Monday, 29 November 2010

Advent ist Dezember - well not quite

In order to try and cut down on earlier and earlier Christmas commercialism the German churches have run a campaign called "Advent ist Dezember" Advent is in December. the only problem being of course that it isn't quite only in December most years.

Be that as it may I am enjoying two wonderful German Advent calendars. The first is pictured here and comes from "Der andere Advent". There are lovely pictures, reflections and poems on each daily double spread and it's deeply satisfying as well as being fun.

The other was brought home to me by Dr B and is the epd Advent calendar it's made on 25 cards like the "do not disturb" signs you hang on your door in a hotel. It's beatifully produced and I'm looking forward to reading the thoughts and biblical texts for each day.

And then also today my Alternativity star boxes and Epiphany boxes arrived, I'm looking forward to giving these away over the next few days.

Meanwhile my colleagues at the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance are calling on folk to sign up for their daily online Adventcalendar. They launch on world AIDS Day December 1.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Women at the table ...

I have just returned from the installation of Rev. Martin Junge as general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation. It was a lovely service, with glorious music led by Rev. Terry Macarthur, who is so full of enthusiasm and creativitiy.
One lovely moment I particularly liked was towards the beginning of the service when we sang Tenemos Esperanza. Martin left his place on the front row and came and joined us in the choir, accompanying us on his guitar and leading the singing of the tango rhythym and words in Spanish. It was good moment of the leader being one of the people, it symbolised something but it was also very authentic.
The other moment that moved me was having two women celebrating communion. There were so many women clergy and women bishops processing in alongside male colleagues. It was a colourful and heart-warming sight.
Having two women at the altar was also a real choice. On the United Nations Day for the Elimination of violence against women I was proud of Protestant churches who know that sometimes it is important to set up signs. This was one for me at least. So many photos of church events only have men on them, this said to me gently but surely, we are willing to share power, to give up power to try to begin being more fully a community of women and men together.
Earlier in the week I had listened to what I consider to be complete nonsense on the radio from some male clergy in the Church of England who were putting forward the argument that having women bishops or women clergy discouraged men from going to church. Oh dear they obviously haven't realised how much their own leadership seems for several hundred years to have discouraged men from coming to church - or maybe they haven't noticed.
Anyway this ought to be about celebration. A good, tuneful and colourful service to which some serious thought about signs and inclusiveness had been given. I felt nourished and blessed... and I so enjoyed singing such great music.
Martin also preached a great sermon which you can read here.
Oh yes and I tweeted the whole thing at
Sorry about my dreadful typing!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Dealers in purple - a sermon

Well here is my sermon from this morning. I think I shall call it "dealers in purple". I enjoyed praeching this morning, despite my sinusitis. Sometimes things just work and this simple service marking the UN's day for the elimination of violence against women on November 25 worked well by re-using material from earlier in teh year but framing it differently

Psalm 1
Acts 16 11-15

Blessed are those who build community for they will be blessed with the future

So, Brothers and sisters, women and men
How are you feeling this morning?
Are you feeling happy - thank God it's Monday!
Like those who meditate God's law in Psalm 1 do you feel like a tree planted by a stream of water?

Perhaps not (particularly given how very cold it is in the chapel this morning)
Perhaps you are feeling fatigued
even at the beginning of the week
perhaps compassion fatigue has set in
or commitment fatigue
perhaps you are wary and weary of new campaigns and challenges.

More than 20 years ago in one of the most privileged environments in the world I experienced the awful complacency and cynicism compassion fatigue can create
I was studying theology at the University of Oxford and all students for church ministry that year were invited to an all day ecumenical seminar organized by Christian Aid (I’ll spare you the details of how much of an ecumenical achievement it was to simply get all of the denominations to agree to such a day.) We gathered for prayers, there were lectures and workshops on various issues linked to development and advocacy. All of the workshops were able to take place with one exception. Almost noone had signed up for the workshop on women and poverty - I still remember Michael Taylor then director of Christian Aid, challenging us pretty forcefully about both our understanding and our commitment. He faced us with our own smugness and complacency about political correctness. Across the world then as today, the poorest of the poor are women. Of course this doesn’t mean that there are not men living in abject poverty – unfortunately there are of course millions of men and boys suffering from the iniquities of poverty, injustice and war. For every unjustly poor man there is an even poorer woman.

