Friday, 12 August 2016

Villain to Hero

This week we completed a further stage of the Thames Path which included a brief visit to Tate Britain and a wander round the Victoria Gardens beside Parliament.  It was on this last stretch that we came across the statue to Emmeline Pankhurst located just under the Victoria Tower.

Isn’t it odd how so called villains can become national heroes – even in their own lifetime? 

Mrs Pankhurst’s achievements have just been immortalised in the excellent film Suffragette
a movie with a punch if ever there was one.

This formidable and visionary woman died in 1928 and the statue to her honour was unveiled by Stanley Baldwin in 1930.  The New York Times made this observation: While the transition from martyrdom to sculptured memorials is familiar, the process in Mrs Pankhurst's case has been unusually brief.


It’s happened to others of course – perhaps most notably to Nelson Mandela, transformed from reviled terrorist to revered President of a Rainbow Nation.

The truth is we can so easily get it wrong – linger with the status quo – and it takes a maverick and someone who thinks outside the box to show us that a different way is possible, even right.

Jesus was undoubtedly such a figure.  Loathed by those who longed for stability and political calm, he taught a way of compassion with a radical and cutting edge.  This is the Jesus who disturbs – he did that two thousand years ago and I think he does it still today!

With best wishes,

Ian
ps Blog holiday until September!

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Many hands...

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve had three ‘House Keeping Days’ at Amersham Free Church – the picture of the skip is just a reminder to us of how much ‘stuff’ we threw away on Monday! 

I was told around thirty people took part in the polishing, gardening, carpet cleaning and furniture moving!  And I think that is terrific!

The way the congregation at AFC has responded to this ‘call’ to get stuck in to some practical, down to earth work speaks volumes about the sense of commitment and identity people feel.

For many of us ‘church’ is our second home – we not only love being together with fellow pilgrims, the building too provides us with a sense of security – it is a welcoming space which seems to embrace us as we walk through the doors.  So keeping it looking good and functioning well – especially if we want visitors and user groups to also feel at home and welcome  - is very important.

I couldn’t help but feel on Monday that there was a great sense of ‘teamwork’ as we spent the morning together – a good spirit united that band of workers.  Fellowship is, I think, enhanced by working together at a project.

So, if you picked up a duster, wielded a carpet cleaner, banged nails in with a hammer, changed light bulbs twenty feet up in the sanctuary – if you helped out in any way – thank you!  And no doubt we’ll do it all over again sometime soon!

All good wishes,

Ian

Speaking of Sin

Tomorrow I’m attending a Ministers’ Book Discussion Group in Luton. We meet up three or four times a year over a packed lunch to discuss a...