17 January 2020
Tell us your stories
By Barbara Glasson
The Vice President and I have been really encouraged by your response to our theme So what’s the story... it certainly seems to have spurred people into action! We’ve sold lots of books (all proceeds to the Methodist Church), we’ve led quite a few gatherings around the theme, from Scarborough to Scilly, with all kinds of people! We’ve engaged with young and old, heard testimonies and encouraging stories - thank you all you brilliant Methodists!!
But as I write this it’s Halloween and all around me fireworks are exploding. I’m really aware that this time of year is scary for all kinds of people (and animals) and I’m also really aware of all the difficult and untold stories that are just below the surface of our lives. And some that are buried very deeply indeed.
It has been my immense privilege over the years to have been trusted enough to hear stories from survivors of abuse, and often Halloween is a particularly difficult time when memories surface and re- traumatise. Don’t for one minute think that this is something so remote from the life of the church that we don’t need to bother about it. Every community, even the smallest local chapel will have people present with stories that feel too difficult or vulnerable to share.
This reminds us that we have a mission not just to tell stories but to listen to them when they emerge from dark places into the light of day. Like pearls of great price we must hold them tenderly and with deep reverence.
And then there’s another thing. At this time of political turmoil there’s a need to listen to the stories behind the headlines. So often ‘truth’ is manipulated and re-worked to make a sensational news story. As Christians we need to wise and savvy. As we approach an election we are not to vote simply for our own gain but for those who are most vulnerable in our communities. We are called to seek the common good and justice for all.
So, Clive and I really want to know how the story telling is going in your place. And I would like to know what tender and precious stories are being revealed to you (no names, just opportunities that have come your way ) And with his address theme of Politics, Piety and Pleasure, Clive would love to know what insights and wisdom you are gleaning along the way around the overlap of politics and piety.
In this time of national vulnerability and upheaval let’s support the faint hearted and support the weak, rendering no one evil for evil ... and in all things hold fast to that which is good.
This article first appeared in the Methodist Recorder on 15 November 2019