Three Strikes, &…

So, the British Airways strike. In my current sphere of work, close to Gatwick airport, I know quite a few folks working in the various aspects of the airline industry.

BA strike

BA strike

The ongoing BA strike is a major issue around here, with people’s jobs and livelihoods at stake, and both the company’s and the Unite union’s reputations potentially in tatters.

It dawned on me that strikes in a major national industry had significantly coloured 3 of my last 4 jobs. I was appointed to Woodlands, Doncaster in the South Yorkshire coalfields, soon after the end of the 1980s miners strike.

Brodsworth Colliery

Brodsworth Colliery

Woodlands was the model village built to house the miners from the nearby Brodsworth Colliery. Photos from the time show the distinctive spire of All Saints church in the background of images of the pit. The strike was over by the time I arrived, and the miners were back to work – but the tensions that had ripped families apart between strikers and ‘scabs‘ were still Continue reading ‘Three Strikes, &…’

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Lesslie Newbigin – Bishop of Hope

2009 is the Centenary of Lesslie Newbigin‘s birth. Churches Together in Britain & Ireland decided to celebrate this with a Conference held at Queen’s College, Birmingham.

CTBI Newbigin Centenary Conference logo

CTBI Newbigin Centenary Conference logo

This post is….

  • part brief background on Newbigin;
  • part a quick glance at some of his theology;
  • part a ‘back of an envelope’ report on the conference;
  • and part a personal reflection on ‘Uncle Lesslie’
  • with a comment on the source of the CTBI banner photo above.
  • and… it should possibly be a ‘page’ rather than a ‘post’ – we’ll see.

    Background

    Lesslie Newbigin was a Presbyterian minister and missionary who – considering that background, and not really approving of church hierarchies – rather surprisingly became a Bishop of the united Church of South India at it’s formation in 1947. In fact not once, but twice – first in the Madurai-Ramnad diocese, then later as bishop of Madras, as Chennai was then known. In between, he was in Geneva with the World Council of Churches. On ‘retiring’ from Madras in 1974, Lesslie & Helen Newbigin made their way back to Britain overland using local buses, carrying just a couple of suitcases and a rucksack – I love that; sort of reverse hippy, on so many levels!

    Lesslie & Helen Newbigin, Cecil & Eleanor Cutting, Wilfred & Mary Hulbert 1937

    Lesslie & Helen Newbigin, Cecil & Eleanor Cutting, Wilfred & Mary Hulbert in India, 1937

    This photograph shows The Troika, or the Three Graces, as the three ‘girls’ were sometimes Continue reading ‘Lesslie Newbigin – Bishop of Hope’

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    Leaps of Christ

    Jumping in the sunset

    The Leaps of Christ - credit thriol

    The ‘Leaps of Christ’ was part of the theme taken by Bishop John Hind at the Chichester Diocesan Synod recently. I had heard of this Old English poem, but on being re-introduced to it, it led me to explore some of the wonderful Advent and Christmas within it.

    The section on the Leaps of Christ comes within the part known as Christ II, or sometimes Christ B, within the Exeter Book. The first book deals primarily with Advent, book two with the Ascension, and the third Continue reading ‘Leaps of Christ’

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    80-F

    ‘After The Fire’, aka ATF or 80-F, were THE megastars of the 70s/80s British Christian music scene. Though I’m not sure they liked the idea of being called that – though not afraid of their Christian influence, they wanted to be known as musicians, not just Christian musicians.

    ATF - credit Richard Dickens

    ATF - credit Richard Dickens

    I took a couple of photos at the Burgess Hill gig – but they weren’t nearly as good as Richard Dickens‘ ones.

    I did bootleg a couple of tracks, which aren’t of any quality to threaten ATF sales, but might give a wee flavour of the live sound. You can get proper quality ATF music either from their store (and it’s almost Christmas…) or off the iTunes store.

    Continue reading ’80-F’

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    Priests’ Blessing

    Our local clergy chapter were meeting this week, and I was ‘hosting’. Usually, part of hosting involves preparing some prayers and worship. As we were also ‘RememberingSt Martin of Tours, I had a few things up my sleeve, including a fine shell remembering the pilgrims that stopped at St Martin’s shrine in Tours on the Way of St James.

