Wikio - Top Blogs - Religion and belief

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Gants Hill: Vortex

Vortex by Wolfgang Buttress can be found at Gants Hill and has been described as an “abstracted egg” which is designed to represent regeneration and new life. Together with Fr Benjamin Wallis (St Georges Barkingside), I undertook an art project documenting the regeneration of the area. This piece of public art was originally intended as part of the regeneration work but as a result of delays was only installed some time after the completion of the project.


Bobby West Trio & Dwight Trible - In the Beginning God.

Stillness Speaks

Tim Harrold, John Espin and Michael Murphy are exhibiting in ‘Stillness Speaks’at Romford Quaker House (7 Balgores Crescent, Gidea Park RM2 6AB) from Saturday 31st October to Sunday 1st November (10.00am – 4.00pm). Their exhibition is supported by an exhibition of art from children of Quaker members. Presentations by the artists can be heard on Sunday 1st November from 12 noon.


James Morrison - Demons.

Update: Sophia Hub Redbridge

Ros Southern writes:

'Hi there,

Final few places to fill for the Sophia Active Citizens and Entrepreneurs course. Starting Tues evening. Info here.

We have a full programme for November's entrepreneur's club on all things finance and legal. This is an amazingly interesting programme!

Wednesday 4th at Enterprise Desk 5.30pm - pricing, overheads, law and a big wake up call with Albert Peters!! info here (he's fun believe it or not!)

Tues 10th at St Johns 12.45 - hands on workshop on using an excel sheet for incomings and outgoings with the lovely and patient Amanda! Bring your laptops. info here

Tues 17th November - the Sophia Hubs in the City launch (info further down email)

Thurs 24th November 12.45 St Johns - Celestine Ekpenyong on 'know where you're heading to make good financial decisions. A successful start-up business on tendering and procurement. info here

Sophia Hubs has a fab City launch of our community share offer as part of Philanthropy in the City season on Tuesday 17th November. Please join us! Info here

Redbridge Chamber breakfast with Wes Streeting videos and report, including Donna's Pop Up question! info here

I'm at the volunteer fair on Thursday - find out about our fab volunteer roles! Info here

For info on the Cobra database available to all Redbridge library card holders click here

Please, please contact us if you have carried out any Timebank trades so that they are registered on the database :)

Also take a look at our updated 'Help and Support' page - thanks to volunteer Shilpa for that. :)

Best wishes,

Ros Southern

Coordinator, Sophia Hubs Redbridge
E: M 07707 460309 / 0208 590 2568 (answer phone)
T: @sophiahubs7k F: Sophia Hubs Seven Kings (please follow us and Like us!)'


Floating Points - Silhouettes.

Music update: Stephen Hough, James Morrison, Floating Points and Spiritual Jazz

'Catholicism was central to all the composers in the recital [Schubert, Franck and Lizst], which included the pianist himself. [Stephen] Hough’s own third sonata, subtitled Trinitas, here received its premiere. It is a striking contrast with its more restless but equally idiomatic 2012 predecessor, carefully structured around the number three, moving confidently and always articulately through major and minor thirds from austere to perky and affirming. Hough played it from the score and it more than held its own in such exalted pianistic company.' (Martin Kettle, The Guardian)

'“I got demons” wails the voice, before the 2007 Brit Award-winner [James Morrison] attempts a confession of St Augustine proportions: “I close my eyes and talk to God / Pray that you can save my soul.”

It may be the sound of someone desperately trying to stay positive in the post-Ed Sheeran era, but actually, desperate positivity is a good sound for him. Higher Than Here is almost Nashvillean in its godly striving, as reflects an epiphany that Morrison had after three deaths in his family.' (Richard Godwin, Evening Standard)

'As a young boy, [Sam] Shepherd was a chorister at Manchester Cathedral and went on to study piano at Chetham’s School of Music. His father is a vicar and the family vicarage turned into a studio for musical experiments: “I could set up cellos in the kitchen, drum kits in my sister’s room,” he says mischievously. A teacher gave him some jazz records and it was then that he “stopped thinking of classical and jazz as two different things”, and started seeing them harmoniously. “Kenny Wheeler is so beautiful that [his music] could have been Rachmaninov,” he enthuses. “And Bill Evans is similar to the colourfulness of Debussy.”

Like his favourite spiritual jazz records, Elaenia is improvisational and designed to be heard in one go. But Shepherd says he “finds it difficult to reconcile not being religious with being into spiritual music”. Instead, he admires the genre architecturally. “Spiritual jazz, for me, feels like building a space out of nothing and within that space [the musicians] build their house, their city, their entire universe through music,” he says excitedly. “They exist in this black hole and they create an amazing place without form, without structure, without harmonic beginnings …”' (Kate Hutchinson, The Guardian)


Stephen Hough - Born In Bethlehem.

Windows on the world (364)

Paris, 2014


Albert Ayler - Music is the Healing Force of the Universe.

Friday, 30 October 2015

All Saints and All Souls

In our 10.00am Parish Eucharist at St Martin-in-the-Fields this Sunday we celebrate and give thanks for the saints who have witnessed to the Christian faith through the centuries. The preacher will be Revd Katherine Hedderly.

The Choir of St Martin-in-the-Fields sing Rutter’s Requiem at our evening All Souls Choral Eucharist, in our remembrance of all those we have loved and see no more and whose memories we treasure. I will preside and the preacher will be Revd Richard Carter.