A Monday morning meditation is not the place to remind you of the statistics, you can easily look them up on google yourselves. But it is not a coincidence that some of the key areas for achieving the millennium development goals have to do with women’s health and the access of girls to education.
Later this week the UN will mark once more the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women. A reminder of one of the additional burdens women across the world bear.

However, before I continue in this perhaps rather ranting tone, I think I should remind myself of a couple of lines by one of my favourite poets and also invite all of us not to a rant but to a celebration:
The German poet Berthold Brecht wrote
"Even anger against injustice makes the voice grow harsh.
Alas we who wished to lay the foundations of kindness could not ourselves be kind."

Today I really don’t want my voice to grow harsh – not only because I’m nearly losing it thanks to my sinusitis. Today I want to point to the possibility and the reality of what we achieve as a community of women and men together. I don’t want to focus yet again on women as victims. I want much more to encourage us to commit to what we can do together as women and men.

Particularly this week when the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the World Council of Churches will mark the publication of a new book “In God’s Image From Hegemony to Partnership – a church manual promoting positive masculinities”

So with Fulata (on Friday) we looked for a positive female biblical role model who could speak to the community of women and men and we decided to choose the story of Lydia for this morning’s meditation.
The first person on the continent of Europe to become a Christian, to hear and believe in the good news is a woman – without her many of us here might never have become followers of Jesus Christ. She gave generations afterwards a future.

Lydia invites those with the message she believes in into her home, they are persuaded by her invitation.
She allows them close to her
She shares with them, together community is built

The evangelisers will move on

But one evangeliser will also stay put, in her own community, living out her baptism in her own place, converting those she comes into contact with through family life and business
Truly she is blessed with the future.

There was of course another reason Fulata and I chose Lydia
She was a dealer in purple 
Purple - the colour of the women’s movement,
the colour of nobility and royalty and riches
Was she a well off business woman or a poor worker selling on the dye she worked long hours to make? Scholars differ

When I think back to that ecumenical day in Oxford and particularly to the female colleagues I trained alongside from the Church of England, I admit to feeling a little sad and angry.

Not one of those women training with me can yet become a bishop and exercise the leadership of oversight in their church. When we were training together we still didn’t know whether they would be allowed to even become priests.
None of them can officially deal in purple yet … some have already retired before this will be possible for them.

(Perhaps I should add that I come from a church that doesn’t deal in purple for either men or women, those who exercise oversight have in recent decades included women. We did though ordain the first woman to the Christian ministry in Britain in 1917 – a year before women in that country had the vote. And just over two years ago we appointed the UK’s first woman church leader at the national level.)

All of us need to overcome fatigue and reinvigorate our commitment. One of the ways I do that is by reading detective fiction, issues seems to get resolved more finally than in some theological circles. I tend to feel that much of the best detective fiction is written by women. I was though surprised when re-reading one of my favourite authors Sara Paretsky - to find detective fiction also offering me encouragement and not just escapism:

"you must live in hope, the hope that your work can make a difference in the world."

Let us never fall into complacent fatigue
But let us never forget to celebrate what we are able to do together as women and men, men and women.

As I was thinking about some symbolic action we could all participate in together in this morning's service I realised that a really important practical thing we can commit to together would be to stand together as women and men for climate justice.

Annegret and I have prepared some of the posters and at the end of the service I invite you to hold the posters and take one another's photos with you mobile phones and cameras and then upload them to the campaign part of the WCC website as part of the photo petition. (or on facebook)
The posters read:
We Care for Creation
Climate Justice Now!
And this is my favourite, I think they used to say love your neighbour even when he plays trombone but this one says: Love your neighbour: Fight climate change

It is only by being together as the community of women and men who follow Jesus Christ that we will be able to combat climate change and so much else besides.
I pray that we may continue to build and celebrate that community.
In that way, bishops or not, we shall all exercise oversight and be dealers in purple, bearing witness to our baptism.

Blessed are those who build community
For they are blessed with the future


Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Another passing fragmentary thought ...

Today we sang Holden Evening Prayer and it was like coming home. I chose some poems on silence by Thomas Merton and R.S. Thomas to accompany the service. There was simple pleasure at gathering and singing, keeping quiet and listening together.

At morning and at evening prayer today I read from Leonard Cohen's Book of Mercy a good friend gave me yesterday. I had never come across his writing before and reading his 50 psalms has really been blowing me away to say the least. Very powerful.

But now looking back on my day and given all my recent pondering on fragments, I wonder whether my praying and practice of spirituality are not in some ways mere fragments of longing, for God and for myself. Does that make sense?

