Sunday

7:30 a.m. – Holy Eucharist, Rite I (In-person only)

10:30 a.m. – Holy Eucharist Rite II (both in-person and online via FB & YouTube)

Tuesday

7:30 a.m. – Holy Eucharist, Rite II (In-person only)

9:00 p.m. – Compline (online via FB)

Thursday

12:05 p.m. – Healing Eucharist, Rite II (In-person only)

9:00 p.m. – Compline (online via FB)

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A Message from Duncan- October 17, 2023

A Message from Duncan- October 17, 2023

Jesus Wept Over Jerusalem.  He still Does.

 

Want to know my claim to fame?  Well, take a seat.  Here you go…  My mother was once portrayed in a major motion picture.  OK, it’s not as impressive as you think.  She was not a household name in any household except the one I grew up in. So no, I won’t sign your baseball.

The film she was portrayed in was the 1993 movie, ‘In the Name of the Father’, which was nominated for seven Oscars including Best Picture and Best Actor in a Leading Role (the amazing Daniel Day Lewis).

The film tells the story of the ‘Guildford Four’, the three men and one woman wrongly  convicted of bombing two pubs in the historic and beautiful Surrey town of Guildford in 1974.  Guildford is my hometown.  I was eleven when the Irish Republican Army (IRA) blew up those two crowded bars one Saturday night in October.  I remember my disbelief and fear the next morning when I saw the newspaper.  There were murderers in my town and none of us were safe.

For the next decade-and-a-half I felt uneasy when visiting London, anxious when boarding a train, and suspicious of every bag and fast-food container I saw unattended everywhere I went.  I remember checking under my mum’s car for bombs.  That’s the point of terrorism, you see.  To frighten people.

(Where did my mum fit into this?  Well, she was a lay magistrate, the lowest tier of English judicial arbiters.  She was on duty that day when the Guildford Four were bound over and committed – by her – to trial.  She was portrayed for all of 3 seconds in the film.  I know this is feeble attempt at a claim to fame, but it’s all I’ve got.)

‘The Troubles’ as the British and Irish quaintly call the paramilitary war fought on those two islands, ended in 1998.  It was a glorious day.  It proved that even terrorism can be overcome with prayer and the willingness of all sides to negotiate.  In intergenerational conflicts, each side can point to the other’s atrocities and frame their own outrages as mere responses to the injustices they are suffering.  It takes superhuman goodwill for one side or the other to lay down their arms and boldly say, ‘enough’.

Terrorism, and the response to it, have been on my mind in the last ten days as we all have been horrified by the murders committed by Hamas, and disturbed by thoughts of what comes next.  As your senior pastor, I’ve wanted to write something in response to these terrors.  I’m finding it extremely difficult.  Public statements are fraught with risk … How to declare your love for the Israeli people without implying that you agree with all of their government’s policies regarding Palestine?  How to condemn the mass murder of civilians without implying that Palestinians now deserve whatever’s coming to them?  I’m glad I’m not a diplomat.  This is just my side hustle.

I’ve been reflecting on my own feelings, experiences, and beliefs.  I have also read some things online – stuff that world leaders, church authorities, and Middle East experts have said in the last few days.

  • I read some nice nuggets of wisdom, like “Peace will only come to the Holy Land when Israelis and Palestinians – Jews, Muslims and Christians – feel secure and live in justice.”
  • I read some humbling and godly thoughts, like these from the Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches, a collective of thirteen Christian leaders including the Most Rev. Hosam Naoum, primate of the Anglican province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, “We raise our voices in unity, echoing the divine message of peace and love for all humanity and to advocate for the cessation of all violent and military activities that bring harm to both Palestinian and Israeli civilians. We unequivocally condemn any acts that target civilians, regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, or faith,”
  • I’ve listened to Bishop Glenda’s hope-filled and inspiring video message here, https://vimeo.com/873837223.
  • I’ve read a detailed call by Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), that implores “Respect for human rights of all in the region, including refugees and displaced people, based on full observance of the Geneva Conventions, relevant UN resolutions, and other international law agreements; and the condemnation of anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, and anti-Islamic actions and all other forms of racism or bigotry in rhetoric or actions that dehumanize, stereotype, or incite distrust or violence toward anyone.”

Part of my self-reflection has been to examine my own prejudices and fears.  Is there a root of anti-Irish feeling lingering in my heart from the night the IRA came to Guildford?  So along with my prayers for the protection of Israelis and Palestinians and prayers for a just and permanent peace, I’m forced to add a prayer of repentance. So, let us pray – it’s just about the only thing we can do.

Duncan