At St Stephen Walbrook we will hold a special Discover & explore service for All Souls at 1.10pm on Monday 2nd November. This service with explore aspects of bereavement with readings, music, prayers and reflection. The Choir of St Stephen Walbrook and the Choral Scholars of St Martin-in-the-Fields will join together to sing pieces from Fauré's Requiem. The service will end with an opportunity to light candles in memory of loved ones.

The Choir of St Stephen Walbrook and the Choral Scholars of St Martin-in-the-Fields will join together again later in November for a shared service between St Martin-in-the-Fields and St Stephen Walbrook. This service will be a Choral Evensong on Sunday 15th November, 5.00pm, at St Martin-in-the-Fields.

The Discover & explore service series at St Stephen Walbrook will continue with the Choral Scholars of St Martin-in-the-Fields for services exploring Faith, Hope and Charity on:
  • Monday 9th November, 1.10 - 1.50pm – Charity.
  • Monday 16th November, 1.10 - 1.50pm – Hope.
  • Monday 23rd November, 1.10 - 1.50pm – Faith.
This series of services is part of our Philanthropy in the City programme.


Gabriel Fauré - Requiem.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Schools worksheets at St Stephen Walbrook


U2 - Walk On.

Sophia Hubs Network Launch

We are delighted to announce the City launch of the Sophia Hubs Network and the development of another arm of Sophia Hubs support to local economies, entrepreneurs and start-up businesses, including Redbridge.

The launch will be on Tuesday 17th November 6.00 - 8.00pm, St Stephen Walbrook (by Bank station).

We are launching a ‘community share offer’ so that financial institutions and investors can support projects and start-up businesses that bring value to the area.

This launch will bring together financial investors and start-up businesses and partners of the pilot being run in Redbridge. We will have information about our partner project in South Africa, the Sophiatown Motswako Enterprise Hub.

Christine Baker of Argentis Capital will give a keynote speech focusing on the place of Sophia Hubs in the wider picture of social enterprise and social impact investing in the UK and internationally. Argentis Capital works to provide capital for innovative, scalable businesses which have a positive social and/or environmental impact in both developed and developing countries worldwide.

The programme is as follows:
  • Arrival (6 – 6.30pm)
  • Introduction & welcome
  • Sophia Hub Redbridge & Motswako Hub Sophiatown stories
  • Community Share Offer launch
  • Keynote speech - Christine Baker (Argentis Capital)
  • Networking / Sign-up
To book a place, please email


Ladysmith Black Mambazo - World in Union.

Volunteers from the City

The Volunteers from the City event at St Stephen Walbrook ( will be held on Tuesday 10th November from 6.00pm. The event is part of a wider programme events centred around the service we are holding in which the Lord Mayor of London will give thanks to God for his year in office.

In an age of austerity and growing inequality, the time is ripe to encourage more philanthropy, particularly in the City of London and to communicate widely the extent and breadth of giving in the Square Mile and Canary Wharf. The City has a proud tradition of philanthropy dating back to the Middle Ages, led by Livery Companies and the Mayorality, as is brilliantly illustrated in the exhibition Philanthropy - The City Story, which can be viewed at St Stephen Walbrook from 9th - 20th November. We have organized this programme of events, exhibitions and services aims to share some of that story and also publicise opportunities for philanthropic contributions today. All are welcome at these events.

The Volunteers from the City event will share opportunities for volunteering with Samaritans, Home for Good and as a Church Credit Champion. Contributors include: Jin Chin (Chair, Samaritans London Central), David Barclay (Church Credit Champions Network), Revd Bertrand Oliver (All Hallows bythe Tower) and Mark Choonara (The Passage). The evening will be chaired by Revd Sally Muggeridge (, curate at St Stephen Walbrook, and will explore the benefits of volunteering, preparation, training and support for volunteers, and the part that Corporate Social Responsibility now plays in volunteering.


Elbow - One Day Like This.


St Stephen Walbrook will host a service of Thanksgiving for the Lord Mayor's year in office on Wednesday 11th November at 6.00pm. 

 This will review and give thanks to God for the year in office of Alderman Alan Yarrow, Lord Mayor and will be attended by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, the Sheriffs and their consorts and many other people. 

The service will reflect the theme of the Lord Mayor’s year in office: Creating Wealth, Giving Time, Supporting People and the preacher will be the Revd. Robin Griffith-Jones, Master of the Temple. The Choir of St Stephen Walbrook will provide the music, accompanied by Joe Sentance on the organ. The service will be followed by a wine and canapé reception and, for catering purposes, please let us know you’re coming by…
  • By email: Click 'Reply' to this message or send an email to ''
  • By telephone: 020 7626 9000
  • By post: The Administrator, St Stephen's Church, 39 Walbrook, London EC4N 8BN

This service is part of the wider ‘Philanthropy in the City’ programme of events at St Stephen Walbrook between 9th-20th November, including:
Full details of these events are available HERE. We hope to see you at as many of these occasions as possible.


Neil Young - Heart of Gold.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Start:Stop - How the light gets in

Bible reading

“… it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.” (2 Corinthians 4. 6 - 10)


‘Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack
In everything
That's how the light gets in,
That's how the light gets in’

I don’t know how the image of a crack letting in light came into the mind of Leonard Cohen, who wrote those lines I've just quoted, but they fit really well with our reading from Corinthians.

St Paul uses this image to assure us that we have the light of God in our lives, despite the fallibility and fraility of our lives. He pictures our lives as being like cracked clay jars. He is suggesting that there are fractures and flaws running through each of our lives but that these imperfections actually enable the light of Christ to be seen more clearly in our lives. If a clay jar were to contain a light but also be perfectly formed then the light inside would not be seen from the outside. The light of Christ would effectively be hidden. People would look at our perfect life and not Christ, because they would only see us.

