, five years NED.  Supporting the charities whose work directly or indirectly has helped me seems a good way to celebrate that.

  • I did that!

    Seeing the footage of Jo Brand walking the Trans Pennine Trail (TPT) brought back many happy memories of doing more or less (well, more: the route we did was 40 miles longer) the same back in 2006. 

    My friend and I walked west to east, Liverpool to Hull in ten days, averaging 20 miles a day (peak was about 24 if memory serves) and carrying everything we needed on our backs.  We set off in blistering heat - with one of us (me) experiencing horrendous blisters and the other (her) suffering with the heat.  We had some crazy adventures, not least the B&B that had double booked and we had to go another three miles to the alternative he'd found... which was good as it was nearer the trail but we'd already walked about five miles off trail to get there... (thankfully he gave us a lift to it).  By the time we arrived in Hull the weather had done what it does in Britain, and turned to cold, lashing rain and a strong wind... having been frazzled we now froze and went into a pub to drip dry and warm up by consuming jam roly poly and custard.  But it was fun, we raised a lot of money for a small research charity, and we made some special memories.

    So I enjoyed watching Jo brand walk where I'd walked (or some of it anyway) and savoured the fact that here was a celebrity doing a challenge that was in the reach of ordinary people.  No canoeing down the Amazon or cycling up Africa or any other impossible aspiration... Instead in the dark and cold and wet of January, she took on a demanding schedule to cross this island in the public eye and did it with aplomb.

    I really respect her for taking this challenge and completing it.

  • Colouring a Sermon?

    Leafing through my 'holy colouring book' I found this page, which immediately made me think of a particular friend, who is fond of this text, and of something I became aware of years ago that has shaped my understanding of the text ever since.

    Clay pots, so I discovered, were the equivalent in the first century of single use paper cups and other 'take away' containers.  Indeed, I relatively recently disocvered that in parts of India this is still the case, and whole communities earn their living making simple clay pots/cups etc.

    So, then, the treasure we have, the 'surpassig power', whatever that means, is contained in paper cups... the most disposable and least valuable containers available.

    So we, paper cup like though we are, small, easily crushed or broken, sometimes discarded by society with no more than a second glance, are the vessels, the chosen containers for the 'treasure' that it is the gospel.

    It's also a reminder that those I walk past with barely a second glance, treating them with the same casual indifference as a chip-paper or a drink bottle, are considered by God as of immeasurable worth - worthy indeed to contain and the same treasure.

    Can't find a way to connect this text and these ideas to green issues - but re-use and recycling must surely by consistent with valuing even the paper cups and plastic bags designed for single use; and maybe, at a stretch to recongnising that those people discarded as worthless are also capable of redemption and resurrection (metaphorical and literal).

    So that's my sermon/homily/reflection created by colouring.

    I wonder what, if anything, the image or the text or my rambling says to you? 

    And I wonder if you can colour, mould, stitch or dance your own sermon?