05 July 2008
Inaugural address by Revd Stephen Poxon new President of the Methodist Conference
The new President of the Methodist Conference, the Revd
Stephen Poxon, has called on the Church to celebrate God's grace
and transform the world. Speaking on the opening day of the 2008
Methodist Conference in Scarborough, Stephen invited the Church to
"begin to grapple with how this wonderful grace of God might
transform the world."
Stephen also spoke passionately on the situation in Zimbabwe: "We look in horror and sorrow at what has been happening in Zimbabwe. How slow as a nation we have been to condemn Mugabe and his regime, and only now are people waking up to the violence and genocide? We must continue to find ways to express our solidarity with all those who struggle for justice, freedom and peace.
Stephen also offered his "thoughts and prayers to our friends in the Anglican communion" on the eve of the Lambeth Conference. The five-year-old Anglican-Methodist Covenant will be discussed by both the Methodist Conference and the Church of England's General Synod.
In his address, which marks the start of his year of office, Stephen recalled how he and his wife Myrtle arrived as a young couple in Jamaica to work with a church there. He said that the love showed by the people there did much to shape both of them, and gave examples of other acts of extraordinary kindness shown by people who had little or nothing for themselves.
Following the 2007 decision by Sheffield to become the UK's first "city of sanctuary," Stephen called for more places to follow that example by recognising "the contribution of asylum seekers and refugees to the city of Sheffield, and committing 'to offering hospitality to people who come here in need of safety from persecution.'"
Stephen spoke about hospitality as a key example of grace, and expressed regret that the Church has not been more hospitable in the past towards people who moved to Britain. But he celebrated the modern examples of church work with asylum seekers and how Methodist churches are being hospitable to their communities, to children and young people and to other faiths. As chair of the Methodist North Lancashire District, Stephen has seen many examples of churches working with the large Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities there.
Stephen is married with four children. His wife, Deacon Myrtle Poxon, was Vice President of the Methodist Conference in 2004-5, and they are the first married couple to have held both posts.
The full text of the address follows:
CELEBRATING GOD'S GRACE - TRANSFORMING THE WORLD
Over the past years there has been a growing theme within the church - of our need to re-engage with society, of needing to listen to the world, to be aware that we are on the edge of God doing something new, a new Pentecost, a renewal Yet where does all this come from? What is under girding it all? No simple answer but one word which keeps coming back to me again and again may be a key….that powerful yet gentle word 'grace'
We are people of grace….and I invite you this afternoon to celebrate with me God's grace and to begin to grapple with how this wonderful grace of God might transform the world.
Offering and Celebrating Grace
Myrtle and I were stationed as probationers to Jamaica….family and friends told us how much they admired what we were doing, going as missionaries to the Caribbean….yet they and we had not thought it through. For what about the people of Jamaica, in particular the St Ann's Bay circuit - they didn't know us. didn't know if we would love them and minister among them….but they received us, they accepted this young couple from the UK…..and they loved us and shaped us and so much of what I am today is due to them…..it was an act of grace…of love being given to us so freely and without any demands…. Story of Miss Freda .and perhaps it was encountering such grace in the people we quickly gave them our love and shared so many happy years among them
Here is grace - the redemptive activity of divine love - the love of God, totally undeserved, freely given/offered to all people
I am thrilled that my dad is here today, 88 and still leading people to faith as he drives up the M6 to visit us, but my mum died10 years ago. When I was born I didn't naturally love my parents but through the love they showed me I began to love them too. This is my experience of coming to faith…not by some sudden conversion but a gradual awakening to God's love around me…in family, friends, creation, in life…..and I began to offer my love to God
So what does it mean to live in God's grace?
It is to live in the knowledge that we are loved and accepted for who we are.
To live in Grace - the assurance of being in the presence of total ultimate love
Here is one of the important discoveries of faith…..
That those who have experienced God's grace are called to celebrate and share it - this is none other than the purpose of the church - the mission of God - to share his love revealed in Jesus.
- amazing grace!