Instead, Paul says, because we are not perfect and have difficulties and flaws, it is then clear that where we act or speak with love and compassion, this is because of Christ in us, rather than being something which innate to us or simply our decision alone. As Christ says, let your light so shine before others that they might see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5. 16).

These reflections may well have particular relevance in our workplaces, where it may well be difficult to consistently act perfectly as a Christian before of the pressures and issues found there. We may well be among the 53% of managers that Roffey Park identified as experiencing tensions between "the spiritual side of their values and their work". St Paul and Leonard Cohen both encourage us with the thought that perfection in us would actually prevent the light of God from being seen, while it is the lines of stress in our lives which enable that light to be clearly seen for what it is.


Lord Jesus, in your face we see the light of the knowledge of the glory of God. Your light in our lives is like a flame inside a cracked clay jar, with your light seen through the lines of stress and tension that characterise our lives. As flawed people in a fragile world, we recognise that there is a crack in everything. We recognise, too, that it is through the cracks in our existence that your light gets in and shines out. We share in the vulnerability and suffering that was your experience of death in order that your life is also seen as being our strength in weakness. May we not be crushed, driven to despair, forsaken or destroyed, but in the stresses and tensions of our lives know your power loving and sustaining us. May we no longer strive after perfect offerings and pray instead that every heart to love will come, but as a refugee. Lord, in your strength and vulnerability, hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, you are the light of the world and the light in our darkness. May your light be a flame to build warmth in our hearts towards family, neighbours and all those we meet. We place in your care all those we come to remember today. Give us, we pray, comfort in our anxiety and fear, courage and strength in our suffering, patience and compassion in our caring, consolation in our grieving. But above all, give us hope now and always. Lord, in your strength and vulnerability, hear our prayer.

Lord, may your light enlighten us in our decisions and be a fire to purify us from all pride and selfishness. Set our hearts on fire with love for you, so that we may love you with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our soul, and with all our strength, and our neighbours as ourselves. So that by keeping your commandments we may glorify you, the giver of all good gifts. Lord, in your strength and vulnerability, hear our prayer.


Enlightenment in our decisions, purification from pride and selfishness, strength in weakness, God’s power loving and sustaining us. May those blessings of almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, rest upon you and remain with you always. Amen.


Leonard Cohen - Anthem.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Inspired to follow: Moses writing the Book of Genesis

What does it mean to follow Jesus today? How can I deepen my faith in God?

Inspired to Follow: Art and the Bible Story is a programme of hour-long gatherings over three terms which covers the Biblical story from Creation to Apocalypse. It uses fine art paintings that can be found on St Martin-in-the-Fields' doorstep as a springboard for exploring these two questions.

Today I gave the following reflection as part of this series:

JMW Turner was one of the greatest British artists whose desire to paint extreme weather conditions – blazing sun and swirling storm - resulted in Romantic art which also anticipated Impressionism and Abstract Expressionism. His commitment to realism was such that he once had himself lashed to a ship’s mast for four hours in order to observe the actual conditions of a storm. This painting ('Light and Colour (Goethe’s Theory) - the Morning after the Deluge - Moses Writing the Book of Genesis') is one of a pair; the first being 'Shade and Darkness - The Evening of the Deluge', also in the Tate’s collection and which depicts the storm on the evening of the Flood.

By contrast this image depicts the calm after the storm in the form of “an explosion of sunlight which brilliantly exploits the warm side of the spectrum.” Turner’s title indicates that he has multiple ideas in mind with this image including colour theories which enable him to depict the sunrise, the Flood imagery that we have just mentioned and Moses writing the Torah (the first five books of the Bible, including Genesis), which is our focus for today. Light, in Turner’s paintings, becomes “a singular, haunting presence,” with the paintings literally drenched in light. The sun, was for Turner, the living core of all of nature, so much so that he is reputed to have said on his deathbed, “The sun is god”.

So, we have a painting in which God is depicted through the medium of light with Moses set within this corona of light whilst writing the Torah. Our readings from Exodus show the appropriateness of this unusual imagery because, after Moses has been in the presence of God on Mount Sinai to receive the Law, his face shines with the light of God; so much so, that he puts a veil over his face whenever he is not speaking with the Israelites. Turner’s painting gives us a sense of what this story suggests; that the experience of being in the presence of God irradiated Moses in a way which meant that he reflected something of God’s light.

At Mount Sinai the Israelites, as a whole, had been given the chance to become a nation of priests enjoying the kind of intimate, direct relationship with God that Moses developed. God offered the opportunity to draw the Israelites as a whole into an intimate relationship with him where they would be able (as happens to Moses in his relationship with God) to debate, argue and influence God and where they are not simply obeying an external set of rules but have internalised God’s framework for life and live freely within it (Jeremiah 31: 33 & 34). God’s vision for the Israelites’ relationship with him (Exodus 19: 6) is that they are all to be priests and, therefore, will be able to come directly into his presence.

He provides the tools to make this happen through the Law (Exodus 20: 1–17). The Law was not intended to be used just in terms of its literal external application but to operate as a developmental process enabling the People of Israel to learn what is the heart and spirit of the Law; that is love (love of God, our neighbours and ourselves). Limits are what parents set while they are teaching their children how to respond to the situations with which life will confront them. When they have learnt, they no longer need the external limits because they have internalised and can utilise these lessons. 