    New Zealand Paua - credit ReedWade

    New Zealand Paua - credit ReedWade

    Actually the shell was in my pocket, rather than up my sleeve; and paua were not really the sorts of shells that pilgrims on the way to Compostela normally wore (they were usually scallops… But these paua are exquisite. We have brought back dozens from NZ over the years.

    Back to prayers and blessings. I have dabbled a bit in Celtic Spirituality over the years, and recently acquired a copy of a couple of John O’Donohue’s books. Continue reading ‘Priests’ Blessing’

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    The Arundel Tomb

    Chichester Cathedral is the ‘mother church’ of the diocese, and as a Sussex priest, I find myself there from time to time. I love wandering through the cathedral when I get a chance. It has so many superb features about it; but one of my favourites is ‘The Arundel Tomb’.

    The Arundel Tomb - credit Tom Oates

    The Arundel Tomb - credit Tom Oates

    It is a fourteenth century table tomb on which lie the effigies of Richard Fitzalan Earl of Arundel, and his second wife Eleanor. One of the most charming features is the way that they are both holding hands, Richard’s hand having been removed from the gauntlet still held in his left hand.

    Arundel Tomb hands - credit bmeabroad

    Arundel Tomb hands - credit bmeabroad

    Continue reading ‘The Arundel Tomb’

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    Rome says “Welcome…”

    Cross-posted from my entry on the General Synod blog on The Vatican offer of special Anglican ordinariates – what in Anglican terms may be called something similar to a Third Province, or the Church of Aotearoa/New Zealand’s ‘tikangas‘.

    The General Synod blog

    The General Synod blog

    Well, there was a surprise! Yesterday’s unexpected hurriedly put together press conference in London, responding to the Vatican’s scheme for special Anglican ordinariates appears to have put cats amongst pigeons.

    I am seriously struggling to understand what all this is about, where it is going, and I await the ‘details’ with interest.

    It feels a little like we are being told: ‘You know where the door is to come in, but here is a window you can climb in through, too’. Except I’m not one that feels I am standing outside, needing to come in. Continue reading ‘Rome says “Welcome…”’

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    Peace, in our time?

    The initial flurry of comments, as the 44th US President, Barack Obama, is nominated for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, seem to be mainly an incredulous “really? so soon?” Well that’s pretty good after 9 months in office.

    However, I want to approach this less cynically than some. It maybe that ‘premature’ is one word that may be applied to the news; but ‘hopeful’ is perhaps a more appropriate one.

    Not hope as in “I hope it won’t rain tomorrow”; but hope of something substantial, more eternal. This week, for the first time for a long time, Northern Ireland paramilitaries appeared with guns at a funeral. My children had not seen anything like it in living memory, though the Good Friday Agreement does not seem that long ago to me. How quickly we have become used to peace in Northern Ireland. Can we dare hope of that that sort of peace elsewhere amongst the world’s troubled spots too?

    The Bible speaks of Hope as something of certainty, that we can depend upon. Perhaps the Nobel nomination committee have that sense of hope for the future of world peace, and Obama’s potential in furthering it. I hope so.

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    Amazing Persistence, Liberating Grace

    Watching the William Wilberforce/John Newton film Amazing Grace at a home group around the day the church remembers William Wilberforce (30 July) encouraged New Zealand vicar Michael Berry to use some of the themes in the Sunday sermon at church at St Heliers, Auckland, on Sunday 2 August 2009.

    Hearing him prompted me to look back at some ‘John Newton’ photos I took a while back.

    Robin Meredith Jones, actor & friend, has for many years been doing a show base on John Newton, also (inevitably) called ‘Amazing Grace’. On the 200 anniversary of John Newton’s ‘promotion to glory’ on 21 December 1807, Robin and his wife Christine Way did a version of the show in the London City church of St Mary’s Woolnoth, where John Newton was vicar for 28 years.

    Robin Meredith Jones as John Newton, in his original pulpit

    Robin Meredith Jones as John Newton, in his original pulpit

    Most people know that Newton was involved in the slave trade – though not all are aware that Newton was himself a white slave briefly early on, after an altercation with a the captain of a slave ship he was crewing on.

    What is well documented is John Newton’s conversion to the Christian faith, and his penning of the famous hymn ‘Amazing Grace’.
    Continue reading ‘Amazing Persistence, Liberating Grace’

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    3 months down…

    Sorry to have missed out on the third tranch of OneAndOther ballot selections, even though I was glad not to have had to give up a place had I been selected for August. Preferrring to be in NZ!

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