I was invited to share in the centenary of Christianity arriving in the Solomon islands in 2002. That is a wonderful story of God's grace in itself…but another day! I was the rep from our Church and there were others from Australia, NZ, Canada PNG, Tonga, Fiji and other Pacific countries. People travelled by canoe and boats of every size to Munda and on the first evening I was sat on the ground with hundreds of others watching the various choirs and dancers performing……the man next to me, l;esley, introduced himself rather shyly as a minister from one of the islands and he later went on to say that their Moderator had encouraged them to speak to the people from overseas as they were 'important' ! Each day Leslie would find me and we would have a conversation and then on the last day he asked me to come and meet his wife who had been ill. We stood under a tree and Barbara handed me a small parcel wrapped in newspaper fore my wife…I opened it (as was expected) and it was a string bag ……and then Leslie gave me a parcel wrapped in coloured paper. I opened it…and this is what he gave me…an embroidered pillow case…one of his members had given it to him…and he wanted to offer it to me! a moment of grace…a gift freely given..
But it is not only at the individual level that we see God's grace but within the world and all creation:
Some of the stories and pictures coming out the recent disasters in Burma and China - people found alive days after - moments of grace…as the rescuers loving hold the traumatised woman, the screaming child……
Moments of grace we have seen across the sea in Ireland…..where miracles of peace and reconciliation continue to unfold
There have been times when I have been overwhelmed by God's love at work in the Church and the world….but also times I have felt deep sorrow as I have wondered where God's grace has gone!
We look in horror and sorrow at what has been happening in Zimbabwe. How slow as a nation we have been to condemn Mugabe and his regime…..and only now are people waking up to the violence and genocide…..where is God's grace in all of this? We, and our Government, must support in every way possible the initiatives of the African Union Summit meeting in Egypt this past week. We must continue to find ways to express our solidarity with all those who struggle for justice, freedom and peace. To this end our offering in tomorrow's morning worship will be specifically for the use of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe in the rebuilding programme of their nation.;
As difficult as it can seem at times God's grace is ever present ..even in the worst of all suffering.
Here in Britain when a mother whose son has been stabbed can offer forgiveness and sympathy to those whose lives are so messed up they live in such a violent world.
So here is grace - freely given to all people….
Not just Methodists…not just Xns…not just to those of faith…but to all people…..
even though we don't deserve it
and when we feel grace is absent…….it is me, it is us, who choose not to live within it…
These past few years have been difficult for us as a denomination….feels like we are on a constant steep decline…our ex President, as with the others, has shared stories of great encouragement…but has clearly stated that there are those churches who are so stuck into their past they will die! We have gone through a painful re-structuring process, particularly within the Connexional team, and there have been times it could have been handled more sensitively and showing much more grace. Circuits, churches are looking at bigger circuits…coming together…and only if this is for mission will it be fit for purpose…….but for the average church member it is threatening…it is a constant time of change…
How can we move through this period of change…..is there any constancy…….
There is God…There is Grace
We need to rediscover and reclaim our Armenian heritage - that Jesus lived, died and rose again for all humanity…in every place and every time……it is the loving action of God…and depends on nothing we try to do….it is all of God…...it was this Gospel of grace which made the Methodists an 'evangelical movement'… not as the word denotes today…but in the words of Wesley: salvation was for 'every soul of man' - and 'Come, sinners, to the gospel feast, let every soul be Jesu's guest'
But how does this relate to our multi faith and multi cultural society……..what does God's grace for all mean in this context?
We need to continually be people of grace - to not only share grace but to be able to receive grace again from our neighbours, from the World Church…the world community
So the question is how can we make space for the happening called grace?
SONG - Amazing Grace
The Chairs of District in the NW gathered three weeks ago for a jolly. To meet together with our spouses and say farewell to David Emison and his wife Vivienne….although they were hosting their own party!! David hired a clapped out minibus for the afternoon and drove at death defying speeds around the twisting narrow lanes of the Lake District. We made a number of stops and each time out came the folding table…and table cloth, glasses and a variety of drinks and nibbles…this was but a foretaste of the wonderful banquet awaiting us at their home…what hospitality….
Hospitality. Here is Grace- love freely offered…
There are countless stories in the Old Testament where hospitality is seen as the normal attitude of welcoming strangers. They are treated as honoured guests and there is real surprise when hospitality is not offered. The prophet Isaiah sees hospitality to the needy as a mark of true religion:
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Is 58:7
We discover in some of the stories that the guests carry precious gifts with them which they are eager to share with a receptive host. When Abraham received three strangers they revealed themselves to him as the Lord announcing that Sarah his wife would give birth to a son - at least it caused a laugh!.