An analogy is that of a child learning to cross the road. Parents firstly lay down strict limits on what the child can and cannot do. Then the child is taught how to cross the road in safety. But when the child has learnt how to judge distance and speed then s/he is free to cross the road wherever s/he judges it is safe to do so and is no longer restricted to recognised crossing places. In the way that both the prophets and Jesus use the Law we see this developmental process in use because in their interpretations of the Law they consistently emphasise the core/the spirit/the fulfilment of the Law, not its external application (see, for example, Amos 5: 21 - 24 and Matthew 5: 17 - 48).

The people of Israel, at Sinai, are offered the opportunity to live in conversation with God, by moving beyond the literal and structure-legitimating application of the Law to the embrace of love that is its essence and core. The people refuse this deeper level of relationship with God whilst still promising to obey him (Exodus 20: 18 – 19). They ask that Moses enters into this intimate relationship with God on their behalf and then reports back. Instead of the intimate encounter they choose a contractual relationship saying to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die” (Exodus 20: 19). This then becomes the pattern for God’s relationship with the people of Israel throughout the Old Testament. They relate to God legalistically and through individual mediators (whether prophets, judges or kings) instead of being in an intimate relationship with God that would cause their faces to shine like that of Moses.

The Bible can then be seen as the record of a conversation between God and a human race which has, as a whole, rejected this conversation but which, in a remnant (mainly Israel and the Church), continues to oscillate between dialogue and independent rejection. This is, finally, why the life, death and resurrection of Jesus is so decisive. Jesus lives fully in this conversation with God and he enables us to enter the conversation too. When we do so, like Moses, our faces also shine with the light of God (2 Corinthians 3. 7 – 18).

Great God, you said, ‘Let there be light,’ and light came into being. Your light is most clearly seen in Jesus, who is the light of the world. Enable each one of us, with unveiled faces, to see his glory as though reflected in a mirror, and be transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. Amen.

Gungor - Let There Be.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Update: Sophia Hub Redbridge

Ros Southern writes:

'Hi there - please click on the links below for my round-up of news and events.

Events coming up....

Firstly advance notice of the City launch of Sophia Hubs community share offer on Tuesday 17th November. This is a new arm of the services we will offer. All welcome to join this networking event between financiers in the City and start-ups and social entrepreneurs in Redbridge. Info here.

This Tuesday (27th Oct) at entrepreneur's club it's a hands on session on how to use the Cobra database - an essential business tool. Read about it here. Also early on Tuesday it's the Redbridge Chamber breakfast with Wes Streeting MP as speaker click here for info

The Sophia ACE course (active citizens and entrepreneurs) is actively recruiting this week to fill all 15places on course at Islamic Centre starting Tuesday week - a fab opportunity, click here

Timebank news (trading your time not money).....

There's some Timebank news - the great session at the evening entrepreneur's club last week at Enterprise Desk on the ECHO business timebank with 2000 members! Click here for info

Here's an update from Timebank manager Stephanie on current offers including haircuts!

And Martin is wanting to help people with Linked In so he has enough hours to continue with his Prince2 course! Info here

And to see our Timebank volunteer team at work and find out how to volunteer (and earn hours!) click here

Other good news...

Announcement of funding to run a partnership project to help Charities and voluntary/faith/community groups to set up trading arms and diversify income. Click here to read about this exciting project.

For the programme of events being run at Enterprise Desk click here

Redbridge College had a fantastic networking event this week - see the video of how the 18 year old student who has got a contract to be wedding photographer!

And other good ideas...

Our volunteer Shilpa Patel is going to draw up a list of markets and pop-ups in the area. If you want to promote a bazaar or school sale to get in stallholders please email me.

Don't forget to bring your laptop or device to the entrepreneurs club on Tuesday

Best wishes,

Ros Southern

Coordinator, Sophia Hubs Redbridge
E: M 07707 460309 / 0208 590 2568 (answer phone)
T: @sophiahubs7k F: Sophia Hubs Seven Kings (please follow us and Like us!)'


The Farm - All Together Now.

Dora Holzhandler RIP

The Guardian's obituary of Dora Holzhandler starts in the following way:

'“The beginning of a picture is very important,” said the painter Dora Holzhandler, who has died aged 87. “You have to be in quite a meditative state. It’s magical. When I paint something I’ve seen 50 years ago, it’s the same moment recreated. The moment is the truth.”

Such mystical intimacy characterises her oils of naked lovers embracing in psychedelically patterned rooms; darkly flourishing gouaches of icon-like mothers and children, or rabbis meditating; and free and luminous watercolours of, say, a skateboarding teenager or a woman sweeping a floor. The art critic Sister Wendy Beckett, a close friend in later years, called Dora “an artist with a beautiful secret … that makes all things luminous … a precious gift in this confused and violent world”.'


Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel - Make Me Smile (Come Up & See Me).

A Wizard of Earthsea: The real battle is moral or internal

In today's Guardian David Mitchell writes on one of literature’s most fully formed fantasy worlds, A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K Le Guin:

'From Beowulf to Tolkien, to countless formulaic fantasy movies at a multiplex near you, the genre generates two-dimensional Manichaean struggles between Good and Evil, in which morality’s shades of grey are reduced to one black and one white. The real world, as most of us know (if not all presidents and prime ministers), is rarely so monochromatic, and neither is Earthsea. Ged’s quest is not to take down a Lord of Darkness but to learn the nature of the shadow that his vanity, anger and hatred set loose – to master it, by learning its nature and its name. “All my acts have their echo in it,” says Ged of his shadow; “it is my creature.” The climax of A Wizard of Earthsea is not the magical shootout that lesser novels would have ended with, but the high-risk enactment of a process Jung called “individuation”, in which the warring parts of the psyche integrate into a wiser, stronger whole. To quote Le Guin again: “In serious fantasy, the real battle is moral or internal … To do good, heroes must know or learn that the ‘axis of evil’ is within them.”'


