Lucy Berry is a United Reformed Church minister and poet. Each month we feature a new poem from Lucy on the URC website

  • ‘Chaos in Church’ a poem by URC poet-minister Lucy Berry

    Chaos in ChurchThere are times when a person enters church so damaged that we can see absolutely no way to help them, or even to reach them. This upsets me. It upsets me equally to hear church people say: ‘They've made a choice’. To believe this is a comfortable way off a terrible hook; because the point at which such chaotic persons could discern their choices is long gone. So, what do we do? Nothing. But pray.

    Chaos in Church

    Chaos wandered into church;
    with splitting plastic-bags of cans,
    and stubbed-out fag-ends in each hand,
    and sat down with a lurch.  

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  • The Day That God Came Into Church by poet-minister Lucy Berry

    man in church Lucy Berry News images 554x415The theme which the United Reformed Church has chosen for this year's contribution to Greenbelt is “More than welcome". It's an interesting phrase. I'm not even sure what it means! What could be more, or better, than sincere and authentic welcome? Many people feel that churches can be hostile, judgmental places. I believe many of them aren't but we're highly complicated – often without realising it. This poem looks at the disconnection which can so easily exist between God and Church.

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  • Photos of My Son by United Reformed Church poet-minister Lucy Berry

    feet on railway2Here! They’re all here on my phone,
    all the photos of my son.
    Here he is when he was born.
    Isn’t that a lovely one? 

    And here he is in Italy
    looking like he’s three or four.
    And here he is at twelve, maybe,
    in Kerala or Bangalore. 

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  • I Looked in that Cup You Been Drinking From by Lucy Berry

    june lucy berry News images 554x415I looked in that cup you been drinking from.
    Looked like blood of a thousand years.
    Didn’t look nice. Didn’t look safe.
    Looked like juice of a thousand tears.

    Lord, Lord, what did I do to you,
    that you ask me sniff such an evil smell?
    Torture. Slaughter. Un-washed feet.
    I’m not the one to harrow hell.

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  • Panthers and Parsnips and Light by Lucy Berry

    panthers and parsnips News images 554x415Dreaming vague dreams which our souls can’t afford,
    harping on memories broken but stored,
    trusting in any cold thing we can hoard,
    bounded by majesty, frequently bored,

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  • Love Comes to Stay by Lucy Berry

    Lucy poem march picYou broke into my house while I was out
    and lodged and laughed and cooked and disarranged things.
    I find it very hard to tolerate
    intruders with the energy to change things.

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  • Text to God, Almighty Father, Creator of the Universe

    phone 17Hi
    cnt b @ chch 2day.
    2 busy
    4giv me?

    c ya
    luv u


    Copyright: Lucy Berry

    The United Kingdom’s churches are, mostly, shrinking.
    Is faith in Jesus following suit?

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  • Lucy Berry poem on ‘Many Rooms’

    black and white interior macbook drawing 71983xThe House has many rooms:
    rooms for washing,
    rooms for resting,
    rooms for those being born
    and those being born again;
    and a room for wishing you’d never been born
    at all.

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  • Lucy Berry poem on ‘Leper Graves: Robben Island’

    Robben Island graveyardA new mid-month poem from United Reformed Church poet-minister, the Revd Lucy Berry. This month, Lucy reflects on the leper graves at Robben Island, South Africa. She says: ‘I write this from Cape Town after just having visited Robben Island. I hadn’t realised that every kind of leper was incarcerated there; anyone with whom those in charge, (often we British), could not cope or did not approve: those with Hansen’s Disease, those labelled ‘mentally defective’, those unimpressed by imposed Christianity, those unwilling to be governed by an invading force, those who believed in racial equality. I left the island feeling the disgrace of Empire – and fearing the trumped-up reasons we give for demonising other humans.

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  • Silent Stars

    Tea timeA new poem from United Reformed Church poet-minister, the Revd Lucy Berry. This month, Lucy reflects on Silent Stars, which was the theme of this year's Greenbelt Christian arts festival. She says: ‘Broadly, church and Church are in steady decline in Britain, with the exception of inner-city Pentecostal churches. I admire the silent stars in any organisation but it will not be individual acts of love, unselfishness, courage, or sacrifice which will save church.

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  • Armageddon

    Some say The End is coming.
    Some say the Time is Nigh.
    Some say this current mayhem
    bodes Justice from on high;
    There’s talk of Armageddon
    on some believers’ lips:
    the final Time of Trial,
    God’s great Apocalypse.

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  • Feature interview: Lucy Berry

    The Revd Lucy Berry explains her calling as a poet-minister – and what that means

    Your website describes you as a poet-minister; can you unpack that?

    I’d say that “minister-poet” is a more accurate description. My call is as poet – and I can’t separate being a poet from being a minister. Poetry, writing poems, is the most authentic outworking of my ministry. Through poetry I can most clearly articulate what it is I want, what I need, to say about God and the Church. It gives me a voice, a platform, which allows me to face – head on – some of the really difficult issues that many of us wrestle with.

    And, somehow, it also lets me takes risks … taking risks is important because, when we’re taking risks we’re not worrying about paying the bills or buying the biscuits for the Church Meeting, we’re focussed on something bigger than ourselves: being more like Jesus.

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  • A punishing game

    Two rescue-dogs
    bracket the new widow closely on the sofa.
    Heaven hadn’t smiled
    on the previous owners of these dogs.
    Such lovely dogs too.
    When couples divorce it is
    always the dogs that suffer.

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  • Purgatory

    A new poem from Lucy Berry

    Camden* believed it was this quick;
    that the no-place between two places
    could hold forgiveness of life-long wrong:
    Betwixt the stirrup and the ground
    Mercy I ask’d, Mercy I found.

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  • Amen to That?

    Our Father…
    And can I, truly, say ‘Amen’ to that?
    Whose father is He? Mine or yours or Theirs?
    When, honestly, if They fell down the stairs,
    evaporated on the evening air, I’d rather.
    Have I said ‘Amen’ to Our Father?

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  • Parity

    We are due to close the gender gap by 2133 according to the World Economic Forum’s calculation. That's 117 years from now. For this year's Pledge for Parity themed International Women's Day, Lucy Berry reflects on our stumbling progress to parity, and the dream of equality.

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  • The Pawn-Shop - a poem by Lucy Berry

    Most pawn-shops are clean-countered, rather bare;
    with pawned things under glass, or in the safe.
    The shop-girls learn, soon, not to really care.
    How could one ache for every stray and waif?

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  • Pig – a Christmas poem from Lucy Berry

    Painters paint the Baby
    lying in His straw,
    small and clean-and-tidy,
    whom the beasts adore;
    fluffy lambs so tiny, oxen very big.
    No-one ever paints in a pig.

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  • Holy Water


    This month's poem from Lucy Berry explores Advent themes. She says: "Water is at the beginning of everything. Mary has carried the whole of creation and delivers her baby in a rush of water and understanding".

    No control once your waters break;
    that is all gone, long, long gone;
    He arrives in His own good time
    and your mystery goes on.

    You, who spoke poems to that angel
    bright in his light and white silk,
    are damp now with straining and pain
    and sticky with milk.

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  • Attachment Theory - Lucy Berry

    hopeinactionHere’s the latest poem, written for us, from Lucy Berry – URC minister and poet. Each month we’ll be featuring a new poem from Lucy on the URC’s website and social media channels. This month’s poem is called Attachment Theory, which, says Lucy: "is about the difficulty many people face believing in, trusting in – and acting upon – both human love and love from God".

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