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On November 18th, Rev Christopher Harrison spoke in a debate on secularism at Nottingham University, organised by the ‘Voice your rights’ campaign. The motion was ‘This house believes in a secular society and that all religion should be completely separate from the state.’ Christopher’s opening speech, opposing the motion, follows.
Andrew Harrison, formerly a member of this parish, has recently moved to pursue a lay ministry role in an affluent part of London - he considers whether the wealthy are as deserving as the poor
The last time I wrote in the Nottingham City parish magazine, it was about my keen interest in social justice. Last October, while I was worshipping at St Peter’s Nottingham and working for an independent coffee shop I saw an ad in Church Times for a lay ministry role in Hampstead. Within a week of enquiring about the role, I was moving to London to become the children’s minister of the parishes of South Hampstead and Belsize Park. I live in a very creative, fashionable part of London with three other volunteers for the church. The accommodation is free, but the job is unpaid so I’ve just started another paid parish role doing youth work and elderly visits. My work in the church involves running Sunday schools, children's clubs, a youth club, befriending the elderly and leading Morning and Evening Prayer in the context of the liberal catholic tradition in the Church of England.
Esther Elliot has recently been licensed as a Lay Reader with permission to officiate in this parish. She tells us a bit about herself and her journey to becoming a licensed reader
In order to have a licence to operate as a Reader in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham you have to fill in a form. One of the questions that I had to give a bit of thought to was "how long have you worshipped in the parish you wish to be licensed to?" A bit of sturdy thinking led me to the conclusion that 20+ years was both about right and a bit of a shock!
As most of us look forward to the Easter break it is easy to overlook Good Friday, but Rev’d Christopher Harrison suggests we all take some time to think about what it really means
Not so many years ago, it was much more difficult to ignore Good Friday than it is today. Shops were generally closed, and city centres were fairly quiet. Nowadays, however, one could be forgiven for not being aware that Good Friday is still a public holiday, as life in many parts of the centre of Nottingham carries on very much as usual.
Rev’d Christopher Harrison considers the recent rejection of legislation allowing women bishops, suggesting that, despite the disagreement, Christmas is a time for a common focus
Some years ago, in my last parish in Derbyshire, an elderly churchwarden told me that she had changed from being vehemently opposed to the ordination of women to being in favour of it. What had made all the difference was that she had got to know several women lay readers who took services in our church, and it began to feel perfectly natural to her that such people should be able to become priests. I thought of her when I heard about the General Synod’s vote rejecting women bishops, and was saddened by the reflection that people like her, who are prepared to change a deeply-held opinion and be open to new ways of understanding God and the Church, may be rather rare, especially on General Synod. Indeed the run-up to the vote seems to have led to a hardening of attitudes, rather than any real attempt to grow in mutual understanding.
Rev’d Christopher Harrison suggests that the Bible can help us to understand the world in which we live
A well-known course in Christian discipleship challenges us to ask ourselves, ‘What is the purpose of life?’ Most of the time we tend to be so preoccupied with the demands of daily life that we ponder on such matters only in moments of crisis, or perhaps at times of change in our lives. It is easy to be carried along so briskly through life by the flow of media stimulation, by the search for pleasure or money, or by the need to be accepted by others, that we always sidestep such questions when they rear their heads.
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