Wizzard - Angel Fingers.

Windows on the world (263)

Paphos, 2014


Led Zeppelin - Houses Of The Holy.

Impossible exhibition: New Hieronymus Bosch show

This is very exciting news - for an exhibition opening next February at his Noordbrabants museum in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Charles de Mooij has secured 20 of the 25 surviving panels by Hieronymus Bosch, 'including several reunited triptychs and the panels, that were scattered centuries ago, made for an altar still in the town, and 19 of the 25 drawings – a collection he believes will never be assembled again.' (The Guardian)


King Crimson - Moonchild.

Bob Dylan: Shoring up magnificent ruins

With a shuffle that is part slouch, part saunter - both posing and playing - the man in the long black coat and panama hat approaches the microphone to sing ballads and blues. Songs from Tempest are apocalyptic prophecies fashioned as walkin' talkin' blues (shuffles) where the answers are blowin' in the wind of a dirty world; while the songs Sinatra sang are elegiac interludes celebrating lovers in dangerous times.

A genuine legend, but not relient on his past or back catalogue, as most of the songs came from the last two albums. All but three were from the renaissance that began with Time Out Of Mind and, despite this, the show still resulted in a standing ovation - not what would have happened in the 80s or 90s!

These are the albums where he has been accused of plagiarism for fashioning together phrases drawn from an eclectic selection of lyrics and literature. But, as William Burroughs said, "All writing is in fact cut-ups. A collage of words read heard overheard. What else?" Like T.S. Eliot, Dylan has been shoring fragments against his ruins and what magnificent ruins; both the work and the man!

More reflections on Dylan can be found in my co-authored book The Secret Chord or by clicking here.


Bob Dylan - Love Sick.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Pallant House: David Jones, Edmund de Waal & Evelyn Dunbar

As if the prospect of a David Jones retrospective was not enough of a draw to Pallant House, the gallery supplements the Jones show with a new work by Edmund de Waal (whose new book The White Road has recently been published) and also has a remarkable collection of lost works by WW2 Official War Artist Evelyn Dunbar.

De Waal's "‘if we attend’ (2015), a white, wall-mounted vitrine with translucent glazing and 16 porcelain vessels, is a new piece produced especially for the David Jones exhibition. It references the calming slowing down effect of these words in the second line of Jones’s poem The Anathemata: ‘We already and first of all discern him making this thing other. His groping syntax, if we attend, already shapes…’. The work, displayed alongside two other porcelain works – ‘in the north north east’ (2014) and ‘thirteen circles’ (2014) - will be accompanied by a series of poems by David Jones, creating a contemplative space reflecting the nature of the work."

Evelyn Dunbar [was] "a Christian Scientist throughout her life, and the church’s influence suffuses all her work.

“She held her beliefs to be self-evident,” writes Campbell-Howes on his blog. “The only doubts she had concerned the readiness of humankind to play its part in the Covenant. The Covenant – my term, not Evelyn’s – as she conceived it, was the promise given by the creator to the human race of a fertile and eternally abundant land, in return for mankind’s promise to cherish it, to appreciate it and to care for it through intelligent and devoted husbandry.”

That explains, no doubt, why nature rarely appears untamed in her work. “She didn’t really do landscapes on a grand scale,” says Ro. “She was more interested in hen coops, worked fields, and the business of tending the land.”

Indeed, almost all the art at Pallant House shows her love for mankind’s nurturing of God’s creation." (The Guardian)


Emmylou Harris - Every Grain Of Sand.

Freedom of expression and freedom of religion

The Theos Annual Lecture 2015 was given tonight by Baroness O’Neill of Bengarve at The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple.

Entitled freedom of expression and freedom of religion, Baroness O'Neill explored the reasons we can give for taking our rights to rights to freedom of expression and to freedom of religion and belief seriously, for interpreting them in specific ways but not in other ways; for institutionalising them in some ways but not in other ways.

Along the way, she noted evidence that they are not respected as being 'all too plain in the persistence of intolerance and intimidation, of outright censorship and religious persecution of those of other faiths, and in the criminalisation of apostasy in some states.'

The lecture can be read by clicking here.


Wham - Freedom.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Windows on the world (362)

Paphos, 2014


Update: Sophia Hub Redbridge

Ros Southern writes:

"Hi there - here is the exciting news and info this week!

First of all - please read about the exciting Sophia Active Citizens and Entrepreneurs course we are running in November at Islamic Centre, Ilford. A fab course - only 15 places. Info here

Our wonderful Timebank volunteer team has now started a Facebook group to share offers/requests/news -read about this here :) and please join the group if you are a member.

On Tuesday evening we've an evening enterprise club jointly with Enterprise Desk with speaker from ECHO London business Timebank and sharing info and ideas about our community Timebank. Please join us at 5.30pm. Read all about it here

A reminder that there is a bonanza list of support for businesses this month and the general list is here - its the Redbridge College networking event on Weds evening and I'm going.

We've two recommendations this week - Karen Leighton on a book writing webinar next week on writing a book and Jitendra Makvana on the London Business Show in December. Thanks for passing on this info!

