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A View From...

a poetic view from Karen Campbell, Church Related Community Worker (Bury Park and Beech Hill Council of Churches, Luton)

Sisters, brothers, neighbours, strangers,
Rubbing along; somehow getting by;
Of course there were 'issues', and words left unspoken -
Perhaps, with good reason why!

Then came the 'debate' - Brexit/not Brexit -
Thinly-veiled lies with a crocodile smile;
Fragile unity shattered, in less than a heartbeat,
And spattered with geysers of bile. 

Read more: The Brexit Prize

IMG 0373This reflection is written by Mary Haines about the history of the Church in Kuala Lumpur, following her recent visit.

One hundred years the Presbyterian Church of England (one of the predecessor denominations of the United Reformed Church) sent a young Minister, Andrew Drummond Harcus to become the first minister of St Andrew’s church, Kuala Lumpur, which his determination and effort had helped to become a reality. 

Read more: Kuala Lumpur

Zimbabwe PW 1A report by the Revd Paul Whittle of the visit to the Presbytery of Zimbabwe by five representatives of Eastern Synod, 8 to 18 December 2017.

The visitors were the Revd Paul Whittle, Team Leader and Synod Moderator, Lindsey Brown, Synod Global Links Advocate and Elder at Epping URC (twinned with Mbare UPC), Robert Dart, Elder at Rayleigh URC (twinned with Budiriro UPC), John Driver, Elder at Maldon URC (exploring twinning with Njube UPC), and the Revd Sohail Ejaz, Minister at The Cornerstone URC Southend (twinned with Highfield UPC).

Read more: The Presbytery of Zimbabwe

Bleach Warning webThis reflection is written by the Revd Dr Peter Cruchley. The Revd Dr Cruchley currently serves as the Mission Secretary for Mission Development at the Council for World Mission.

‘People are even bleaching babies!’ This was one of the most startling comments in CWM’s recent Hearing on the Legacies of Slavery in Jamaica.  Several History and Politics students from the University of the West Indies came to share their perspectives on the ways the history of slavery still shapes life, systems and relationships today. The dehumanising of blackness as godless and brutish by Missionary and colonial rhetoric, the enslavement and impoverishment of black people, have left a legacy of internalised racism, a complexity of self-hatred. These young people talked about their own attempts to lighten their skin colour so they could be fair, and therefore beautiful and attractive. This is traumatic enough for adolescence, when self-image is skewed in almost any teenager of any ethnicity: but to then decide to bleach your baby. This was a collective ‘falling off chair’ moment for the gathered CWM group, especially for the older Caribbean participants who thought they had put a stop to this in their generation.  How can this still be a burden being carried by black youth and children?

Read more: MLK, Bleaching and the Occupation of Being


Article A

In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our Lord.
Every valley should be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough place plain.
Isaiah 40:3-4


In the days of Israel’s captivity, roads were prepared for the rulers’ procession to the city. You had to remove the rocks and fix the potholes and make the crooked places straight. You did all this to show honour to the ruler.

Isaiah is part of our Advent readings because he fits with our sense of getting ready and preparing. But I have always struggled with this passage with its insistence on changing the landscape by making everything straight or level because the ruler, this time, will be a baby born in a cave in Bethlehem. He will lie in a manger surrounded by sheep and goats, cows and oxen. Later in life, he will enter Jerusalem on the back of a lowly colt. He will defy imperial conventions and choose a more humble entrance through the shepherd’s gate. So why prepare for him like he is an imperial ruler? 

Read more: Follow the Contours

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