This joy of both giving and receiving has been my I experience through life. Henri Nouwen wrote: "We often go to the poor to give them what we have, but we always stay because of what they give to us." It means that the distinction between host and guest proves to be artificial - this is what we found in Jamaica….and time and again since.
This theme of hospitality also runs through the New Testament. In the parable of the final judgement in Matthew 25, people are judged according to the hospitality they have offered. Jesus is welcomed at Bethany, Lydia offers to accommodate Paul and his companions, and later Paul urges the Christians in Rome to: "Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers" (Romans 12:13) and elsewhere he tells the Church that it should be given in the spirit of love and without complaining. Christian hospitality then should not be done grudgingly, nor as a duty, but the glad and determined act of a cheerful giver. - it is grace personified!!
Sadly this has not been the experience of many who have come among us in recent years. The Caribbean community who came to Britain at our invitation in the 50's rushed to what they saw as 'their mother churches'. Yet, as we now know to our loss, many had a cool reception and this in part has led to the setting up of the 'black led' churches in our nation.
An important part of hospitality is the sharing of meals, and many churches today are rediscovering the importance of meeting around food offering a safe space for people, helping them to relax and to open up conversations.
So what could it mean for us as a church, and as a nation, if we explored more fully this concept of gospel hospitality? I take it for granted that our premises are being used by a rich variety of groups, some church based like women's fellowship, other community based like parent and toddlers and others are self help groups like AA…..but there is a world of difference between allowing groups to use our buildings and offering them hospitality and all the risks and opportunities which this brings.
To the Community
We are constantly being challenged to discover new ways of engaging with the community. There are many examples right across the connexion - fresh expressions, Hope 08…... One that is bearing fruit in Bamber Bridge, Lancashire is the 'Just Fair Laughs' initiative where the church organises 'clean comedy' nights once a month based in the local Con Club. There are usually 3 comedians who willingly accept the 'charter' about what is in/out for jokes…….and so far they have sold out each time with a fairly even split of church and non-church people attending. The hope is that a group of community people might be able to visit a fair trade project in the coming months…but meanwhile it is becoming an opportunity to share the gospel in a unique way.
To children and young people
We have 9 Methodist Schools in the District and they have worked to create a marvellous resource on Christian values to be used in schools and churches. They gathered together to share what each group had done and saw the finished cross that they had helped create. Over 60 children from the schools were fed by the church and there was a sense of awe as we shared together. Many of our ministers go into schools to share in worship but what about being host to your local school for a special event?
Young people feature almost daily in the news headlines at the moment - for another stabbing or racial attack or being drunk….and the threat of asbo's doesn't seem to have much effect. 'There's nothing to do in the evenings'…there's nowhere to go on Friday night'…….
A good n umber of us here grew up attending youth clubs…some of us even came to faith through MAYC/BB/GB…….but as I look around there is little open youth work going on…not so bad with children…but teenagers…too scared….not enough staff….
But then those churches that do open themselves up…and are hospitable…and count a good evening as only having 3 fire extinguishers let off, and a clock broken by a flying football….these need the support of our local councils…yet so often when we apply for funding we are turned down because they don't support the faith sector….yet this has been part of the government initiative for the past years…we have to challenge those in local government to get real…..to catch up with the government policy and to fund churches in their offer of hospitality to young people…
To people with mental health and learning difficulties
During his ministry, Jesus constantly sought out and healed those on the fringes of society including those who would now be recognised as suffering from mental and other disorders. The helpful leaflet launched at last year's Conference,' Out of Solitary Places' states that '1 in 4 British adults experience at least one diagnosable mental health problem in any one year…' It is therefore imperative for churches to make special efforts to welcome and involve people with mental health and learning difficulties in their life and worship. A good number already host Causeway services where those with learning difficulties are enabled to worship and encounter God in ways that are meaningful to them.
Over these last few years whenever we have had to cut back on circuit staff one of the first areas to go has been where we have engaged with people outside the church. In particular we have slashed our commitment to ministry in the area of HE and FE. Many of us are in the church today because of MethSoc's, Ecusocs. CU's and similar Christian groups. For 11 years I was privileged to be the Methodist/URC chaplain to all the institutions of HE in Cardiff and after my first year the Cathays Church became the home for hundreds of students from around the world. They were from all kinds of Christian background and none. We saw many come to faith and even more challenged to think about the deeper issues of life. They in turn offered hospitality to others, including them into their love…..I remember Ben Knighton, he wasn't a student but of similar age……his mum, Anne, had died….Ben was suffering from epilepsy…..he would attend evening worship at Cathays with the hundred or so students and young people but half way through he would nip out for a cigarette…and then over to the pub…I knew it was a good service if he came back!