I am testing out our USP this weekend ;) - please help us help London Small Business Centre to fill places for women in business seminar! Click here for info

Thanks to Prodeepta Das for interesting and helpful session at our entrepreneur's club on Tuesday. Click here for info

Oh, and its very good news and a big thumbs up for us this week - I've been co-opted to the Redbridge Chamber exec! Please register your thumbs up here!

Have a great weekend and please see if you can get us more likes for our Facebook page and why not forward this email to someone?

Best wishes,

Ros Southern
Coordinator, Sophia Hubs Redbridge
E: M 07707 460309 / 0208 590 2568 (answer phone)"


R.E.M. - Stand.

Living on the Edge & St Luke's Day

Yesterday's Living on the Edge conference at St Martin-in-the-Fields was a day spent exploring how disabled people are finding new ways to use their experience of exclusion to improve understanding and address barriers to belonging. Through talks and workshops, using the art space, silent space and marketplace, this was an opportunity organised by and for disabled people, supporters and people with an interest in the issues to gather and resource each other and the church.

Naomi Jacobs and others tweeted about the day at #edgychurch and their tweets give a great flavour of the day:
  • We are kicking off! Fiona introduces this significant conference - *by* and *for* disabled Christians. This has been a year in the making.
  • Fiona recognizes contribution of the wonderful John Hull, involved in our conference from the beginning. He is sadly missed.
  • Sam Wells discusses disability as a story, an improvisation, a gift. Not blocking people but accepting others’ difference creatively.
  • Sam: concept of ‘over-accepting’, accepting in the light of a larger story. Receiving disabled people as a gift to the church.
  • Wonderful question to Sam - we have the right not to be ‘fixed’ by churches! They need attitudes fixed. Problem vs mystery.
  • "disability is not a problem to be fixed, but a mystery to be entered into..." Sam Wells
  • Sam relates the story of a disabled man living on the edge, who had a ministry to others - he created new rugs from old rags.
  • Talks from @naomi_jacobs on her research re disability & churches and from St Martin-in-the-Fields Disability Advisory Group.
  • Ann Memmott speaks on her work around autism in churches. Wonderful to have her & the other eminent speakers today.
  • At the end of the morning we heard from Richard Tillman and Eva McIntyre (from @MHEALTHCOFE). Now hearing from Susan Wolfe.
  • Susan quotes Jewish sayings. “If I am not for myself, who am I? If I am only for myself, who am I?” Activism and change.
  • Bernice & Celia from WAVE - church and social activities for people with learning disabilities.
  • Bernice & Celia: “If Jesus came back today, might he ask why our churches aren’t filled with people with learning disabilities?”
  • Disability and Jesus - Dave, Katie & Bill. User led org - disabled people speaking for disabled people.
  • Dave doesn’t need cure - he’s disabled, proud, and healed by a dog! Katie on being disabled and made in the image of God.
  • Katie from @DisabilityJ - “Do I need to be cured to be healed?” Owning her disability is healing. Might have crutches in heaven!
  • Katie: attitudes need changing first, in relationship. Bill: his healing started when he realized risen Jesus still had scars.
  • Very glad of Art Space as gentler processing space at @livingedgeconf.
I was privileged to lead the closing Eucharist together with June Boyce-Tillman. These are the intercessions I prepared for that service:

"Living God, at one time we understood you to be the one who is 'for' us over against those who we perceive as threatening us and our well-being in some way. Through the revelation of Jesus' incarnation we now perceive the deeper truth that you are with us and with all peoples everywhere, particularly in our experiences of living on the edge and being excluded. 

Therefore, we recognise that living on the edge can be both alienating and creative and pray that you will be with all those at either end of that spectrum, together with those who combine the two. 

We pray for those who experience living on the edge as isolating and alienating; praying both for welcoming communities that draw those who feel isolated into a community and also for a greater sense of community to develop among those called to live on the edge. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. 

We pray for those who live creatively and prophetically on the edge; praying that their voices and actions will be heard and seen and that your Spirit will bring a broadening of inclusion through their prophetic creativity. Support and sustain them in the task to which you have called them and enable them to know in their deepest being that you are with them in their ministry. We remember with thanks the prophetic ministry of John Hull and pray for all who have benefited from his teaching. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. 

We pray for your church which, like our wider society, often disables those within who are perceived as being in some way different; enable your Church to hear and respond to your people who live on the edge that we might be changed by those who live prophetically there while also including those who feel alienated there. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. 

We bring to you all those in our world who are on the edge because of conflict, lack of basic resources, disaster or illness; praying that all that is needed to empower such people to survive and to thrive will be found among them and shared with them. You have provided all we need for human flourishing; enable a more equal sharing of this world's resources that those currently experiencing scarcity can share in this world's abundance. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. 

Merciful God, accept these prayers for the sake of our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen."

We continued to reflect on these themes in the St Luke's Day Service at St Martin's this morning. This service included a liturgy prepared with our Disability Advisory Group, a poem, a dramatised Bible Reading, and the laying on of hands and anointing with oil, accompanied by prayers for healing.

The Eucharistic Prayer, to which I others had contributed, was as follows:

"Creating God, you fashioned all people in your image, shaping and forming us in the womb. You gave your people Israel a vision of a valley of dry bones brought to life, of vitality emerging from experiences of brokenness. In Jesus’ death and resurrection you walk with us on a path that leads through pain and dismay to newness of life. We look forward to his coming again to bring us into renewal and restoration. Therefore, with angels and archangels and the company of heaven, we join in your everlasting chorus of thanks and praise.


