Friday, 16 July 2010

Imams and Clergy

Archbishop Rowan is so good at interfaith dialogue:

"You can only understand each other when you see the other's face turned towards God. Then and only then, can you turn to each other with expectation, patience and charity."

Portrait of Archbishop Rowan Williams by Victoria Russell

I was attending an 'Imams and Clergy' meeting where you come as a matching pair. It was run by the Chritstian-Muslim Forum - "creating spaces for Christians and Muslims to meet, learn about and understand each other"

It was hosted by the Archbishop at Lambeth Palace. With key addresses from ++ Rowan Williams, Imam Sheik Raza of Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB), Mark Fisher of Churches Together England CTE and a flying visit from the Government Minister Andrew Stunnel, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (responsible for race equality, community cohesion (including the future of PREVENT), building regulations, housing and regeneration, and the implementation of the Big Society)

He emphasised the continued emphasis on social cohesion, an interfaith week in November and a Faiths in Action scheme (with grants available for £6000) currently there are 113 projects running around the country.

The over 50 participants all contrinuted in smaller groups to a discussion about how to use a statement being issued by the C-M Forum in support of local encounter covering areas like : live up to the best ; speaking generously of the other faith ; developing friendships meet each other ; work together locally (the full text will be available later and I will publish it on this blog)

The Christian Muslim Forum have also written a helpful booklet 'Local Christian-Muslim Friendship: building relationships between mosques and churches' - available as a pdf download here

Monday, 12 July 2010

a lovely pub walk along the River Wey

Our latest sacred:space involved a short walk along the River Wey.
It was a beautiful evening with wonderful light.
We started and finished at the Olive Tree, Sutton Green.
Just 12 of us, a dozen pilgrims on a beautiful summer's evening.
Lots of narrow boat activity on the water.
And lots of talking as we were walking.
We finished back at the pub for liquid refeshments and more good banter.
Nothing profound just simple. Or maybe simply profound .....

Friday, 9 July 2010

On Call

I was asked for a review of a book for its Korean publication

On Call on CMS

The Society for Missions to Africa and the East, now known as Church Mission Society (CMS) was founded in 1799, well over 2 centuries old. Many thousands have gone out from the west, following the CALL to ‘preach Good News’ and to take the Gospel into all the world.

This has resulted in enormous changes in society with the establishment of health and social services, educational institutions, agricultural work, community development and well as the founding of many churches.

My own mission journey over the last 25 years, took us as a family to Pakistan to work with drug addicts and subsequently as a CMS Regional Director to work in Europe, Middle East, Central and South Asia and more recently journeys into East Asia.

I have seen that Mission is indeed changing as we respond to the mission of God - ‘missio Dei’ – and do what we see the Father doing. The call to mission is as relevant as it ever was. This year 2010, conferences in Japan and South Africa have been echoing the call of Edinburgh 1910. But there has been a major change in mission since then - a southern shift – with the Global South taking a lead and seeing new waves of people released for God’s mission in the world.

CMS is continuing to be ‘on call’ as an organisation in Britain and Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and South America. The CMS office in Korea, based in Seoul, represents a part of a shift in CMS as it moves its work from being based in Europe to becoming autonomous organisations in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

This book which was written in one context - the Global North – drawing on the vast experience of mission over two centuries. It will find echoes in other wider and emerging mission contexts in the Global South. It has now been translated into Korean – the second largest formal missionary sending country in the world and its impact could be greater than the English version. It will help many to explore their own sense of call in more depth.

This Korean edition is an exciting new development. It will be particularly useful for individuals exploring their own call as well as pastors and churches wanting to send and support their people in mission. We are more and more discovering that the church is indeed ‘Mission-shaped’. This means that individual Christians are also ‘mission-shaped’ and being ‘on Call’ includes mission on our doorstep with our own neighbours as well as, for some, working internationally.

This book is a resource for all in the same way as the gospel is a call to all.

See full size image

The book is available at Cross Rythms and at CMS (THE CMS ONE IS CHEAPER!)

A Church Times review at the time of publication in 2001

web (downloadable) version of Stuart Buchanan's useful book on Christian vocation for mission. available here

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Drawing near to God - sacred:space

During our latest sacred:space Mel (Art by Mel )) spoke of her own journey from theatre scenery painting and costume design to her current art work and it was a journey that like most of us involved a period of darkness. and discovering images that spoke to her

A picture inspired by Adam and Eve and the idea of being a suitable partner (Hebrew 'Khegedu') which has the sense of 'standing boldly opposite'

The power of visual images as testified by CS Lewis:

‘images that grow within the soul have life – like cancer and often cut live on below’

verses that had particular resonance: Being transformed by the renewing of the mind (Rom 12:1-2) - faith being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Heb 11:1)

The image of the archer who has just missed the mark but whick spoke of grace


we were given space to create - using 3 exercises starting with an IMAGE a SCRIPTURE or a QUESTION.

So after around 3/4 hour 'drawing near to God' all 12 participants shared what had spoken to them - through the pictures and drawings

I tried to draw a picture of a verse that had spoken to me in 3 John v 7

“for the sake of the Name they went forth, taking nothing….."

The imgae it brought to mind was a coracle tossed by the winds and the waves, allowing the elements to direct them believing that God was in the storm and the uncertainty. I still need to finish off my picture (do pictures ever get 'finished'?) but in the meantime here is one I found on the internet - which is cheating I know.......

Friday, 2 July 2010