Friday, 27 May 2011

Passport to a better life?

I used to live in dread of appearing in the Mystery Worshipper reviews of the Ship of Fools website! These days I'm a less frequent visitor to the site, and I probably wouldn't even notice such a review was there.

It is interesting, though, to get an unsolicited review of a sermon, especially when it came from a Muslim and a Sikh! One of my church members, who works for the Passport Office, has set up a Home Office Christian Network in the building - well done, Rupert! He invited me to speak at a half hour Maundy Thursday service, which I was glad to do. It was a bit of a surprise to find two diversity representatives from the PCS (Public & Commercial Services Union), and I did a quick mental check on my talk to assess whether anything in it might be misconstrued by those of other faiths. Fifteen attended the service, which exceeded expectation, the talk went well and the hot cross buns were enjoyed afterwards! Now I find that it is reviewed in the dizzy heights of the local PCS newsletter (titled 'Resistance'!).

In case you are dying to find out what they wrote, here it is:

'As part of the importance shown of celebrating diversity within IPS, your local PCS group had sent two reps. (Kaniza and Amar) to participate in the service on the theme of ‘Remember Me’.

It marks an important event in the Christian calendar, where many positive and praiseworthy characteristics are learnt through the sacrifices of Jesus Christ.

The event was organised by the Home Office Christian Network, who hold a regular Christian fellowship, every Wednesdays between 1pm and 1.30pm in Multi-Faith room 1. The service was well attended and there was a pleasant atmosphere.

The Guest Speaker Reverend Tim Edworthy spoke passionately about the message of Easter. It was a positive and a powerful message, to remember and nourish one’s soul through the remembrance of the sacrifices made by Jesus Christ.

There has never been such an important time in Human history – because of the natural and man-made disasters seen all over the world – to walk the path of altruism (my italics). The message and challenge given by Reverend Edworthy was a listener's/reader's response from a Christian point of view to Jesus on the cross; one thief denied His claim, the other believed.

PCS would like to ‘Thank’ the Home Office Christian Network for organising this; we look forward to seeing more of such events by the local Home Office Christian Network, and those of other faiths and groups.

So there it is. The sentence in italics was not a part of my talk, but an interpretation added by the two representatives. I'm glad the message came across so well. It's not often I have the pleasure of sharing the life-giving good news of Christ with those of other faiths inside of my church building. How about you?

Maybe we clergy all need to get out more!

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