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Showing posts from June, 2018

Deciding where to live

The first ministry decision I had to make when I was appointed to Cardiff was deciding where to live. And this really was a ministry decision, a theological decision, a spiritual decision. My work is, in its simplest form, to love my neighbours. To be true to that calling I really do need to be a neighbour. My calling is to be a citizen: to live, work, shop, vote, walk in the city I'm called to serve. I could not do it any other way. My calling is to be as committed as I can be to a particular place; to be a neighbour. I decided to live in Canton. Though it could have just easily have been neighbouring Riverside, it just depended what place was available when I was house-hunting. I wanted somewhere close to the city centre with stuff going on. A place that felt more like a neighbourhood and not just a place where people live. Canton, I guess, is much like a lot of inner city areas. It is neither the "worst" area nor the "best" area in Cardiff. It is fai

Love where you live: this is how it starts...

(Published in The Inquirer , 2 June 2018) It is Sunday morning and I am not in church. This is still a new experience for me. And a strange experience. Instead of being in church I am in the streets, with a litter-picker in one hand and a bin bag in the other. I have joined a local litter-picking group supported by Keep Wales Tidy and I am meeting other people who don't go to church, but who gladly give up their Sunday mornings to make where they live a better place. My job as a pioneer minister is to be with these people. My job is to build relationships with the "unchurched" populations of this city, to be a citizen where I live, demonstrating my faith by committing to love where I live. But what is the point of it? Am I trying to grow our church in Cardiff? Am I inviting people to come along to our afternoon service? Well, no. I am not trying to grow our church. I am not trying to fill up pews. I am not trying to get people to come to services. I am

The army on the streets of my city

I always shudder when I see the military. I just can't get past the institutionalisation of killing; I can never feel comfortable with an organisation who's primary purpose is violence. It makes me very uncomfortable, frankly it scares the hell out of me. This week I was made to feel this way when I saw the army outside Cardiff Castle, with a climbing wall being used by small children. I saw children and parents queuing up to use the wall. It was half term outside a major tourist attraction. I saw families being shown a massive artillery gun. I saw a child look curiously at a rifle on a table apparently unsupervised (I'm sure it wasn't loaded). I felt sick. I don't want to see weapons of death on a lovely sunny day in my city. It disturbs me to see children being socialised into thinking this is normal, this is OK. This is a kind of a soft PR exercise, an opening for the recruitment of children into the military. It made me feel literally queasy. I felt i