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  • Quarter of a Year...

    Three months ago today, I conducted one of the last weddings in Scotland before lockdown meant they had to stop.  It was a gloriously sunny afternoon, and an idyllic spot. So today, M&J have been married for quarter of a year!  I contacted them, and they told me how excited they at the prospect of 'doing it all again' eventually when large indoor gatherings are permitted.

    In some ways, this wedding marks the start of my lockdown experience, and, as we enter Phase 2 of its easing, I find myself looking back over these weeks that have flown past - from the vernal equinox to the summer solstice.  Somehow, it feels good that these dates rather than 'Easter' or 'Pentecost' have become the markers on this journey.  A reminder that our global identity goes beyond all societal and religious structures, and is more 'earthy'.

    Most, though not all, days since lockdown began I have walked around my bit of Glasgow and taken hundreds of photos on my smartphone.  I have spent countless hours in Zoom meetings, and learned all sorts about software and hardware that I never wanted to know! I have been online in national prayer casts and webinars, as well as local and regional acts of worship or CMD sessions. I have been awed by the perseverence of others trying to cajole technological devices to connect to online worship.  I have been delighted to see our younger people compose new music for worship or make films and PowerPoints. Our Pastoral Care team have excelled in keeping contact with every household, and our Trustees and Admin teams have done stirling work to keep everything together and moving in the right direction.

    Overall, then, lots of wonderful blessings amidst the strangeness of it all.

    Summer for us is, traditionally, a gentler pace, and I am excited with what we've come up with this year.  For sure, it's already had a bit fo a re-jig, that's just life, but I know it'll be good, and I am looking foward to how it unfolds.

    I wonder what the next quarter of a year will bring?


  • We will meet when the danger is over...

    I happened across this, linked from the social media page of a friend in Manchester!  I hope you enjoy it and find it both comforting and hopeful...

    We will meet to give thanks from martyn coe on Vimeo.

  • Light Entertainment from Wales...

  • Educating Myself...

    How to I move from being 'against racism' at an intellectual and ideological level and become 'anti-racist' in my everyday life?  How do I identify and name the unconscious bias that arises from white privilege?  How might I uncover my blind spots and learn to live a new possible?  How do I avoid saying nothing (which earns me accusations of being complicit) without saying the 'wrong thing' (which will inevitably be called out)?

    I have linked up with other Baptists across the UK to work together through the study book show above.  I have read the introductory part of the book - which is clear and accessible, and am looking forward, albeit with healthy trepidation, to working my way through the second part which is a 'work book' of 28 'days'.

    This morning, I had quite a long chat with a woman of colour who was at the Black Lives Matter rally in Glasgow.  She was amazed how many people were there because normally she sees so few others.  She thanked me for caring.  She thanked me for wanting to learn. She thanked me for being sorry because I didn't know what to say.

    I have much to learn, and I will do my best to learn.

  • Black Lives Matter

    Yesterday, I was invited to add my name to a statement in response to recent events in the USA, which you can read here.

    I was subsequently asked if I would record myself reading it, so that the recordings could be edited together.  I agreed - and in due course that will appear online too.

    Black Lives Matter - we know that, it's not something new, and it's pretty easy for me to add my name to a statement or to record myself reading it.

    Let me tell you about K, a retired bus-driver who came over from Barbados in response to a call for people to take on the roles that white British people wouldn't/couldn't/didn't do.  He made a home for himself, married a white woman and raised beautiful, intelligent daughters.

    Time passed, and he was accepted simply as K by those in the church of which he was a member.  A kindly man who offered lifts to others, who grew vegetables in his garden, and who loved watching the West Indies play cricket.

    The emergence of the 'British National Party' troubled K, and rightly so, they wanted him and others like him to be thrown out of 'their' country.  So when a BNP councillor was elected for the ward where I lived, and Dibley Baptists served, I had no choice but to speak out - even to a congregation where some that felt 'politics has no place in the pulpit.'

    K was terrified, really terrified.  He knew we all loved him, but that wasn't enough.  He feared for his wife, already in a care home.  He feared for his daughters.  He thanked me for that sermon.  And I have never quite forgotten, the look in his eyes.

    Black lives matter.  Of course all lives matter, but whether I like it or not, as a white, educated Western European, I can only see and speak from a place of privilege.

    I still generally don't do 'politics from the pulpit', at least not if by that we mean justifying a voting preference on notionally theological grounds.  But I do try to preach the truth, that all are made in the image and likeness of God, and are of equal worth.  I guess that's political too.