Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I have learned belatedly today of the death of The Reverend Canon Chris Bard last month. The Church Times website has an obituary here.. I came into contact with Chris several times as a clergy colleague in the Diocese of Chelmsford. He was combining being priest-in-charge of Epping Upland and Diocesan Communications Officer when I started work combining priest-in-charge of Hatfield Broad Oak with Bush End and Industrial Chaplain to Harlow. Only a few years older than me, Chris was the kind of priest who gave me hope for the Church of England and encouraged me to believe it was worth sticking with. He was an outright supporter of women's ordination. He had none of the hedging and evasion that characterised so many priests who professed to be in favour but wouldn't commit until the Pope did - in other words, had their heads in the sand and didn't really care that much about it. He was forward -looking and engaged with contemporary issues; as his early adoption of computer use demonstrated. Although I did not know Chis well as a personal friend his commitments and concerns inspired me in the early years of my ministry.
Monday, October 08, 2007
I am reading the October Mission Update from the Church Mission Society (CMS). These are very useful short bulletins giving stories of the way God is transforming lives in the poorest parts of the world through projects assisted by the churches working in partnership. October's edition contains a story about how a group of blind and visually impaired students at a Rwanda secondary school have found new confidence and a sense of belonging through being introduced to "goalball" - a sport that uses a heavy rubber ball with bells inside so blind people can hear it. If there are difficulties for visually inpaired people in the UK in finding fulfilling opportunities for employment and leisure, which there are, how much more are the difficulties for those living in desparately poor economies like Rwanda. CMS is involved in many needy situations like this on the ground. By sending mission partners from churches in one part of the world to churches in another,it enables skills, contacts, money and prayer to be shared between the different parts of Christ's body so strengthening the churches' mission to the poor in the name of Jesus.