We need the courage to once again invest in this sphere of ministry and our churches again to become open homes for students to come and find love, warmth, challenge of faith and of course if offered through food it is especially welcome!
To Asylum Seekers and Refugees
Over the past few years hospitality towards asylum seekers and refugees has been at the heart of some of our church's ministry. There are many stories of particular congregations caring for people who have fled for their lives and found their way to Britain only to be threatened with deportation. But this is happening all around the world.
On my recent trip to South Africa I was taken to visit Central Methodist Church in the centre of Johannesburg. This huge complex has been transformed over these past couple of years by the ministry it has offered to asylum seekers and refugees. We walked in through the front doors of this four storey building, past groups of people hanging around the entrance, stepping over people sleeping in the corridors as the odour of urine filled our nostrils. What was once a 'white prestigious church' with beautiful premises is now a refugee centre for about 1200 people sleeping in every area, except the sanctuary, night after night. They feed about 1800 people each night as well as taking food to the hundreds of homeless who sleep rough around the train station. There are a variety of projects inter-linked to this ministry among refugees. One that made me smile was the crèche for about 20 babies allowing their mothers to go out and work - all the babies had been born in the church! That's what I call natural church growth!.
It is not without cost. There is a growing tension within the country about the growing number of refugees from Zimbabwe.. There have been police raids of the Church and we have hear reports of violence against foreigners and know that the Church is often walking a fine line between offering hospitality and rousing up resentment from within the wider community.
My own thinking on this has recently been challenged by Inderjit Bholgal who shared with me the concept of Cities of Sanctuary.
The roots of sanctuary are thousands of years old, and as the Hebrew nation was being formed they established 6 towns of refuge/sanctuary (you can read about it in Numbers 35). These towns were able to give refuge even to foreigners. This concept of sanctuary was adopted by the Church in Europe and became legally recognised but often got caught in the competing claims of authority between Church and State. Over recent years the concept of Sanctuary has come to the fore again in different parts of the world and on the18th June 2007 Sheffield became the UK's first city of Sanctuary. The city recognise the contribution of asylum seekers and refugees with over 70 organisations being 'committed to offering hospitality to people who come here in need of safety from persecution.'
Many of our congregations are being enriched by such people from across the world. Individually we often take up their case for legal representation, pastoral and practical support…but is this something we as a Methodist Church want to get involved in and encourage other places to become cities of sanctuary?
To Other Faiths
These past 8 years as Chair of District have been in Lancashire where a significant part of our population comes from Bangladesh and Pakistan. In some parts of East Lancashire it has been seen as a threat to the churches and many are struggling to survive. Yet others have realised the rich opportunity this all affords. There are wonderful stories of imaginative ways that people are meeting with people of other faiths.
Building Bridges in Burnley came into being following the disturbances in the summer of 2001. It got off the ground through the support of the local churches and was helped at a critical time by a grant from our own Methodist Church. The uniqueness of this project is that it is based in the Ibrahim mosque. From here the group of committed people of both faiths try to build bridges of understanding in a number of ways. One of these is through having large events hosted by the Muslim or Christian community where they get over 400 people sharing in one another's food and traditions.
For me the special moment has been when Graham Carter visited as President of Conference. As we sat around talking to one or two people the 'call to prayer' was heard. He was quietly invited to address the men at Friday prayers…….a real moment of grace!
To other churches
What is God saying about our future ecumenical journey? How can we offer hospitality to other churches? We need to work for a reconciled unity which is informed by the mission of the church….learning to be Christians Together and not Churches Together. Yet even as I say this our thoughts and prayers are with our friends in the Anglican communion as they are in danger of being split apart even on the eve of the Lambeth Conference.
