News and Blogs
Lent: What are you Giving Up or Taking Up?
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday - February 17th, 2021
If you’ve ever wondered what Lent is really all about, then here are some clues.
Support the people of Tigray
As the war continues to be waged by both Ethiopian and Eritrean forces in the Tigray province of Ethiopia, the world has fallen silent. Here is a draft letter which you are asked to send to your Member of Parliament.
Laying the foundation stone for Union Chapel
Read the fascinating story of the laying of the foundation stone for Union Chapel. This illuminating account reveals an enormous amount about our history.
Thanks to George Allan for researching this.
A Reflection: Not in Our Name
The role of evangelical Christians in supporting the Presidency of Donald Trump, and their participation in the Capitol Hill insurrection, is disturbing. Christians need to speak out against what is being done in our name. This overshadows the contribution of progressive Christians and black church leaders in particular. This reflection on the call of Nicodemus explores what Christian discipleship really means in these dangerous times.
New Year 2021
I think there are a lot of expectations surrounding 2021, given how 2020 turned out. But while we have the promise of a vaccine and we are told that there is light at the end of the tunnel, our reality is that London is seriously threatened by Covid-19.
This is a season of hope and promise. There is something primeval in our celebration of the new year. We lace it with resolutions, commitments and determination that the year to come is better than the one before – that we will be wiser than we were – that we will be one step closer to achieving our ambitions and fulfilling our desires.
The year has just been born but it is born in a fearful time.
Mary - a simple response with earth shattering consequences
As Christmas approaches, we think of all who played a significant part in bringing about those momentous events. On the fourth Sunday of Advent we think of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
She is a model of Christian discipleship and today we honour her.
In the pink!
The third Sunday of Advent is sometimes called ‘Rejoice Sunday’. Here is a reflection on the readings set for this Sunday.
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 and John 1:6-8, 19-28
You may have noticed the pink candle this morning. It is a sign that we are half way through Advent. The white candle of Christmas day merges with the purple of Lent. And the point of the pink is…..
Church Pastor reports Bank Account Frozen
In what has been described as a political move, the Good Neighbour North District Church in Hong Kong report that their bank account has been frozen by HSBC. They believe it to be a response to the Church's assistance to young protestors railing against Beijing’s anti-democratic advances.
A young Christian, Joshua Wong, along with other activists has recently been imprisoned by the authorities in Hong Kong. These events heighten our awareness of the bravery and determination of Christians and many others in Hong Kong to have a democratic say in their future.
Union Chapel Church hosted a webinar in which we heard of the role of the church in defence of human rights in Hong Kong which is well worth revisiting in the light of recent events.
Human Rights matter for Christians as they express the imperative of love in the public sphere. We offer our solidarity, prayers and whatever support we can offer.
Voices in the wilderness
7 December 2020
Advent is a significant penitential period in the life of the church. It allows us to reflect on the narrative of the Hebrew Bible, which is crucial to understanding the significance of the stories of the birth of Jesus at Christmastide. Some may wish to celebrate Christmas before it comes but it really is worth the wait!
Our Advent Prayer
Advent this year takes place during fears for our health and wellbeing. It is also a time of crisis in the world and anxiety for our planet. Here, then, is our Advent Prayer.
An Advent Reflection
The church’s year begins with a bang not a whimper. It extracts some of the bloodthirsty macho language of scripture and wallows in it. It is language which foretells an end of time, dramatic, stretching our imagination to a point where it seems unreal.
The sky will be darkened – the moon will not give its light – stars will fall from the heavens.
30 years of Namibian Independence
STANDING BY SWAPO - BRITISH CAMPAIGNING FOR NAMIBIA By Randolph Vigne This paper was delivered at the International Conference on a Decade of Freedom: Celebrating the Role of the International Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa’s Freedom Struggle (10-13 October 2004, International Convention Centre, Durban, South Africa), organized by the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The conference papers can be found here:
A different judgement - Reflection on the Parable of the Talents
I hope it isn’t inappropriate to mention the Television programme ‘The Apprentice’ in the light of the American elections.
I am sure you will be familiar with the format – a group of ambitious people are given various tasks to prove to a prominent businessman that they would make a good member of their company.
A reflection for Remembrance Sunday
8 November 2020
Drawing on Micah 4.1-4.
A while ago there was a discussion as to whether the time had come to end the annual Remembrance Sunday. The generation which fought the First World War has now passed and those who remember the Second World War are only those who remember it as children, with a few exceptions.
We are the multitude
This reflection for All Saints Day is based on two Bible readings – Revelation 7:9-17 and Matthew 5:1-12
My grandmother used to talk, admittedly with a certain reverence, about TJ Hughes and Owen Owen. You may recognise those names as department stores. Nowadays they are owned by large faceless conglomerates. But Nain, my Grandmother wasn’t talking about her shopping habits. She would know Owen Owen and TJ (as she called him) not as part of her social set but as people she would see seated in her Welsh-speaking Chapel and who made generous donations whenever they were needed.
From the Archive
In 1891, Union Chapel hosted exactly the kind of meeting we are hosting today in our church. Refugees, victims of human rights abuses were listened to and supported. This fascinating article is from the Islington Gazette.
Faith in Hong Kong
9 October 2020
The fight for a stronger, fairer democracy in Hong Kong in the face of Beijing’s authoritarian advances is recruiting churches, within Hong Kong and beyond, to support activists and their campaign for freedom in the territory.
At a webinar organised by Union Chapel Church, founder of Hong Kong Democracy Council, Samuel Chu called for more action to be taken by churches in support of the Hong Kong democracy movement.
Chu said Hong Kong churches had been "shying away" from taking a stand and shown an "unwillingness to put their faith to the test politically".
A report of the event appeared in the US magazine Christian Today. You can read the article here.
Watch the video here
Thoughts on Creation
9 October 2020
The seasons are turning, and Autumn is well-established. Churches at this time of the year often have a harvest service. I imagine when this church was at its heyday, the church would be decked with fruit, vegetables, and flowers for the harvest service.
Anything we could do would look rather miserable in comparison.
Today I want us to focus on creation. There is nothing more topical or urgent. I believe that the church has something very unique and special to contribute to our concern for ecology, for the changing climate and the loss of species.
Our service will draw from different passages of the Bible. We will join the biblical writers first in celebrating creation, then in listening to the mourning of the earth for its destruction, then in the hope for the renewal of heaven and earth.