Restoring God, in the fracturing of bread and the pouring-out of wine your Son Jesus identified his passion with our struggles and your redeeming will. Send your Holy Spirit upon your people, that their lives may be transfigured by these signs of your glory. By that same Spirit, sanctify this bread and cup that they may be for us the body and blood of your son Jesus Christ. Who, at supper with his disciples, took bread, blessed and broke it and gave it to them saying, ‘This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ After supper he took the cup, again he gave thanks, and gave it to his disciples saying, ‘This is the blood of the new covenant poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ Great is the mystery of faith.

Great is…

Renewing God, your kingdom come on earth as in heaven, in signs of transformation and transfiguration. As your Son identifies with those experiencing poverty, discrimination, oppression and imprisonment, lead your people to solidarity in your kingdom by imitating your Son. As your Spirit empowers your children to share experiences of good news, restoration, renewal and freedom, raise up prophets filled with that same Spirit leading people through wilderness to life in you. Open the eyes of all who seek your truth to signs of your kingdom of justice and peace; until the day when all exclusion is transformed by the embrace of your love and all disadvantage transfigured by the triumph of your grace, ever one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen."

Sam Wells spoke on John 9, identifying three levels to the story:

"The first level is about faith that’s no different whether you’re disabled or not. Jesus is the overflowing love of God that brings about a new creation and gives us freedom, grace, and peace, transforming our social relations and making us missionaries for his kingdom. That gospel is beyond anyone’s personal circumstances. The second level is something many disabled people instantly identify with. It’s about community and relationships and prejudice and how when a disabled person asserts their identity beyond a simple assumption of deficit it unsettles established stereotypes and disturbs comfortable discrimination. That’s about going beyond pity and patronisation and entering a new world of discovery and learning that not everyone’s especially keen to participate in. When we say the gospel comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable this is precisely what we’re talking about. And the third level is a journey that makes sense of why many disabled people see their lives as more fulfilling than a conventional life. It’s about empowerment and vocation, about subversion and wisdom, about what only the blind can see and only the intellectually-impaired can know."


Bernadette Farrell - O God, You Have Searched Me.

Removing barriers to inclusion

Here is my sermon from last Thursday's Eucharist at St Stephen Walbrook (as usual, this sermon can also be heard on the London Internet Church website):

‘Attitudes towards disability affect the way people think and behave towards disabled people and impact on outcomes for disabled people in the way they are treated and able to participate in society. There are two distinct models of disability: (i) the medical model; and (ii) the social model.

The medical model looks at a person’s impairment and focuses on the impairment as the cause of disabled people being unable to access goods and services or being able to participate fully in society. Statements such as ‘he can’t read that newspaper because he’s blind’ are an example of people being influenced by the medical model of disability.

The social model looks at the barriers erected by society in terms of disabled people being able to access goods and services. It seeks to remove unnecessary barriers which prevent disabled people participating in society, accessing work and living independently. The social model asks what can be done to remove barriers to inclusion. It also recognises that attitudes towards disabilities create unnecessary barriers to inclusion and requires people to take proactive action to remove these barriers.’ (

Today’s Gospel reading (Matthew 9. 1 - 8) is about barriers faced by a paralyzed man in getting to and receiving from Jesus and is a story which, although the term did not then exist, uses the social model of disability.

The medical model of disability would have us believe that the man’s paralysis was the main problem he faced in getting to Jesus. But, in the story, this isn’t his main issue. Although he is unable to move himself because of paralysis, he has friends who can carry him where he needs to get to. Personal assistants or supporters often enable those who have disabilities today to get around in ways which they may not have been able to manage otherwise.

The issue here is not the man’s paralysis. Instead it is people around Jesus – the size of the crowd was such that his friends couldn’t manoeuvre their way through and the crowd clearly had no intention of letting the man and his friends through. It is the crowd, and not the paralysis, which is the main barrier to the man reaching Jesus. As a result, we see the social model of disability in action here, rather than the medical. The man’s friends make a reasonable adjustment to ensure that the man can reach Jesus, by making a hole in the roof and lowering the man through.

Next, Jesus addresses attitudes which cause barriers towards those who have disabilities. As a result, he is again working with the social model of disability rather than the medical model. The attitude he addresses is the one which says that experience of disability is caused by sin. This is the attitude which says in order to suffer from his paralysis, this man must have sinned greatly because he is now being punished heavily by God.

In John 9 we see this stigmatising attitude being voiced by Jesus’ disciples when they ask Jesus whether a blind man is blind because of his own sins or those of his parents. Jesus says, ‘Neither’, because the onset of disability isn’t in any way to do with sin. If it were, why are we not all blind when the Bible tells us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God?

Here Jesus challenges or subverts this disabling attitude by stating that the man’s sins are forgiven. In saying this, he is simply and clearly stating that sin is not a factor in causing this man’s paralysis.

It is only once these physical and attitudinal social barriers have been addressed and removed that Jesus then addresses the medical issue by healing the man of his paralysis. As a result, this story gives us a model to follow; a model which says, like the social model, that we achieve inclusion for disabled people when physical and attitudinal social barriers are removed. Whether the medical condition changes or alters is not the main issue because it is not the primary reason for the sense of exclusion that disabled people often experience.

The physical and attitudinal barriers which need to be removed in our day may well be different from those in Jesus’ day but they are just as significant in genuinely addressing exclusion and achieving real inclusion today, as for the paralysed man in this story from Matthew’s Gospel. Just like Jesus we need to be concerned about equality and inclusion, especially when that means (as it did for Jesus) working to bring change to the culture of our day.


