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Bank Street Unitarian Chapel

Open Hearts Open Minds

Reflections

Minister’s Letter - November 2017

 "I call that church free that is a pilgrim church, a servant church, a church on an adventure of the spirit."

 James Luther Adams

 

 Dear Friends,

 In this calendar I've put a written version of the words I spoke to you at my first service as your minister, on the 7th September 2008. It's an interesting experience seeing those words again. I think I still stand by all I said! Those words still express what I believe about church and ministry. I still believe it is a great journey where we must turn to each other and to God.

The fact that many of you reading this weren't there on the 7th September 2008 points to what part of that journey has been about - our growth and the new people who have become part of our community in the last nine years. I calculate that we have welcomed 21 new adult members and 7 new children in that time, as well as a few more friends and attenders. Many have discovered our community and Unitarianism in that time, and we have also welcomed members from Halliwell Road Free Church into our community. 

We have also lost members in this time through death. A fact that we will recognise at the All Souls service on 5th November. I am reminded that this community is bigger than any one of us. We all come here for a little while (whether nine years or ninety years), stay for a time, and then move on. Such is life - constant beginnings and endings. Religious community is one of the ways we mark these things, and know we are part of something greater - a great universal rhythm in the heartbeat of God.

The adventure continues in this rhythm - for me and for you. It is an adventure that calls us to a greater purpose, serving the world, growing in joy and love, healing hurts and opening hearts.

The adventure continues.

In peace and love.

Stephen

 

 November's Theme: Peace and Non-Violence: Resources

Books (non-fiction):

Non-Violence: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Kurlansky. Book exploring pacifism and non-violence across centuries of history, highlighting such figures as Tolstoy, Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life by Thich Nhat Hanh. A book of spiritual practices to create peace within, with reflections on how this can change the world.

The Last Fighting Tommy: The Life of Harry Patch, The Only Surviving Veteran of the Trenches by Harry Patch with Richard van Emden. The biography of the oldest British survivor of World War One.

Books (for children):

The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss.

Films:

Ghandi (1982). Epic biographic film of Mohandas Gandhi's life.

Of Gods and Men (2010). The true story of French Trappist monks living during the civil war in Algeria.

Hacksaw Ridge (2016). The true story of Desmond Doss, an American army medic and conscientious objector who entered into the battlefield without carrying a gun.

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