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Curate's Egg

Well, that's the British Methodist Conference done for another year! Despite the thinness of the Agenda - there was more meat in the Queen's Speech - we still managed to keep going until Thursday lunchtime. Like the proverbial curate's egg, it was good in parts .... The election of Bala Gnanapragasam and Michaela Youngson to the leadership of our Church during the final stages of Brexit was prophetic. That we should be led by a person who came to this country, facing down prejudice and racism, to raise a family, forge a successful career and give so freely in public service is a parable to this nation. The progress -albeit painfully slow - in dealing with historic abuse is something to be no

Parting of the ways

Brexit negotiations are finally underway and over the coming weeks and months, we will learn what exactly the parting of the ways between the UK and the EU will mean for all of us. In church contexts, rumours abound about the possibility/probablilty of splits and schisms, especially over the issue of same-sex relationships. Both have forced me to ask one question: what if you find yourself on the wrong side of the line? Let me explain. Come 2019 or '20, I will find myself, against my own wishes, as an EU citizen living outside the EU. At the moment, there are no concrete guarantees that I will have the same rights and protections that safeguard other EU citizens on the other side of the line

A question of leadership?

Why is it all going wrong for Theresa May? I'm sure this is a question being asked within Downing Street but, even if you are an opponent, it is worth considering how someone seems to have fallen from grace so quickly and publicly. What is it the song says: 'Riding high in April, Shot down in May .... That's life!' Tory party election plans sung by Frank Sinatra. What kind of leadership is being called for? The election, Brexit, the terror attacks and now Grenfell Tower have all led to demands for leadership, with the Conservatives in particular making it a focus of their election campaign. I wonder though, whether there is a way to cut through the rhetoric to look for the characteristics of

Therefore go ...

Therefore go and disciple all nations … It seems hard to believe that this will be the last time I preach in this chapel as a member of staff. It is therefore serendipitous that the text for the week is the Great Commission. I have just returned from visiting my 40th country which sounds a lot until you realise it isn’t even a quarter of the total number of countries and territorities in the world. So I am still some way from going to ‘all nations’ or, in Methodist terms, to counting ‘the whole world as my parish’ … But I’m working on it! Without doubt, these few verses of the Great Commission have energised countless generations of Christians to leave the relative comfort of their own lives

A triumph of democracy?

So it's my turn to have a go at making sense of what has happened in the UK over the last few days. It was quite something to return from holiday to, arriving on Thursday morning and heading to the polling station optimistic of a closer result than predicted, but stilling remembering the disappointments of 1992 and 2015. A combination of jetlag and bewilderment kept me awake throughout the early hours of Friday morning and I went to bed in a state of pleasant confusion. Firstly, I think the fact that the two main parties each got over 40% of vote is now an anomaly and does not signify the return of two-party politics. The result does show up the FPTP system we current have as only 'fair' whe

A world without walls?

In the aftermath of the horrendous attack in London at the weekend, is it even possible to talk anymore about a world without walls? In the light of such brutality, shouldn't we be talking about more, and stronger, defences against the kind of hate-filled violence that sees other human beings simply as targets to be mown down or stabbed? Of course, it is right that investigations are held to ensure that lessons can be learnt for the future. It is right that the full strength of intelligence agencies and the police service be directed towards finding all those who helped to plan and carry out this attack. And politicians who have had responsibility in the present and past for security must b

Selling or Offering? - IAMSCU blog#4

I failed in my attempt to blog every day from the Puebla conference simply because there was too much going on! A great sign that a Conference is successful is that you find the sessions stimulating and the coffee breaks full of exciting conversations. What a privilege to talk with colleagues from the Carribean and Latin America, Africa, South Asia and East Asia and Australia. There are still lots of things to process but my initial reflections are about the sorts of people attracted to these gatherings. It seems to me that they fall into two broad categories: those that come to sell something - a course, an idea, an institution - and those who come to offer something. The former are interes

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