One of the most exciting things happening within the church today is the way we are being renewed by the growing number of people from around the world who come among us. We have hopefully learnt from the 50-60's and people from Asia, Africa, S. America, Europe, Pacific……. find a warm welcome. Some of our sister churches are seeing real growth with the large number of people of faith coming from Eastern Europe…..and we are becoming aware of more and more 'ethnic' and 'language' congregations within our midst - Chinese, Korean, Farsi, Ghanaian, Zimbabwean…..some using our premises….we need to embrace them…to embrace one another…..to realise this is an act of grace from God…..for this may lead to a change from within for us as well!!
For many people within the church the main focus of ecumenism isn't around bishops, women's ordination, gay clergy, songs or hymns…….but is focused in the communion, the Eucharist, the breaking of bread……..where we long to gather together…where all the other questions and divisions can be healed……and we can once again explore the whole concept of God's grace……and discover that it is all of grace - lavish hospitality linked with salvation for all people.
So what does it mean to offer gospel hospitality to all? ….to people who feel excluded, those on the edge of society, people who are different to us...to me and I hope this may be something we can explore as David and I travel the connexion this year.
It begins from the simple premise that 'We' are the 'hosts''. Our buildings, our gifts, our ministry ……and we need to learn a new culture of being willing to receive all who are in need. Not just in worldly terms but in need of love, friendship…in need of God.
Why? Because of grace
Because we have received hospitality from the 'host of creation'
POWERPOINT - Amazing Grace
Offering a Transforming Spirituality
All the surveys continue to reveal that we live in a society today where
· many people believe in God but don't feel the need to attend church
· many people are open to many forms of spirituality but somehow don't connect with the Christian faith
· words have lost meaning
· the church has lost confidence
So what can we do?
We need to offer society a spirituality which is relevant for today
But what do we mean by 'spirituality'? a word very much in vogue today……one helpful definition is 'life in the Spirit'…..and the basis for our spirituality today must not be so much about God-talk but God-walk…for we need an integrated spirituality bringing together this walking and talking with God which also engages in the struggles for human liberation.
Put simply this means a spirituality that is not too narrow but one which engages with the world
Once again it is having the courage to reclaim our Methodist heritage for wasn't this part of our foundations, part of our DNA…this deep search for scriptural holiness with a commitment to social justice.
We must find ways to make it relevant for today, to once again help people reconnect with life, with one another, and with God
There is no ready made, off the shelf answer.
There is no ready to mix programme
But there are hints, there are churches, groups of Christians around the world who have begun to discover this transforming spirituality.
Bernard of Clairvaux said that when it comes to spirituality everyone must know how to 'drink from their own wells'.
Where are the wells from which we can drink today?
On the surface we are a society that is locked into the success culture, of self dependency and self determination. There continues to be a break down in community, in family life and social morals coupled with the rise of the 'global village' where we are being challenged by new cultures and other faiths in a world more and more driven by the media rather than politicians.
Yet beneath this thin veneer there are the same challenges and questions, fears and opportunities as any where in the world….we just disguise them well. Of our need for security, shelter, food, friendships …along with the eternal questions of who am I? what is my purpose? The fear of dying and what if anything lies beyond……in the midst of our seeming confidence and certainties we fear to expose our vulnerability.
Around the world there is an emerging spirituality which is coming out of brokenness and vulnerability and this is beginning to connect with many people in our plural society in Britain today.
The struggles of the poor people of Latin America have led to what is called liberation theology and this has been rooted in the base communities of these countries. There a spirituality has developed which has come from the experience of the dispossessed and marginalised people As people have sought freedom from poverty, degradation and death they have found new ways of knowing God. We need the poor to teach us dependence, for unless we learn dependence we will never experience grace.
The founder of the l'Arche communities, Jean Vanier, has for 30 years lived within communities with people who have learning difficulties sharing their experience of rejection and suffering. He writes:
But over the years of living with people
Who have been crushed or put aside
I have discovered something new.
They have led me gently
Into the depths of my own heart
Filled, as it is, with light and darkness.
They have led me into the mystery of Jesus
And of his message,
And into the secret of humanity and its history.
They have shown me the light shining in the darkness.
It is the light shining in the darkness which embodies so much of the care of the dying being offered through the hospice movement. One of the exciting aspects of this care is watching people grow in spiritual stature. How ordinary people, within their fears of death and dying, can gradually transcend the human bonds of fear and self-interest until their only concern is for others.
In the recent Hugh Price Hughes lecture Donald Eadie shared the experience of those with disability and impairment and asked the question 'Can disability reveal more of the life of Christ?'
