Rose Edge

It was Rebecca’s birthday. Rebecca was our second child, and Marguerite was baking a cake. At the time were were living in Denstone, which was in many ways a traditional English village. It had one shop, and the shopkeeper was Rose Edge. The picture is of Rose outside it.

Marguerite realised that we had no candles for the cake. She sent our youngest, Stephen, to the shop to buy a packet.

‘Oh dear’, said Rose, ‘we don’t seem to have any. When is her birthday?’ ‘Today’. ‘In that case we’ll have to see what we can do about it.’ She telephoned the next shop, two miles away in the next village. Yes, they had some birthday cake candles. One of the staff drove a van to Denstone, specially to deliver the candles. We bought them at the usual price, with no extras for special delivery.

Rev Colin Coward MBE

LAST WEEKEND, director of Changing Attitude Colin Coward came to our church to give a series of reflections inspired by twenty years working towards a more inclusive church.

Colin is an Anglican priest who originally trained as an architect and subsequently as a psychotherapist.  He ministered for 19 years in inner-city parishes.  In 1995 he founded Changing Attitude which works for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in the life of the Anglican Communion.

Polling station

According to St. John's account of Christ's Passion, it was expedient that one man should die for the people and that the whole nation not perish.

Whether in the Church or in society, expediency, strategy, power games in which 'the people' are either duped with impossible promises or blatantly used for political leverage and then discarded, the message is the same. It is expedient.

This, along with whatever slant or 'spin' is afforded by the media and powerful interest groups, seems to be the order of the day when it comes to election campaigns. It is a far cry from the freedom and democracy for which two generations fought world wars in the last century and for which many risk their freedom and their lives today.

arguing

It was partly a sense of a hole needing to be filled that first drew me into Modern Church.

I confess to having spent much of my youth as an enthusiastic but short-term campaigner. So many social issues grabbed my attention that I threw myself into one after another, totally committed until the next one came along.

After a few years I began to notice that they all had one weakness in common. The members of each society agreed with each other in feeling strongly that our chosen issue was very important and something ought to be done about it; but what drove us was the feeling. Our arguments, our reasons, were shallow.

Open Church conference
Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.

This was the aim of last week's two-day conference Open Church: The church, sexuality, mission and the future hosted by Steve Chalke, Baptist minister and founder of international charity the Oasis Trust.

Steve hit the headlines two years ago when he called for an 'open conversation' around same-sex relationships and marriage in response to the UK government's consultation on changing the marriage law.