Wednesday, 15 November 2017

New Parish Conference 2017 - a new poem and an adapted prayer

Disrupted - A Poem From the New Parish Conference 2017

We
The gathered
And the dispersed
Are called into
The habit of community, called
To witness to unity and unexpected beauty
To walk through our streets
As neighbourhood pilgrims
Facing chaos-crafted encounters
With listening ears, open hands
And humility

We
The gathered
And the dispersed
Are called into
Loving mutuality, called
To dwell deeply
With our neighbours
Becoming friends
Becoming family.
Living well with integrity
Taking the slow path
Holding hands -
Travelling light with former strangers
Disrupting cynicism with hope
Ever deepening, ever lovingly

We
The gathered and
The dispersed
Are called into
Weaving peace into
A noisy world,
To live alongside
The displaced, in the midst of empire
To build homes of hospitality
With deep down roots
To be open to interruption
Looking for disruption - holy intersections
As kingdom collaborators

We
The gathered
And the dispersed
Are called into
Being present
Watching football with
Our neighbours or
Chatting while putting the bins out, or
Finding our voice at a shared table
With each other, sewing seeds of resurrection
Amidst the noise.

We
The gathered
And the dispersed -
We are called.




A Prayer of Preparation (A Sending Out) - A Prayer From the New Parish Conference 2017

Lord, Creator
            Speaker of love
            Bringer of peace
            Sustainer of all things

We come before you,
Bearing our scars
Nursing old wounds
Waylaid by past failures

Forgive us,
            For the time we have wasted
            For all our foolish outbursts and lack of discipline
            For all our well-intentioned programs that give no space for the voices of our neighbours

Speak to us afresh,
            Call us from the shallows to the deep waters of the neighbourhood
Lead us by your Holy Spirit
Place your Word as a seal on our hearts

Hold and sustain us
When we falter and fall back into old damaging patterns
            When we slip into busyness
            When temptation whispers its seductions to us... “excellence”... “success”...

Transform us by the power of your Holy Spirit
            Strengthen our resolve to seek you
            Open our hearts to your mysteries
            Open our eyes to see as you see

Call us onwards
            Into our streets
Into community
            Into service

Attune us to your ways
That we might
            Live simply
            Learn obediently
            Worship extravagantly

All this we pray, in the name of
The Father
The Son
And the Holy Spirit
Amen.






Prayer adapted from ‘A Prayer of Preparation’, in Tim Watson, Journey to the Inward Wild (Proost, London: 2016)


Thursday, 8 June 2017

Today We Participate

Here's a poem. A bit cheesy, but it says what I'm feeling.



Today we participate
We can’t hesitate
Instead we engage
For the poor, the hurting, the forlorn
Today we stand and have our voices heard
Not ignored
With every word spoken
And every cross mark made
We proclaim a new way
A step made
Towards a better tomorrow
We won’t be silenced by violence
And we won’t be dismayed
In the places where it feels like we have no say
No way
We proclaim
What we believe
Words and ideas
Written in our veins
Grafted to the skins we are in
We will engage
There is no other way
No other choice to be made
We’ve no voice if we don’t participate
So we hope for the future
Being made known in the now
The future that forces the questions
“How? Why? What?”
“How did things go this wrong?”
“Why have we lost the plot?”
And
“What can we do, what alternative
Can alternate the narrative and
Disrupt it into something good?”
Today we participate
On behalf of those we love
And those it’s easier to hate
We engage
Not for popularity or praise
But to raise
A voice
A voice that raises questions
Questions that break down walls
And answers that build up bridges
Questions that seek solutions
And hard to handle truths
There’s a cost to me and you
Today we ask questions
That challenge insular understandings
Of “us and “you”
Today we participate for the many

Not the few.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Manchester Vigil Words

I was asked to lead a vigil for Manchester on Friday 26th of May. The vigil was to have opening words and a short prayer before a time of vigil.

Here is what I said:




Words of Welcome

This evening we gather
To stand in solidarity with the people of Manchester
In the wake of the bomb that exploded
In the foyer of the Manchester Evening News Arena
On the night of Monday the 22nd of May
Following an Ariana Grande concert.
The bomb has cost the lives of 22 people
It caused physical injuries to 116 people
It has caused unimaginable emotional distress to thousands of people
And it has touched the lives of millions around the world

This evening we gather
To mourn for those who have died
To grieve with those who grieve
To remember those whose lives have been torn apart
To give thanks for the emergency services and medical teams
To acknowledge our gratitude for the thousands of good deeds that sprung up in Manchester, like wild flowers in the face of tragedy:
For taxi drivers offering free lifts,
For local residents hosting strangers
For passersby caring for the injured and bereaved
For a city drawn together as one

This evening we gather
To stand with the people of Manchester
As a witness to the truth that love conquers hatred
And hope overcomes fear
We stand in solidarity with and for the people of Manchester
To affirm that the Light shines in the darkness
And the darkness cannot overcome it


Opening Prayer

As our vigil begins, let us pray:

Merciful God,
Architect of righteousness and peace
Draw near to all whose lives have been affected by the Manchester bombing
Grant eternal rest and peace to those who have lost their lives
Look with mercy on those who grieve and give strength to those who mourn,
That they might be empowered to face each new day in the wake of such horror
Strengthen those who are injured and pour out your healing, your rest and your peace upon them.
Merciful God, draw near to the people of Manchester and instill in them a resolve to stand firm in the face of hatred.
We pray all this, in the name of Jesus.
Amen.


The vigil is observed, wreathes, candles, flowers are laid, silence is kept

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Street Art

Stoke Road in Gosport. Beautiful piece.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Waiting for Tenebrae

Waiting for Tenebrae

The Easter garden is garish and warm
                With the scent of 30 burning church candles
And it is all the better for it

Countless potted plants
Touch the shadows
With rich hues
Pale pinks
And red
                White
                And butter yellow blooms
In a forest of green stems

This side chapel steeped
                In dancing candle flicker
                Caresses the darkness
                Shadows convulsing in response

This brick formed chapel
Sings of light and
                Life in the midst
                Of dark

As candles run down
We wait
In a sea of
Claustrophobic blackness
A darkness that will deepen
As in time
All but one candle
Is extinguished

And then
Even that solitary candle
Will
In its time

Be overcome by the darkness

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

When Darkness Reigns

Here is a bit of a work in progress for Maundy Thursday, derived from Luke 22:53, it hasn't been possible to complete it in time for Maundy Thursday, but I'll be spending the odd moment on it in the days to come. 








Friday, 17 March 2017

A People

A People

We are a people
Called to live as a people
People loved
People hoping
People cherishing
People supporting
People seeking treasure
And finding it in each neighbour’s voice

With every passing day the neighbourhood grows
Richer in colour
More vibrant
Verdant hues
Sights
Smells
Tastes

Sharp contrasts aren’t smoothed
Out to grey
Instead they are held
Cherished
Embraced

Fingerprints of who we are
Mark shared walls and railings

In our difference
We are truly found
Brought alive
Enriched

The neighbourhood sings
New songs
Songs rising up
From long-silenced hearts

The neighbourhood is alive
And we its people are united
In imagination
In longing
Held by mutuality
Connected by our breath

Breath that is not ours
But gifted
Gifted by the Three in One
Who pitches a tent
Enfolding all in love

We are
This people
A people
All people
Gathering together

Holding on to truths we
See played out each day

Envisaging a new reality taking root

Dreaming with the neighbourhood

For the flourishing of all