Free bed and breakfast at Touchstone?
No, silly, a free barbecue!
The postman loved it!
And so did our neighhbours
..... from Latvia, India, Pakistan and Malaysia, although I seem only to have photographed the Touchstone volunteers!)
And we trained a deacon in barbecue skills
(that is BBQ not B & B!!)
Can we make peace back home? What does it look like?
Ashgrove is parallel to Merton Road and in conjunction with the council and ecumenical colleagues, it was shut for 'The Big Lunch'. Bunting was made and adorned the street, each house was leafleted, the weather held dry ..... and food and games appeared, from face painting to a giant Connect 4! We carried the little loom round and lots of people had fun weaving with cloth ...... yes, peace is possible, one little peace after another ...
We leave Jamaica intent on making a different sort of peace in the world we inhabit - thank you God
The theme of our closing worship was John 21: 3-13 read in four languages in which we heard of the great catch of fish when the disciples threw the net on the other side of the boat. Right on message, we went out to a fish restaurant in a simple restaurant with a banana leaf roof. Choosing between a parrot fish and a butter fish was the challenge of the night, as was eating lobster with a plastic fork!
Thought: We go to the lake shore, carrying our nets, bringing along the fruits you help us gather. These fruits are not just for ourselves - they are meant to be shared. We commit ourselves to walk in the margins of life, seeking in the encounter with the other, a way to live the gospel of peace and justice.
These are the feet of Ruth's bible study group. From the US to Tuvalo, Sri Lanka to Germany, the Philippines to Eygpt we met each morning to explore, ponder and tease out the way of peace for each of us in our different situations. Some morning's bible texts were easier than others - try these and see what you think! 2 Samuel 13: 1-22, Isaiah 11: 6-9, Matthew 20: 1-16, Ephesians 2: 11-22 and 2 Kings 6:8-23.
Thought: Peace is there but you've got to work on it!
The weaving is now in the big tent and people are coming to put their stories in the net .... it is very moving to see how they are engaging with the process and we have promised to take the result to the Methodist Conference UK.
Thought: weaving stories enables peaceful communities
We escaped the University campus for the afternoon and crammed into a taxi driven by Elroi (far right) with someone from Norway, and someone from Brazil. Elroi is a musician hoping to make the big time and was also a mine of information on Jamaican politics ... CIA involvement, insurgencies, political 'enforcers' and the influence of the 'Doms'
Our destination - Bob Marley House - where we saw the many awards, discs, newspaper cuttings and simple effects of the great musician. Beside his bed, a pair of slippers and a well thumbed Bible. In his garden, medicinal herbs and pot .... and also his son (centre) a friend of Elroi's
So we got to see the simple house of one of Jamaican's great heroes, born to an absent British father and a Jamaican mother, raised in Trench town amongst abject poverty, receiving no schooling yet full of musical ability .... in some ways troubling but with a message of hope for Jamaica that went beyond the black Jesus - and is, in Elroi's opinion, and ours too, still a profound inspiration to change the world.
Thought: music can take words where they need to go.
Our responsibility to the environment has been a theme of the conference, and that's not just turning off the taps when we brush our teeth. The island of Tuvulu in the South Pacific, is only 4 feet above sea level and about to disappear at any minute and that's the responsibility of all of us. It is of course, linked to the unjust economics between richer and poorer nations, we all know this, but what we do about it?
Less money on war, would mean more money for environmental peace and the ability to pay some of our environmental debt to poorer nations like Tuvulu. That is why Ruth is getting painted - this banner is going to the United Nations - but we also need to think hard when we get home about the implications for Touchstone and where we put our energy.
Thought: peace can only come if we live simply
Your mum is brilliant - you should tell her this every day!
(Please also tell her to keep her eyes open!!!)
See this hat?
It dissolves in the rain!
What do we do when it rains?
Put it under a bishop!!
Thought: Daniel's hat was for remembering, ours for protection. How do we protect the protectors?