Anyway here is one of Leonard Cohen's Psalms (rendered into slightly more inclusive language):

Blessed are you who has given each person a shield of loneliness so that they cannot forget you. You are teh truth of loneliness, and only your name addresses it. Strengthen my loneliness that I may be healed in your name, which is beyond all consolations that are uttered on this earth. Only in your name can I stand in the rush of time, only when this loneliness is yours can I lift my sins toward your mercy.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Powerlessness and grieving for the future ...

Reading again about Henning Luther's theology of fragments and his idea that we all have some fragment of the future, a hope for future development, a longing (I bet the German word he used would have been the glorious "Sehnsucht") to go beyond what we are in the present, made me realise that part of my problem in recent months has been grieving for a future that will never take place.
Grief doesn't always make for clear sightedness - blinded by tears it is not easy to see either within or without. But just because one version of the future is no longer possible does not mean that there is no future. Anyway what right do I have to grieve for a future which never "belonged" to me anyway?
As I have been thinking about grieving and fragments, tears and trying to see both myself and the future more clearly I've also been thinking about power and powerlessness. People who know and experience me would probably be surprised to hear me talk about feeling powerless. Sometimes I wonder whether claiming to feel powerless isn't a bit of a cop out, a way of trying to be a victim or perhaps another way of avoiding taking responsibibilty for "things". Perhaps deep within I also recognise that claiming to be powerless can often be a way of denying the power I do have.
From the perspective of feminist theology where the image both of a God who weeps and of celebrating a God who is vulnerable and powerless has been important to my theological formation, I fin it then challenging to be the weeping person experiencing some powerlessness. Perhaps what I'm trying to say is that despite wanting to celebrate these more vulnerable, less almighty images of God I still have problems integrating them into my deeper spiritual understanding. Deep within me resides the judging God of my childhood; the weeping, vulnerable, alongside God I preach of and beleive in, and seem able to convince others of, is often absent for me. The integration of what I believe and what is going on within me is certainly still fragmentary at the best, and I realise that I am even here only partially able to name it.
Then as I was writing this, a gift from a friend came to mind. She sent me this quote:
"When I dare to be powerful--to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid." It's by Audre Lorde.
So perhaps as I wipe away my tears and remember my sense of powerlessness I must also dare to name and own that power I do have and simply move forwards. It may be painful, but I am sure it will also be joyful, for I have always known laughter and humour and that is a profound blessing.

More fragments ...

I have been re-reading an interesting article by Sören Asmus I am more than you think - Fragments and Diversity within. The essay explores identity and how the idea of fragments can actually help to put identity together. I was particularly struck by reference to Henning Luther's theology of fragments as formative for identity - fragments of the the past, fragments of the future and fragments of relationships to others. Asmus writes about interesting elements from on how we construct modern identity citing Anthony Giddens, Bonhoeffer and Amin Maalouf amongst others, but I think what I like is how he ends by pointing to the idea of developing a pilgrimage identity as a way of holding things together in a tension of movement. It's not easy for me to explain why I find this so moving and meaningful at the moment but I do. Here's how the essay ends, with a prayer from Jan Comenius:

As we are called to live our lives as being on our way to an aim which we will not fulfil, but which is promised to us, we might as well learn to develop the identity of a pilgrim people: the awareness that we do not “hold an identity”, but we are called to become what we are not yet. The theologian, pedagogue and reformer, Jan Amos KOMENSKY (COMENIUS), being a migrant for most of his life, expressed this attitude:
“I thank my God, Who has wanted that I shall be a man of longing for all my life. I praise Thee, my saviour, that You have given me on Earth no native country and no home. Thereby You saved me from the folly to mistake the accidental for the substantial, the way for the aim, the striving for the peace, the shelter for the home, the wandering for the native country.”

Monday, 15 November 2010

Reconciled diversity begins at home as we try to pick up crumbs ...

This morning the World YWCA and YMCA led the service in the chapel as they began their international week of prayer.

The service was drawn up by Terry MacArthur and Luzmarina Campos Garcia, you can find it at the end of the Week of Prayer booklets after the daily meditations. The service was a simple liturgical reflection on women building a safer world and used the encounter between Jesus and the Canaanite woman to focus our thoughts and prayers. She who says to Jesus but even the crumbs you might give to the puppies would be ok for me ... was it Chutzpah or humility?