'We are learning that theology must not be left to those who are fit and strong, able to spend all day in the library or on the computer.
Theology must also be wrestled for through pain and disability: these are the raw materials of our encounters with a mysterious and silent God, whose name seems sometimes so hidden. That's how Jacob got his hip dislocated. With our spinal injuries, MS, artificial joints and living with depression we are well qualified to carry on the struggle.'
Many of our city centre churches are doing this as they offer hospitality to the homeless and discover an emerging spirituality among those on the edge of society. Often those who come to help receive so much more than they expect. In the Comfort Zone project in Blackpool Maureen volunteered to help and shared with me recently how at the age of 70 she has discovered where God wants her to be. 'These people just want to be loved, to have their hand held or just to stroke their arm…….'
And so the examples could go on……I believe that this emerging spirituality which is coming out of the brokenness of the world, out of an awareness that we need to re-connect with those who are suffering, dying, abandoned, lost, is speaking to us Here the heart of the gospel message finds focus in the suffering and brokenness of Christ. It is how this suffering is interpreted and worked through that becomes a light shining in the darkness, a glimmer of hope in Christ, a foretaste of the life of the Spirit. For what is happening is that these people are discovering they are loved and important to others……
In the end is this not the deep yearning of every human being? To know we are loved. So this spirituality, coming out of the most vulnerable, is speaking to the vulnerability within us all - heart speaking to heart!
There are some common threads coming out of this emerging spirituality which I hope we can explore during the year ahead with those who would like to on our District visits
Encounter with God
The great spiritualities in the life of the church continue to exist because they keep sending their followers back to the sources, experiences of faith, where they can drink from their own wells.
So for people of Latin America this encounter with the God is in the poor….……
Tom Quenet tells the story I have now used many times:
'Whilst visiting a feeding centre on the outskirts of Montevideo run by the Methodist Church, we arrived in time to witness what school children from a very deprived community receive for breakfast - a cup of milk and a bread roll. I had already had my breakfast and upon arrival, after the formal introductions made my way to sit at a table and talk to the children as they had breakfast. I sat opposite a young girl who was drinking her milk, she stopped drinking and smiled as we greeted each other. Noticing that no one brought me a glass of milk and bread, the young girl took her bread, broke it and gave half to me. At that moment, I met with Jesus'.
Climbing down the ladder
Encountering God means we learn again the great secrets of the faith
For Vanier it was to 'walk down the ladder of success'.
To learn to walk with people who are broken and in pain… he believes it is only at the bottom of the ladder that we truly meet Jesus in the poor, disabled, marginalised……in the ministry of 'washing feet'
Brokenness can help people rediscover community
The support of others in our own suffering and in being in solidarity with others in theirs helps people re-connect.
I shared the story of Ben earlier…….he was diagnosed with a brain tumour…and he died aged 25…in those last days at the hospice…..wonderful scene of two people around his bed…..on one side a friend recently out of prison and on the other George Thomas, speaker of the House of Commons….held together as so many of us were by love of Ben…that through his suffering and dying many of us encountered God…and what a celebration the funeral was!!….
This is not a blue print but sketching in some ideas to be explored which develops a spirituality grounded in the reality of living out our faith in the world of success and wealth; power and violence; suffering and injustice, exploitation and death
It offers each individual the opportunity to discover self and God not only in the wounds of humanity but in the self realisation of their own wounded vulnerable being.
For Christians this offers a hope founded on Christ - not seeking to remove us from our vulnerability or the brokenness of the world but to find the mystery of Christ within it.
So facing up to our vulnerability leads us to a dependence on God
It is always relational and about discovering how we can live in community with God and others
A spirituality that enables us to hold our diversity in community
Today it is a spirituality which has a global context
And must always be one which is transforming of society, business, economics, individual lives
It is none other than the spirituality of grace not of success, wealth, power
A spirituality which enables us to recover our human solidarity through Christ - for it is more important to be human than religious!
All this is of grace………wonder and faith
That if we can be taught by the Host of all creation to become gracious hosts ourselves….not just our church buildings, worship, our outreach, our mission but me…you…each one of us created in the image of God……..
If an individual can find in me a hospitable space…where they are welcome…to share my life…and discover within my openness and vulnerability the love of Christ…….then perhaps that might help transform one life…….and who knows even the world.