The care of our planet, the threat of extinction – Hymn

The care of our planet, the threat of extinction,
alerts us to need to be stewards of the earth:
this place of great beauty, our God given tenure,
the place of our nurture, the globe of our birth.

This place we must guard for each new generation,
to leave as we found it or, better, restored;
to share each resource without greed or pretension,
not barring the needy, not plunder, nor hoard.

The  banquet of God is for all of God’s people,
communion companions are both rich and poor,
our ultimate end will remove all distinctions,
no birthright or creed can obstruct heaven’s door.

God’s common wealth love can encompass all nations,
but here in this place we must all make a start:
a life of acceptance of sister and brother,
the practice of loving, a God given art.

Andrew Pratt 1/5/2019
Words © 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, http://www.stainer.co.uk.
Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.
Written for the 140th Anniversary of St John’s Methodist Church Whitchurch, Shropshire.
Tunes: STREETS OF LAREDO; ST CATHERINES COURT

Brexit or how, for a church, it all came tumbling down -almost!

Nearly twenty years ago the members of a church were told that the roof was unsafe and liable to collapse.

What to do? The members had to decide.

A meeting was called. It was an open meeting for anyone who wished to attend and not just limited to members. At least five distinct solutions to the problem were suggested. These ranged from putting the roof back as it had been originally to closing the church and joining with a congregation of another denomination with which they had good relations.

Another meeting was convened for a week’s time and a representative of each scheme agreed to present their idea to this meeting for consideration.

They had to move swiftly, but it was also important to take these different groups along together. The Secretary ensured that everyone was informed at every stage and notes of meetings were posted regularly in the room where the congregation was now gathering.

At the next meeting each representative was allowed to speak for 10 minutes without interruption to put a case. Five minutes were allowed for questions. There was then a brief time for clarification where this was needed. The meeting then spent a short time in prayer. Everyone was conscious of the need to move to a workable conclusion. Each scheme was voted on in turn by a secret ballot. The votes were counted and recorded. After the vote the option with the least votes was excluded and everyone voted again. The process continued until two options were left and a final vote was taken. The decision had been made that the roof would be replaced, but in a re-designed form to prevent a further collapse.

The transition was not easy. It required listening, understanding, compromise, even empathy. Building works of this scale involve raising money, employment of professionals and a lot of hard work. The church was ultimately re-opened and, although some people felt that the wrong decision had been made they were still there to express their feelings!

And then we have Brexit!

Religious groups at their best might have something to teach us, perhaps?

This is the time of waiting – New Advent Hymn at a time of political change and uncertainty

This is the time of waiting,
the calm before the storm,
the time of Advent judgement,
the coming of the dawn;
a time of recollection,
of Christ’s audacious hope,
beyond imagination,
outside our human scope.

The nations will be gathered,
the age will be fulfilled,
the judgement be enacted,
as Christ had hoped and willed.
But for this consummation
such birth-pangs will be felt,
like rupturing of wine-skins,
the earth will heave and melt.

For love to be exalted,
for hatred to be banned,
our human goals must shatter,
division must be spanned.
A change of mind is needed
as we are turned around,
to move from desecration,
to find love’s solid ground.

Andrew Pratt 27/11/2018
Tune: AURELIA
Published in the Methodist Recorder 6th December 2018
Words © 2018 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England,
http://www.stainer.co.uk.
Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.