Back in July 1878, the Rev E.T. Prust laid the foundation stone of Abington Square Mission in the centre of Northampton. The 1870s was an era when non-conformist missions made a massive impact in towns and cities in the UK. As well as Sunday services, many of these missions ran 'ragged schools' to educate poorer… Continue reading How churches can avoid becoming strip clubs
Unforgiveness, pain, hatred, anxiety, gang violence... These were some of the issues that young people in our youth group wrote down as examples of things which spoil and scar our world. Perhaps most precious were the things written down which were too personal to share publicly. These were folded over. Each one was nailed to… Continue reading Young people are dying for hope – Easter is more relevant than ever
The Bible is central to the Christian faith. But it’s also long, complex and parts of it are offensive to many people. And that includes a lot of Christians… I have always found much of the Old Testament difficult, especially books like Joshua which contain so much God-instructed genocide. What are we to make of… Continue reading A great gift to the Church: ‘Paradoxology’ by Krish Kandiah [Review]
Today is the anniversary of the assassination of the Oscar Romero, the Archbishop of El Salvador. He was murdered by government agents while presiding over mass on the 24th March 1980. He was shot dead at the altar in the chapel of the hospital in which he lived. Romero had used his position to speak up about the… Continue reading ‘If the grain of wheat dies, it bears much fruit’ – Remembering Oscar Romero
This week I went to see a Salvation Army Officer who runs a church centre in London. As I walked in, he and a colleague were speaking with three women. As I waited, it became obvious that the women had problems with homelessness and drug addiction and that he knew them well. He and his… Continue reading The Cross: the ultimate place of grace and truth
In her memoir of her journey into (and then out of) church leadership, theologian Barbara Brown Taylor writes about young people leaving her congregation: ‘One way or the other, most of the children had left by the time they were thirteen. Twelve was the traditional age for confirmation...it was their turn to decide, we told… Continue reading Why the Church needs these Alpha males
We sing a song at my church with the words ‘Everyone needs forgiveness, the kindness of a saviour’. Most people today acknowledge the importance of kindness. Even atheists often respect the church for running food banks and night shelters. Being kind is generally appreciated. But the idea of needing a saviour is more controversial. Many… Continue reading Does everyone need a saviour?