Ana Vilanueva from the World YWCA danced both for mercy and with joy as we listened to music and readings from the gospel story. We received small pieces of brioche - as it came into my hand I realised I had not eaten breakfast - and we reflected on our lives in fragments, in crumbs - the bits and pieces nature of things. Later as we ate the bread we recognised the responsibility to transform even the tiniest crumb into hope.
And as I thought about the fragments and pieces of my life I realised that reconciled diversity - something we talk about so much in the ecumenical movement - it begins with me. With my ability to live with the inconsistent and jarring and lovely and loving and petty and good and laughing and weeping and clever and stupid and preachy and gentle parts of myself - and with all those pieces others are busy reconciling in their own lives...

Here is part of the text on crumbs from this morning:

Crumbs. We have so many in our lives. A crumb is a fragment of bread. A dispensable small thing that we easily throw to the dogs or in the garbage.
Have you ever felt like a crumb? Have your people felt like a crumb?
Despised, betrayed, dispensable? Have you ever treated somebody else like a crumb?

(The woman holding the crumb, takes it with the other hand and eats it) But we are not crumbs. We fight, shout, pray, get educated, hold together in the face of pain and suffering.
And we want more than crumbs. At this moment, while the crumbs come to you, you are invited to name the ways you have been overcoming fear, despair, exclusion, oppression, pain. Hold the crumb in your hands.

(after people get the crumbs)
Crumb, a dispensable small thing that in the mouth of a wise woman became an irrefutable argument changing Jesus’ way of thinking and acting. We continue being called to transform crumbs into bread, pain into company, exclusion into inclusion, oppression into liberation, despair into hope.
We are invited to eat the crumb we have in our hands as an affirmation of faith that our crumbs are being transformed into bread.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

World YWCA and YMCA week of prayer - women creating a safer world

This week is the World YWCA and YMCA's week of prayer. People from the two organisaitons will lead prayers this Monday in the Ecumenical Centre.

Each day of the week there are meditations on the theme of women creating a safe world and there's a good liturgy for groups to participate in. The booklet with the thematic material also contains daily Bible readings for the whole of the year ahead to be shared with the wide constituency of the YW and YM. Two organisations doing tremendous work across the world.

You can find the material online here and I should of course declare an interest as I wrote the daily meditaions and had good fun doing so. I shall be reposting some of the material here as the week progresses. Meanwhile I look forward to praying with all working for change so as to create a safer world for women and girls, a safer world for all.

Silence in the mind - with RS Thomas

I am trying to tidy up and as is so often the case I get sidetracked into actually looking at and then reading and now blogging about what I find in the various prehistoric levels of my desk and office.
Just now it is this poem by R. S. Thomas, it fits in beautifully with Elizabeth Gilbert's book Eat Pray Love which I'm reading at the moment and also with conversations I had while at the Church of Ireland Christian Institute in Dublin at the end of last week. Silence, the search for prayer and contemplation, the freedom which that gives.
I once described my desire to live in community to a colleague and admitted that I would of course have been "a noisy, nosey nun". Yet the discipline and the outer quiet of monastic life still appeals to me greatly, partly of course because I know I would take my own inner noise and turmoil with me wherever I may be.

Many years ago at Great St Mary's in Cambridge I attended a poetry reading and conversation with R. S. Thomas. I remember a shy, self-effacing man, who tried hard to give what he felt were adequate answers to the students and professors present that evening, yet the rootedness of his poetry spoke for itself.

Today I came across this in a book I should be putting on a shelf but which I shall continue to flick through for a few moments longer before teh noise of teh mess in my office finally calls me back to attend to it.

But the silence in the mind

But the silence in the mind
is when we live best, within
listening distance of teh silence we call God. This is the deep
calling to deep of the psalm-
writer, the bottomless ocean
We launch the armada of
thoughts on, never arriving.

It is a presence, then,
whose margins are our margins;
that calls us out over our
own fathoms. What to do
but draw a little nearer to
such ubiquity by remaining still?

"I'm so terribly sorry I think I may have to be taken to hospital ..."

Life has been busy. Despite a wonderful autumn holiday, I have been a bit stressed and also, well let's just say sad of late. Being a woman in my late 40s (I don't think I like writing that very much!) I'm also facing a problem of irregular sleeping patterns - many women experience this as the menopause begins.

