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  • A Century of Baptist Women in Ministry... and Curious Connections

    In 1918, the first woman Baptist minister to be appointed in sole charge of a church in England was appointed. 

    Edith Gates was born in 1883 (the same year that the Boys' Brigade was founded and that some pioneering Baptists left central Glasgow to found what would become The Gathering Place). 

    At the age of 35, she entered her pastorate at Little Tew and Clevely in Oxfordshire.  When I was 35, I was just beginning the process of candidating to train for Baptist ministry, and was appinted to my first pastorate at the age of 40.

    In 2009, the first woman Baptist minister to be appointed in sole charge of a church in Scotland was appointed. 

    And so, I stand of the shoulders of giants, and on the days when it gets tough or isolating, I can be heard mumbling to myself "Edith Gates, Violet Hedger" as a kind of mantra.

    You can read a bit more about Edith Gates here


  • Divine Valentine...

    These should be hitting the doormats of the people who came to the evening service on Sunday!

    More to the point, it's message for everyone... God loves you, just as you are, and just as much as God loves everyone else.

  • Ash Wednesday - Awfully Lovebale Dust

    "Remember you are dust, and to dust you will return" - the traditional words of the Ash Wednesday liturgy that seem to be intended to remind us of our mortality and, possibly, insignificance... 'you are nothing'.  Words also that I have come to understand in a positive way, reminding us of our interconnection with the whole of creation, and that even when we are 'gone' the atoms and molecules that made up our earthly bodies will continue to 'live' as part of creation...

    This year Ash Wwednesday coincides with Valentines Day and has prompted the cartoon shared above.

    "Remember you are dust - but awfully loveable dust"

    Many a true word is spoken in jest, and this is one such.  Yes, you are mortal, and globally insignificant, and yes one day every amtom of your body will be something else... BUT... you are loved with an everlasting love, the love that spoke you into being and, at the end of all things, will still embrace you.

    I'm not a huge fan of Valentine's Day, but I am a fan of love in all its diverse expressions and meanings.

    I'm often all too aware of my own mortality and insignificance, and it's good to be reminded of eternal love.

    To be 'awfully loveable dust' is a profound theological statement... and one I offer to my lovely readers today.


    Happy Valentine's-cum-Ash-Wednes Day!

  • This year's challenge...

    All my life, I have been one of the most risk-averse people imaginable, which is probably why I was a very successful 'risk assessor' back in the day when I had a 'real job'.

    I joke that I have a fear of being electrocuted, so God made me an engineer in the electricity industry.

    I joke that I have a fear of drowning, so God made me a Baptist.

    I also have a fear of 'edges' - I am that person who dutifully stands well behind the yellow line on train platforms, and props up the wall in Tube stations (island Subway platforms in Glasgow are a nightmare - I joke that God in kindness made the Subway stations I use (with one exception) those that don't have island platforms).

    In contrast, I have no fear of heights, will happily walk across glass walkways, and enjoy the view at the top of bridges, mountains and high buildings.

    So this year I've decided to sign up for the 'Zip Slide the Clyde' challenge on Saturday 16 June.  Step off an edge, go over deep, cold water, and admire the stunning view!  All raising a few quid for a really good charity.  A great blend of terror and exhilaration in prospect - good job I have a few months to prepare myself!!

  • An exciting countdown...

    This morning I've been preparing for this afternoon's Baptism class, which is such a great privilege and pleasure.

    I think what I enjoy most about this kind of group is that it is always bespoke and always has to be flexible... it's only once you start exploring together that the real questions emerge, and all your carefully considered programming must give way to responding to the needs of the group. I find it challenging, not least because my brain is sluggish these days, but I also revel in it... meeting with people who are eager, earnest and excited is infectious.

    So I am excited as we count down the remaining Sundays until the big day when no less than five people will be Baptised.

    Exercise to reader: what do you understand by 'evangelisation' and how is it lived out in your own walk of faith and discipleship?  This is one of the questions on the list for this afternoon!