Regather. Rejoice. Lament. Rebuild.

Church families are returning to their buildings once again in the UK and Ireland, after a break of almost four months. For many this is a welcome signal that some semblance of normality is once again being recovered, for others it is a time of intensified anxiety over what feel like huge steps forward in…

Some implications of an empty pulpit

Whether your cup is half empty or half full in the current global crisis, whether you credit or descry online ministry, the fact cannot be avoided that the era of vacant church buildings and silent pulpits is a significant and sad chapter in the history of the church. We are in the midst of a…

A Certain Sound through Preaching

How are we to answer the exigencies and anxieties of the hour? What tone of voice and approach should we assume when the world is crying out for answers? What dangers lie in uncertain speech, in mumbled sounds, as men and women hunger and thirst to know true reality? During this week I have been…

Before Philippi

In approaching the narrative sections of Scripture, there is always the danger of foreclosure, of assuming the conclusion, and missing the true nature of the issues at hand. The story is always easier when you can read the ending, the drama reduced when you know the outcome, but give a man or woman the middle…

St. Patrick and the work of ministry

In the eyes of many Patrick is the patron saint of excess, a figurehead for beer-fuelled parades and parties. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth. To read Patrick’s personal writings is to encounter an individual of scrupulous integrity, personal piety, and missionary austerity, a man whose life became solely focussed on the…

Ministry and Meltdown

One of the mirages of our modern lives is that we are stable and secure in terms of our most basic needs. Far from famine ravaged territories, where one’s chief drama is to watch for rainfall for next season’s crops, away from war torn regions where one’s home and livelihood might any day be overwhelmed…