On Tuesday evening nearly a fortnight ago we had as ever a wonderful encounter at our feminist theology group led by Anne Claire Rivolet. I was terribly tired and hadn't eaten anything much all day (anyone who knows me will know how rare that is!) until I got to feast upon a slice of Cornelia's delicious pecan and chocolate cake. (Cornelia provides tea, coffee and edibles to start our evenings.) The evening went well - as almost always - and there were nearly 20 of us there. I was very tired though - I had been interpreting non-stop all morning and been up late.

As we spoke about living in God's present, the session was also quite emotionally charged - at least for me.
Then while standing around chatting after most people had left I suddenly found myself saying to the person opposite me "I'm terribly sorry I think I'm having a stroke. Maybe I should go to hospital." I had suddenly found my tongue and lips not doing what I wanted - as if they had gone to the dentist. I was quite frightened - except that I was also quite calm, I wasn't at all sure whether actual words would come out of my mouth and be understandable.

And then after about 45 seconds, maybe a bit longer I was fine again and didn't need to go to hospital. But it was all a bit of a shock.

I'm so used to living in denial where my MS is concerned that I am not prepared for its more strange manifestations. The last time something like this happened to me was about 4 years ago when my left hand stopped working for about 30 seconds.

After we had all calmed down, one of the women said to me laughing "You know I think I'm always going to remember you apologizing for disturbing things by maybe needing to go to hospital for something serious." Oh dear ...

Anyway thanks to all who looked after me and drove me home. Afterwards I had something to eat, went to bed, slept and was up and well the next day.

So I give thanks.

Meanwhile a colleague who travelling in September was not so fortunate and is still receiving care for the stroke she suffered while in Scotland. Lois you are in our prayers, may your recovery be full and may all be well, especially now you are finally back in the US and closer to friends and family.

Between the past, present and the future at feminist theology

It is nearly two weeks since our feminist theology evening with the excellent Anne Claire Rivolet.
We are this year looking at "Between the past and the future, living in the present" at our encounters this year and Anne Claire invited us to have both a personal and biblical approach to the question of "living in the present"
She began by asking whether "living in the present" or "living the present" (the French is Vivre le présent) is the same as "consuming the present, building the present, suffering or being subjected to the present". What is the present that the God of Jesus Christ gives us to live?
She ended this introduction with the brilliant phrase "my faith inscribes me in a different time to my watch!"
She then asked us to think about the kingdom, God's commonwealth which calls us to be actors in the present. We then spent some time thinking personally about an image from our own lives that brought this idea together for us. Anne Claire also encouraged us to think of a gospel or biblical passage which heléped us see this more clearly.
As always we came up with come wonderful examples - livign in the present is looking at the wheat rather than the tares, to not look at the speck in others eyes or even the beam in our own but to focus on what is growing and good. some spoke of the joy of simple Christmas pleasures; of the joy of recognizing that one's church is outside the church and being in the present of unconditional welcome of the other...

My favourite story was of the heavily pregnant 42 year old single woman who distributes communion in her local Catholic church. Living in God's present, included fully by her church, carrying the future and knowing it will be her baby and God's child, offering a present taste of the kingdom to those receiving the host from her hands.

In this time of exchange I realised and was able to speak about some of my own recent pain and sense of hopelessness. The biblical image I chose to focus on was of the grain growing in secret from Mark 4:26 - to focus on what is growing now almost unnoticed until suddenly it is time for the harvest.
I spoke about how in recent months I had discovered how destructive of the present it is to live without any sense of the future, or any sense of having a role in making that future. As I said that with a heavy heart I also recognized how much this is the case for so many, perhaps even the majority of the world's population. Subjected to the adversity of the present without being given any real stake in the future.
I was also able to say though that in my personal depression something had broken through the previous evening, a kindly offer to take me home, an attempt to rebuild trust. Strangely it was only as I began to see the future again that I realised how much I had been missing it and weeping for it. Yet somehow the seed of it had been sown and was busy growing, I sense there is a long way yet to go until harvest yet I can see that perhaps the fields may turn green and then gold again.

As our discussion moved forwards looking at how the present is the time of revelation, God is revealed in the here and now. Given to us in our own time. Our human time when it is penetrated by the time of God becomes an incarnation.
Much of what Anne Claire shared with us and encouraged us to share together showed how it is spiritual understanding, the work of wisdom and spirituality which help us piece together understanding and commitment to God's future-filled present. this made me think of the work of Sarah Coakley and Grace Jantzen, both working in the area of feminist theology and both insisting on the insights of mysticism and spirituality for theological understanding. A great shaem that neither of them have been translated into French.

