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FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD (Sabbatical Sundays 04)

‘Food, Glorious Food’, written by Lionel Bart, is the opening song from the 1960s West End and Broadway musical (and 1968 film) Oliver (based on the book Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, of course). The song is sung from the point of view of the children of a workhouse for orphans where they are forced […]

NEW LAMPS FOR OLD (Sabbatical Sundays 03)

Last Sunday Julia and I made a nostalgic trip (for me anyway) back to Greenford, Middlesex, and specifically to my home church, Greenford Baptist Church – a church which has experienced a significant renaissance in recent years becoming a very diverse, lively, multicultural church in comparison to the somewhat traditional very ‘white’ church of my […]

TIMES OF TRANSITION & TIMELESSNESS (Sabbatical Sundays 02)

Last Sunday, for our second Sabbatical Sunday, we visited Brookside Church in Lower Earley. Originally part of what was known as the King’s Church, Brookside became an independent church in 2001. Essentially an evangelical, charismatic church, Brookside is known for its close working relationships with the churches and charities of what is now known as […]

OLD WINE & A CROWDED CARVERY (Sabbatical Sundays 01)

Julia and I are on a three-month long sabbatical from (more-or-less) the beginning of January until the end of March. It is NOT a holiday, let me hasten to add, but a time when we will be working hard six days a week to hopefully get the bulk of our doctoral theses written up. Every […]

RISKY LIVING (New Year 2023)

It was the late John Wimber (founder of the Vineyard Network of Churches) who suggested that ‘Faith’ is spelled R.I.S.K. Julia and I were reminded of this at the beginning of this New Year when we read some words of Willie James Jennings (Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies at Yale Divinity School) […]

TIME TO JUNK THE JUNK (New Year 2023)

A week plus into 2023 seems an odd time to write about New Year Resolutions. I do so deliberately because by now most of those resolutions will have been broken. Julia’s ‘dry January’ resolution lasted a week … and yours you ask? Well the only New Year Resolution that I have ever managed to keep […]

GOD OF SURPRISES (Views from the Abbey 28)

A taxi driver felt a tap on his shoulder, lost control of his cab and went careering across the road, narrowly missing a mother with a baby in a pram, just avoiding a lamppost, and just managing to stop before crashing into the plate glass window of a shop! He apologised profusely to his passenger. […]

A FRUITFUL LIFE (Views from the Abbey 27)

In July 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people to walk on the moon. Buzz Aldrin marked the occasion by taking Communion and he read from John 15:5 ‘I am the vine; you are the branches. if you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from […]

A FRUITFUL VINE (New Year 2022)

Today is our Motto Text and Covenant Sunday here at Abbey. A Motto Text is meant to be some kind of inspirational text to carry/encourage us through the coming year. The dictionary defines a ‘motto’ as ‘a short sentence or phrase chosen as encapsulating the beliefs or ideals of an individual, family, or institution e.g. […]

PLEASE GOD, LET ME LIVE AGAIN! (Christmas 2021)

Do you have a favourite Christmas film? It may be a version of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol (with Alastair Sim as Scrooge, of course), or Irvin Berlin’s White Christmas (starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, or The Sound of Music (which is not strictly speaking a Christmas film but is on TV every Christmas nevertheless), […]