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Not about staying, but moving together

Church Times, 6th January, 2017

Lambeth Conferences – the ten yearly gatherings of bishops from across the Anglican Communion – are places of fellowship and controversy.  The last Lambeth Conference, in 2008, was no exception.  One of the controversial issues with which bishops struggled was whether a person in a same-sex relationship could be ordained bishop. Bishops were deeply divided on the issue which continues to threaten the fabric of the Anglican Communion.

Can the Communion stay together?

            Church Times, 1 April, 2016

Will the Anglican Communion survive?  How will the views and actions emanating from a part of the Communion, regarded as heretical by others, impact the life of the Communion as a whole?  These were questions hovering over the Primates’ Meeting in January as they met and struggled with radically different views about human sexuality : these are pressing questions around the agenda of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting in Lusaka in April.  They were also the questions which prompted the calling of the first Lambeth Conference in 1867.

 

Forgiveness, Victimhood and Reconciliation

                               Church Times, 8 May, 2015

IN A COURT in Lueneburg (Northern Germany) last month, 81 year old Eva Kor gave a chilling account of the horror she, and her twin sister Miriam, experienced in Auschwitz, where they were used as objects for experiments by Dr Josef Mengele. Mrs. Kor's evidence and actions have raised challenging questions around the areas of forgiveness, victimhood and reconciliation which do not easily fit with conventional thinking.

Mrs.Kor lost 119 members of her family in the Holocaust, and was giving evidence against 94 year old former SS officer

Challenging Poverty

Link (Diocesan Newspaper) December 2014

Jesus showed a special concern for the poor and outcast which is why, as his followers, we are called to do the same. While many have poverty thrust upon them,  there are some who, wishing to identify with the poor, choose poverty and a life of simplicity.  Poverty can be an oppressive burden or a spiritual discipline.  The poor are particularly close to the heart of God and are blessed by God.

Over the last year, there has been an increased awareness of the plight of the poor and 2015 will be a particularly significant year for poverty.

Sing Freedom

Link (Diocesan Newspaper) September 2014

Political uncertainty in Ukraine over recent months, intensified by the shooting-down of Malaysian Airline flight MH17, and the recent abduction of an Estonian security official by Russia, have brought anxiety to many in Estonia, where the Diocese of Rochester is linked with the Evangelical Lutheran Church.  Such anxiety is not surprising because it was only twenty years ago that Estonians finally shook off the last shackles of half a century’s domination by Russia.  And Russia is a direct neighbour of Estonia.

 

It was in this atmosphere that on

Are we celebrating enough? Probably not.

Editorial for Link - June 2014

Dancing in the Streets, a book written by journalist and historian Barbara Ehrenreich, tells the story of joy and celebration. The book focuses on Britain and the western world, but takes the reader back to the ancient roots of ecstasy and ranges widely by drawing insights from a variety of cultures. 

In early and medieval times, people’s natural exuberance finds shape and expression through the festivals of the church.  Certainly, dancing in churches was allowed and enjoyed in the late Middle Ages.

Rochester Clergy Visit Zimbabwe

Church Times 24th January, 2014

 

In the beautiful setting of Peterhouse School in Marondera, 40 miles east of Harare, 120 clergy from the dioceses of Harare and Manicaland came together last week for their annual silent retreat.  This is the first time in a number of years that they have gathered in Peterhouse without fear of interruption by former Bishop of Harare Nolbert Kunonga: when they last met here in 2012, they were forced to leave by the state police.  But times have changed.

Boundaries not Barriers

Lecture to Clergy Research Seminar 8th October, 2013

Introduction

The title of my address is ‘Boundaries not Barriers’ and I want to explore this in relation to research.  I will be concentrating on city walls from which I wish to draw two images.  One is going outside the city walls and the second is what happens to the walls when the gates are closed and what happens when they are open.  I will then briefly draw out some implications for boundaries and barriers in relation to research.  I develop this whole area of boundaries in barriers in a book published in 2004, Unofficial God?

The ‘Art’ of Dying

Editorial for Link (Rochester Diocesan Newspaper)

June 2013

As I write, there is a heated debate around the burial of Tamerlan Tsamaev, one of the men suspected of planting the bombs at the Boston Marathon in April.  Some do not want him buried on American soil, others want him taken back to Russia.  Feelings are running so high that the body is under police protection at the funeral directors.  In the middle of this furore, the Boston chief of police has said, ‘We are not barbarians.  We bury the dead.’

Death, dying and the rites around the disposal of the dead speak deeply into the heart

Pubs, Churches and Community

Expanded version of a talk given to the Friends of Kent Churches

11th May, 2013.

 

First of all, on behalf of the diocese of Rochester, I would like to thank the Friends of Kent Churches for your generosity towards the churches in Kent, which, of course, includes the boroughs of Bromley and Bexley. Your generosity enables Christians to engage in mission within their communities.  It is on the relationship between church and community that I would like to focus.

This morning I was in a pub speaking about the Church: this afternoon, I am in a church wanting to speak about the pub.

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Reconciliation

Reconciliation, St. Francis and Creation

Looking around us today the world appears to be in turmoil.  There continue to be struggles with hunger in various parts of Africa, some caused by politics and some by drought.