flagging faith


Spirit of Openness

A decade and more working, worshipping and praying with Methodists and Wesleyans from all over the world has taught me many things. One of the most important lessons is that the Methodist world is incredibly diverse, embracing most of the nations and cultures of the world. We don’t mandate one form of church government or set a universal set of rules. Instead our connections with one another are based on a common desire to continue the work of the Wesleys and spread Scriptural holiness throughout every land. Heart speaks to heart. We also share some core values in our church-life and discipleship, and these include mutuality, accountability and honesty. But we don’t always practice what we p

Dreams of a new normal?

The current crisis of Covid-19 and the closure of church premises has created a huge flurry of activity, particularly on the part of clergy. For the last three months, we have had to improvise in terms of worship and fellowship and many have encountered the joys of social media for the first time. A great deal of effort has gone into maintaining contact and a semblance of church life, including and especially Sunday morning worship. Now that we are heading towards the easing of some restrictions with the possibility of opening of some church premises, there are major questions about what it is that we have learnt from this experience and how church life will be different when we return. It

Conference Call

As #MethodistConference2020 approaches, my take on better conferring.

A Life

A reflection on my father's life and legacy.

Another Statistic

The daily briefing from Downing Street today will include the number of people who have died in the past 24 hours due to Covid19. One of those will be my father. He was been in hospital for a number of days, gradually slipping away. My relationship to my father is and was complicated to say the least. Maybe it's an Irish thing, but when I need to deal with difficult emotions, I tend to look to poets to help me find a language. So I simply want to share two poems that will be my companions for the next little while. Both are by John Hewitt, an Irish poet who always rewards the reader: A FATHER'S DEATH It was no vast dynastic fate when gasp by gasp my father died, no mourners at the palace gat


A day to reflect on 44 years ago in the light of now.

Eucharistic Deprivation - a personal reflection

None of us predicted we would be where we are by the middle of June. Our premises are still closed and most of us have acquired some new skills in social media. Back when the lockdown started, there was an intense online discussion (mainly among clergy, to be fair) about the provision of Holy Communion in an era of social distancing. A few denominations quickly approved online celebrations and some Methodist Churches in other parts of the world were quick to follow. Now that Church Councils are beginning conversations about the possibility of reopening premises, some have already taken the decision to remain closed until September at the earliest. That will mean over five months without pub

Professor Rosemary Hollis - a tribute

I first encountered Rosemary when she was appointed the Director of the Olive Tree Scholarship Programme at City, University of London in 2008. Over the next five years I grew to know her quirky ways as we worked together with other City colleagues, funders and the young Israelis and Palestinians who were the heart of the Programme. It was through that lens that I occasionally caught a glimpse of what made Rosemary tick and the experiences and influences that shaped her thinking. I cannot say that she was an easy person to work with, often irascible with a sharp tongue, but her passion, curiosity and sense of fun were contagious. Most who encountered her in her professional life met with a f

This week's TRU

This week has been filled with pictures from Minneapolis and other US cities, after the violent and unnecessary death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers. Like most of us, I have been struggling with feelings of deep sadness and intense anger at the enduring power of racism embedded in our communities. I have tried to listen to the voices of anger, grief and compassion that are emerging, as difficult as some are to hear. One voice that I have appreciated is that of Dr Fayneese Miller, President of the Methodist-related Hamline University. Hamline is situated in the Minneapolis/St Paul’s area and Dr Miller is an African-American leader whose parents both served sacrificially in th

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