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Living out discipleship

Our world is faced with many troubles, and there are many trials we ourselves go through.

How do we maintain strength? To confront the wrong which takes place in our world whilst confronting day to day troubles is a difficult task indeed.

Or is it that we just ensure we're standing with the right God? The God of the marginalised, the poor, the sick, the oppressed. Because he stands with all who worship him; so long as it is him.

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Being and Presence

We feel his Presence ourselves when we see it reflected in the countenance of another. This becomes a cycle reflected concurrently in the life of a believer.

The Holy Spirit is the internal which becomes external. We truly are the instruments of God's love in this world.

Yet, never by forcing ourselves, but in our trust and our patience; this begins the path to action; the path towards imitating God's steadfast love.

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Being with God

What does it mean to be with the Lord our God? Do us Christians have a special privilege? Are we set apart by faith?

Or, is being with God and knowing him something we all have some experience of, in our loves, joy, pain and confusion?

Let's give our full selves to the hope our Lord offers; let's make it past struggles, let's understand the way he holds us all.

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How long? Not long

"Martin Luther King was faced with the question which was posed again and again by civil rights activists – how long? How long before justice prevails over prejudice and discrimination.

His answer was simple – ‘not long’.

We need to hear God say that to us."

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Tough Minded and Tender Hearted

"Dr King was talking about our gullibility to advertising and marketing and to our unthinking acceptance of whatever the media tell us."

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Reconciliation

The fulfilment of our own needs are directly linked to those of another. We can only do what we can in this difficult world, in these difficult times, but we must be our best selves in the face of hardships.

We do this not only for ourselves, but for the good of all who we know; let them see the light of the gospel in a smile, in a gesture. Let all know that God stands with us all, loves us all, and is giving to all, always, even in times of great struggle.

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A Time to Break Silence

"It is possible to move into a new country in ways that are mutually beneficial. And, Mr Putin, there are ways not to do it."

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The Time for Peace

The time for war, many would believe, is beyond us now. Nothing is to be achieved by wars for our world. Yet, the war in Ukraine is only one of many wars taking place on the world stage.

Let us stand, in whatever way we can, with the people of Ukraine, and all who are affected by war. This world, and its people, deserve better.

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The Heights and the Depths

Luke 9:28-42

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Throwing our Anxieties onto Him

His Spirit is like a game of chess that I win by giving up the pieces (but I don't really WIN the Spirit; and that's the whole point).

We don't need to worry in his hands, in his loving embrace and in all he offers to us.

By giving up our worries, we win everything.

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From Victim to Survivor

"As humans we must bury our hurts. We can’t live our lives constantly allowing our inner pains to hold us back.  But don’t we want just to cry out sometimes."

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Regaining

We give, and he returns double unto us. We spend our time with others, and he always ensures it be valuable.

Such does our God for us, always, and forevermore.

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The Promise of Faith

"Life is complicated and it turns out that perhaps we weren’t the goodies after all."

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A shield all around me

Burdened, lost to hardships and lost in our own eyes, yet protected always, knowing or unknowing. I seek to be blinded not by an unfeeling world, but by You and your light.

Such is the way to be.

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‘Here am I, send me.’

"Discipleship is this combination of fear, amazement, and risk-taking."
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A supportive community

"If he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account." - Philemon 18

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Remembering the Holocaust

30 January 2022

"They are upset by the notion that God is not exclusive. God is not the God of our clan, tribe, nation but a God whose love is capable of surprising anyone and everyone."

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A love unseen

"and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen" - Exodus 33:22-23

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Feast of Transformation

Wedding at Cana of Galilee (John 2:1-11)

 

You can easily be forgiven if your first thought on the Gospel reading was – that must have been some party. 

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What is Advent?

We live in strange and messy times.  We are still challenged by the pandemic.  We remain anxious at the inadequate responses to climate change.  The victims of war are abandoned.  We need God to lead us from this troubled world to his promised land of freedom and peace.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…..

Cheer up!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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:

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A different judgement - Reflection on the Parable of the Talents

Matthew 25.14-30

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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