Dr Sifat wrote a book about Euthanasia, collecting stories from many different faith traditions - but we couldn't read it because it was in Urdu. So Awais called together a group of people from all the faith traditions to talk deeply about the subject, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Baha'i and various manifestations of Christians.
WOW Awais, what an occasion! We talked about faith but also culture, poverty, a perspective from a consultant Asian geriatrician ... and so much more. We ate, we talked, we talked more ... and still people stood outside in the car park to continue the conversation. It feels VERY important at many different levels. Awesome!
The hottest day in the UK for 5 years. Steve has not only learned to wind warp but also to adjust the tension in his his back beam - not many Deacons learn that on placement! He has also been down to the Courts to see how the chaplains operate, and spent his lunch break chatting with the lads smoking a joint on the Touchstone wall .....
We are all moving slowly, even without the dope!
Over a hundred people made the journey to Bradford Cathedral for the pilgrim eucharist and launch of 'The Exuberant Church'
At the font
Song: By the Rivers of Babylon
God of the exiles, the excluded and the lost
You sit with us beside the rivers of sorrow
On the banks of despair
In the times of desolation
God of the ‘I am not’,
You have found us wondering who we are and
To whom we belong
You have taken us to the shores of survival
And to the places where our song has been overwhelmed
Remind us that on the very night that you were betrayed
You took bread, sufficient for the journey
And with a gathering of friends smaller than this
Your broke it and blessed it and shared it
We take this bread
Which has been made by people
Who find church difficult and faith perplexing
And we bring it with us on this journey
It is the bread of life, it is the bread of salvation
The bread of the wilderness and the bread of the homecoming
It is the bread of promise and the bread of transformation
Bless us God, walk with us, fall into step beside us
Be known to us in the breaking of the bread
At the stairs
Reading: The raising of Lazarus
God of the journey
We had hoped that you would not have died
We had hoped that you would have been here sooner
We had hoped that you would have made all things new
But you have caused us to wait and wonder
To dwell darkly in the places of unknowing
To wonder who we are and who we are becoming
God of the “I am not’
We bring to you all
That we long to be
Call us out into new life like Lazarus
Pour down your holy spirit on this bread and this wine
The bread of sorrow and the wine of sadness
The bread of breaking and the wine of pouring
The bread of sustaining and the wine of celebration
At the Lady Chapel
God who has poured love into creation
Poured joy into passion
Poured hope into desolation
Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and wine
Remind us that just as you took bread and blessed it and broke it
You also take us and break us and bless us
When after supper you took wine and poured it
So you take us and drench us with new hope
Show us how the waters of Babylon
Have become the baptism of Jordan
How we are named and known and set free
Holy, holy, holy God, heaven and earth are full of your glory
Pour out your holy spirit on these gifts of bread and wine
That they may become for us the body and blood of Christ
As they were then
As they are now
As they always will be
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God
World with no end
At the Chancel Steps
Brendan speaks to the book
At the Peace chapel
As we weave our stories into the story of God
God weaves his story into the story of humanity
This is incarnation, this is becoming, this is belonging
This is the world of God for the people of God
The bread we break is a sharing in the body of Christ
Though we are many we are one body, one community, one humanity
Because we all share in the one bread
Christ the ‘I am’ is broken
As we are broken
Christ the’ I am’ is raised
As we are raised
May God bless us with mirth and merriment
May God bless us with hope and humility
May God bless us with friendship and faithfulness
May God reside in our hearts and in our hopes
With joy and justice
We bless each other with peace and curry!
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.