Norman Barratt - Now I Know.

Start:Stop - The greatest commandment

Here is last Tuesday's Start:Stop meditation. The next Start:Stop will be at St Stephen Walbrook on Tuesday 20th October between 7.30 and 9.30am. Drop in for 10 minutes of quiet reflection on your way into work.

Bible reading

‘When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”’ (Matthew 22: 34 - 40)


There are 613 commandments in the Torah, which divide up into 248 positive commandments (Thou shalt's) and 365 negative commandments (Thou shalt not's). Jesus says that all these hang on the two commandments to love God and love our neighbour as ourselves.

A helpful illustration for the way in which these commandments work is to do with learning to drive a car. The idea is that you will quickly come to do most of the things “automatically”, changing gear, using the brakes, etc., and that you will develop the “virtues” of a good driver, looking out for other road users, not allowing yourself to be distracted, etc. This equates to taking on board and applying the positive commandments (the ‘thou shalts’ which are primarily to do with respect for others). But, going back to our driving analogy, the highways agency constructs crash barriers which, if we don’t drive appropriately, ensure that damage is limited; and rumble strips, which make a loud noise on the tyre if we drift to the edge of the roadway. “Rules” and “the Moral Law” are like those crash barriers and rumble strips. Ideally we won’t need them because we will have learned to develop the virtues commanded by the Law and will drive down the moral highway appropriately. But the rules are there so that when we start to drift, we are at once alerted and can take appropriate action.

The Law, then, is there to keep us safe. If we all abide by the Law – do not murder, do not steal - then we do not harm each other. That is good, but it is not enough. We also need to learn to love one another. That means doing more than the Law requires but to love in this way is also to fulfil the Law. That’s because, if the Law is about maintaining good relations between us, love becomes the fulfilment of the Law’s intent. This is why Jesus said the heart of the Law is found in these words: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” and, “Love your neighbour as yourself.” The intent of the law is that we live well together. The best way in which to live well together is that we love, therefore love fulfils the intent of the law. But the law cannot legislate for love therefore we must go beyond the law in order that we truly love.

To understand the way this works, another road based illustration is helpful; that of parents teaching their children the rules of the road. To begin with, when children are very young, the rules of the road are very restrictive i.e. the child must never cross a road without a parent and must always cross at a crossing with the parent and while holding the parents hand. As the child grows, they are taught new rules for crossing the road; stop, look and listen. Now, the aim is that the child learns to judge for him or herself when it is safe to cross the road. Eventually, the rules with which we began – don’t cross on your own, don’t cross unless you are at a crossing – are left behind because the child has learnt how to cross the road safely using their own initiative. We are able to use initiative because we have not only learnt the rules but have also learnt to apply them in our lives and situations. At this point, we are no longer restricted just to crossing the road at specific crossing places but can cross wherever we judge it to be safe to do so. So, we have gone beyond the rules by learning and applying the rules. In other words, we have found the true purpose of those rules which our parents enforced when we were young. In the same way, we need the Law to prevent harm but prevention of harm, by itself, does not guarantee good relations. For that, we need to genuinely love others and love takes us beyond the laws which prevent harm.


Law-giving God, we thank you for your laws which alert us when we begin to drift away from your way. We ask that as we encounter temptations within our workplaces to act in ways which deviate from your ways and standards, we will be alert to the warning signs you send our way.

Teach us to love you with heart, soul and mind and to love our neighbour as ourselves.

Enable us to maintain good relations within our workplaces by minimising scope for conflict or blame and by promoting respect for others. Enable us to go beyond minimum standards of behaviour by showing love to those with which we work.

Teach us to love you with heart, soul and mind and to love our neighbour as ourselves.

Loving God, you showed us what all-out love looks like when you sacrificed yourself for others. Enable us to love you and others with all our being and in word and deed. Help us to explore what that might mean in our workplaces.

Teach us to love you with heart, soul and mind and to love our neighbour as ourselves.


Being alert to drift, maintaining good relations, minimising scope for conflict, promoting respect, loving with heart, soul and mind. May those blessings of almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, rest upon you and remain with you always. Amen.


Barrett Band - Your Love.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Windows on the world (361)

Paphos, 2014


Bee Gees - World.

David Jones leaves out everything except the magic

Fiona MacCarthy salutes a modernist maker on the brink of a major revival by writing in today's Guardian about the work of poet and artist David Jones in advance of exhibitions of his work at Pallant House and Ditchling Museum of Arts and Crafts

She notes that: 'Kenneth Clark, in the mid-1930s, was describing Jones as “the most gifted of all the young British painters”. TS Eliot regarded In Parenthesis, Jones’s modernist epic of the first world war, as “a work of genius”. Auden judged The Anathemata, published in 1957, as “very probably the finest long poem to be written in English this century”.'

'One of his art teachers at college recognised his talent, saying of his work, “Look at that, you see, Jones leaves out everything except the magic.”'

MacCarthy suggests 'We need to view him as fundamentally a maker. He formed things with his hands as he shaped things in his mind, combining the visual and verbal with creative intensity not seen in Britain since the time of William Blake.'


David Jones - In Parenthesis.

'Gift' exhibition photographs

David Millidge documented commission4mission's 'Gift' exhibition which has just ended at St Stephen Walbrook. David sought to capture the overall feel of the exhibition in the grand surroundings of this Wren masterpiece. 

More of David's photographs can be seen by clicking here.


The Velvet Underground - Beginning To See The Light.