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  • Fake Cake and Real Highlights

    The Baptist Assembly in Scotland, celebrating 150 years of the BUS is now over.  It was a good to days, some real highlights, no horrendously low spots, and, amusingly a fake cake.

    When we arrived the cake was proudly on show, a centrpiece that i assumed, wrongly, would be ceremonially cut at some point.  It wasn't.  When everyone was packing up at the ned, there it was, slightly bashed and still uncut.  'Oh, it's not real,' I was told, 'it's a polystyrene block covered in icing'.  There had been real cake, gluten free so suitable for most people to enjoy (thoguh not vegans or dairy intolerant folk) though I found it overly sweet and the artificial cream cloying.  I am spoiled - no-one makes a cake like our N!  There could be, as someone said to me, a sermon in that, but thaty's never been the way my mind works.

    Thankfully the fake cake and the cloying artificial cream did not any any way symbolise the two days, which, for the most part were really enjoyable.

    Some highlights...

    On Friday, a panel of very senior leaders from BMS World Mission, EBF, BUGB and BUW answered honestly and opening questions about sprituality, disicpleship and self-care.  It was truly wonderful, as they spoke in ways that resonated with real people.

    On Saturday, someone had created the most beautiful 24/7 style interactive prayer space.  I loved it and spent almost an hour enjoying and praying in ways that suit me.


    Also on Saturday were some excellent short talks by folk from the Scottish Bible Society, Scottish Baptist College and Strathclyde University.  Really interesting and relevant, wide ranging to cover topics such as mental health, singleness, cosmology mission and reading the Bible!

    There are always very precious moments - the welcoming of newly accredited ministers always takes me bck to my two 'handshakes' in BUGB and BUS, and rmeinds me who and what I am in this crazy Baptist context.

    Lastly, on Saturday evening, Lynne Green, General Secretary of BUGB invited BUS women ministers  to dinner.  As we sat mucnhing pizza in a restaurant in Motherwell, stories were shared, ideas were sparked and connections made.

    It was a good Assembly.  I am glad I went.  I am proud of my delegates who engaged even with the stuff that really isn't 'them'. I feel encouraged and content.

  • All Saints

    All Saints - the day to remember those who went before us, especially those that the world-wide church has officially recognised as saints.  But also those who are part of our perosnal litany of faithful servants of God, famous or largely forgotten.

    And an excuse to share one of the hymns that I absolutely love singing - and really has to have an organ accompaniment...

  • Symbols (and non-symbols!)

    A mix of symbols and non-symbols here - though of course the reader is free to interpret as they feel appropriate.

    Wearing my ordination ring is something I almost never do since I developed lymphoedema in my right hand, but today it is on, and will be hidden under my compression glove most of the day.  A decade on from the Baptist Assembly where I was welcomed to Scotland, it seemed right to wear it, even if no-one will see it.

    Purple nail varnish - a nod to Violet Hedger and Edith Gates, at least indirectly.  I also have a purple cardigan and a purple pashmina... symbols of the reality that women have been ordained as Baptist Ministers for a century, at least in some parts of these islands.

    The bandage is just a bandage!  Yesterday, whilst slicing some bread to make toast, I cut my finger enough that it needs a bit of protection and not just a plaster.  Once the glove is on, it's pretty much invisible.  

    Today is the 150th Anniversary celebration of the Baptist Union of Scotland, and I have the privilege of being one of the Communion Servers.  I hope the purple nail varnish doesn't put anyone off their bread/wine, and is suitably tempered by the plain black dress I'll also be wearing.

    Today, as we give thanks for the vision of those who founded this Union of churches, I will also be giving thanks for the people and churches who were, are, and always will be the grit in the oyster that brings forth the pearl in due season.

    Very proud of my/our church, and all it contributes to Baptist life in Scotland - we have more than a few metaphorical cut fingers, methinks, but we continue to fulfil our God-given calling.