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  • "Mothers' Day" Docu-drama

    Last night I watched the ninety minute docu-drama for which this is the trailer...

    The date, 20th March 1993, is one of those etched in my memory.  Warrington had become my 'adopted home town' the place I assumed I'd spend the rest of my life (got that one wrong!), a people I had come to love and a delightfully obscure northern market town that no-one much had heard of.  Then, on one day, and for a few weeks afterwards, that all changed.

    Quarter of a century on, this docu-drama explores aspects of the story through theeys of two couples, the Parrys, whose son, Jonathan, died as a result of his injuries, and the McHugh family in Dublin, moved by these events to question their own position and to campaign for peace.

    It's not an easy watch, and for anyone who lived in Warringon, Belfast or Dublin around that time there will have been strong emotions, I'm sure.  It was decidedly strange, watching the cut-in newsreel to see a face I recognised... a man who was an 'altar server' at the Anglican church where I was a GB leader.  I wondered where he is now, and how life has worked out for him.

    I thought of the children I knew from Irish and English backgrounds whose lives were directly or indirectly affected by those events.  I thought of the friends with whom I'd spent that day enjoying ourselves in Manchester... and of the reality that a week earlier or later I'd have been there.

    If someone had told me back then that in the next quarter of a century I would make homes for myself in Manchester, in Leicestershire and in Glasgow, that I would leave my 'fishing nets' to become a 'minister of the Gospel', that I would lose any real sense of rootedness yet discover a sense of global citizenship, I'd probably have thought they were bonkers.

    At the moment, Warrington is still the place where I have lived the longest (11 years) and in a few weeks Glasgow will move into second place (because I lived in two distinct places in Northamptonshire, one for four years, one for nine).

    Since that date there have been many other defining moments in my life - some of great joy, others of deep sadness - all of which contribute to the person I am.  Overall, I was grateful for the opportunity to be reminded of, and to reflect on, the events in Warrington, and impact that was made by those most closely involved who made the choices they did.

  • A Good Morning marking our New Beginnings

    The best bits about church this morning...

    People Stuff:
    * Three young adults leading communion, reflecting the diversity of our church... gay and straight, white and non-white, female and male
    * Commissioning lots of people who serve our church week by week
    * Visitors from overseas and nearby

    Practical stuff:
    * Needed more chairs
    * Ran out of communion glasses

    Holy and Spiritual stuff:
    * The sense of community
    * The wonderful music and choir-led moments
    * The sense of affirmation and commitment expressed
    * The sense of being in the presence of a God who welcomes everyone

    ♫ ♫ Take, oh Take me as I am,
    Summon our what I shall be
    Set your seal upon my heart
    And live in me... ♫ ♫

     

    I love 'my' church, and am very privileged to be part of it.  Celebrating, affirming and encouraging the diversity that makes us who we are is challenging and sometimes frustrating... but the joys always outweigh the struggles, and I delight in daring to think that God delights in us.

  • New Beginnings, Continuing Stories...

    This morning we are (re-)commissioning each other for another year of service.

    One of the choir peices is this, which I adore... and which takes me to significant places in my own story, notably eight years ago when we had it at an infant blessing, my last 'public' appearance before I had my long hair cut short in preparation to start cancer treatment in September 2010. It still has the power to make me 'well up' with sorrow, joy, hope and faith...

    'Yes, LORD, I do love you... I will go wherever you lead me, and do or be whatever you call me to...'