Weaving Peace Together
Two significant events this month have got me thinking again about peace-making today.
The Flodden Commemoration - which concluded with a service of Peace and Reconciliation. I recalled the Battle of Flodden from history at school but learned a lot more about it recently. 500 years ago in September 1513, the English army defeated the Scottish army just on the English side of the border near Coldstream. It was horrific! At least 14,000 people were killed – mainly from a younger generation of men from Scotland. It was a privilege to be at the Solemn Commemoration, as well as at the service of Peace and Reconciliation, which was organised in part by the Northumbria Community. This service brought peace making up to date – in our own contexts. In the press release, Roy Searle quotes Mother Teresa of Calcutta: ‘Don’t look for big things; just do small things with great love.’
I saw this demonstrated at an induction service last week of a ministerial couple, Jo and Andy Williams in a church in Burnley. Here was demonstrated peace making rooted in the local…. Jo and Andy have been good friends for years and it is a joy to have watched their gifts develop. Andy is now serving the Faith Network for Manchester, encouraging and developing inter-faith and multi-faith work – as well as being co-pastor in Burnley. Jo is serving churches and communities through mediation, conflict-transformation and training – locally, regionally and nationally – and is also now co-pastor in Burnley. Jo and Andy bring distinctive gifts, rooted in Biblical ‘peace. The verse I took as the basis for my sermon at their induction was from Romans 12: 8:”If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Biblical peace ripples out from a relationship with God in Christ. I long for transformed communities and transformed churches to shine more brightly like stars in the universe.
(Ernie has prepared a series of 6 Bible Studies ‘Like Stars in the Universe’ based on our Assembly 2013 theme: ‘Reclaiming Philippians for Today’s Church’. Copies of this are available from the online shop – priced £3. Ernie encourages churches to join a conversation based on the themes of the study – see www.likestars.org.uk throughout this year)