Anne Claire is about to move from her responsibilities at the Ecumencial Centre for Catechism here in Geneva to become part of the Swiss religious broadcasting work based in Lausanne. She'll begin on December 1 so we wish her well with this new professional challenge and with her recent marriage. Our thanks to her for imbuing our present with a sense of God's ongoing future. That's what helps us go on living and find meaning in the here and now.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Paint, pray, sleep ...

So I admit I am reading "Eat Pray Love" at the moment - and surprising myself by finding it very satisfying - (oh I do sound horribly sniffy) - it's a good read and full of insight.

Meanwhile here are some traces of my time in Dublin at the Church of Ireland Theological Institute. I can't really photo the great conversations I had there but I'm pleased I took my paintbox out for an hour or so. Good for the soul.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Afghan quilt - girls in Germany and Afghanistan stitch together relationships, meaning and hope

So here is an image of the wonderful quilt which was hung at the brilliant Verbal Arts Centre in Derry on Monday. The motto of the Verbal Arts Centre is "tell your story" (more about that later) and this quilt tells a powerful one. Young girls in Afghanistan embroider squares which they then sell in order to be able to pay for their schooling. Each of the squares of this quilt has one of those embroidered squares at its centre but the quilt was made by schoolgirls in a very multicultural part of Germany - each square has the name of a different country or of a German region sewn in writing onto it.
The quilt represents cooperation, learning and solidarity across borders. It also represents the possibility of building relationships in adversity. Young women helping one another without even knowing each other. Stitching a different future and offering all of us hope that things are already changing simply because of small and beautiful initiatives like this.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Cast lead ... bullets, bombs and blood ...

These are photos of the extraordinary textile art work by a German artist Heidi Drahota which is part of the Human cost of war exhibition in Derry. It's called gegossenes Blei - Cast Lead. This was the name given to an Israeli led action action against Gaza. Casting lead is of course also a game played at new year when molten lead is poured into water and you interpret the shapes. So we interpret the shapes of this poured lead ...
Those pretty hanging threads in this textile art are traces of bullets cast into bodies and houses.
Before knowing the story of this piece I was struck by it apparent beauty and technical accomplishment and then you begin to understand the reason for the metal in the red, the bloody mess of war and destruction - the human cost ... the human cost.

You can find the full catalogue of the exhibition here.

The Exhibition is curated by Roberta Bacic who has been organising major textile exhibitions of pieces of popular and professional work which tell a story both in Derry and internationally since 2007.

Another extraordinary day of rainbows, picking up threads and trying to understand creativity

So today I have been at the Tower museum in Derry visiting the exhibition called the Human cost of War which is made up of some stunning textile art and put together in part as a response to remembrance Sunday. I began the day coming in on the train through glorious countryside and seeing a rainbow rise from the sea, I ended it listening to a man from Kabul speaking about his hopes for the political and social situation for his country. I have listened to a woman speak about how her house was machine-gunned, another woman speak about her fear as a child that God was on the dictator Franco's side because this was what was written on the coins; I've seen young people brought into the story of the Chilean dictatorship by Roberta Bacic's wonderful story-telling; I've seen needles threaded and concepts struggled with and seen how creativity needs midwifery; and I've struggled to see how we could visualise just peace or an ecumenical theology of the cross; and I have stood in front the the poured lead quilt made by a German woman as a result of the the "cast lead" campaign against Gaza and been stunned by its beauty and then understood the terrible painful story it tells. The dangling silver globes are bullets ... this is blood and not poppies of remembrance ...
And then the huge red quilt of scraps of cloth for the number of people who died in "the troubles" here in Northern Ireland ... the scraps with teddy bears on them represent the children who died ...
so I have soaked all of that up and ... try to process that which it is not possible to process - pain, creativity, history ...
And meanwhile here in Derry the new peace footbridge is being built so that CAtholics and Protestants can walk to each others communities.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

An amazing day at Derry's verbal arts centre

So here is apost to say, yes I am still alive, I have had avery busy and enriching past week and now today have been in Derry in the first phase of commissioning an exhibition for the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation next year. I will try to post more about what I've been up to at the launch today at Derry's Verbal Arts Centre of an extraordinary quilt made by young women in Afghanistan and Germany. More about that in a later post - yes I promise I will get back to actually blogging soon! Meanwhile some photos will get posted like these of the word jugglers which I really couldn't resist.

Posted by Picasa