“I have called you friends…”

I’ve begun reading a book that my colleague Tim gave me for Christmas, I Have Called You Friends… by Kevin L. Thew Forrester. The main thrust of the book is about ‘mutual ministry’: ministry and baptism are different sides of the same coin.

In the book Kevin argues that Church is not a place of hierarchy but friendship and mutuality. We are all called to be students, vulnerable and willing always to learn and share with one another. We are called to be a family, and a family modelled on this type of equality and mutuality, where diversity is not tolerated but treasured and celebrated.

We are the friends of God. How fantastic is that! “Jesus gathered friends about him from the start of his ministry. They learned from each other, argued with each other, betrayed and forgave. They learned that there is no greater gift than to lay down their lives for one another.” (p. vii)

It is this kind of mutuality and friendship that I would love to see reflected in our Church today.

Church vs. The Church

I’ve had some amazing conversations with people over the last couple of weeks about God, faith and the Church. Many of these conversations have taken place during Join Me activities. I am increasingly of the opinion that I do not have a problem with Church — that is the meeting together of people in Jesus’ name — but I do have issues with the Church, the institution.

I wish the Church didn’t focus so much on itself, on the mechanics and politics of how it will keep itself financed and organised, and instead gave more energy towards how to encourage and resource people in their spiritual journeys, helping them to know themselves better, fulfil their potential and support them in their relationship with God and with one another.

How do we — those already in the Church — help bring this change about? How do we help people’s focus to shift?

Liturgical Colours

I’m preaching on Sunday about the use of liturgical colours in the Scottish Episcopal Church. I’ve produced a calendar showing the colours for next year (2003-04); remember the liturgical year begins on the First Sunday of Advent, which this year is November 30. You may download the calendar, in PDF format.

Liturgical Calendar for SEC, PDF (80 KB)

Remembrance Sunday

Today we remembered those who gave their lives for our country in the two world wars and other conflicts since. In my sermon I spoke about my experience of the wars from the perspective of the families left at home, and reflected on my visit to Poperinge and Ieper in 1998 with Toc-H. It was a moving service.

Remembrance Sunday 2003 sermon PDF (89 KB)