Friday, 29 November 2013

Kahaila Cafe London

Great coffee and scrumptious cake is a wonderful recipe for a busy ,profitable and very friendly coffee shop in Brick Lane in London Kahaila is not just a coffee shop though ,it is also a small church planted primarily to reach the twenty's and thirty's age group.
This very new church not only runs a coffee shop,it also supports a mission to prostitutes and is in the process of gathering money and materials to open a safe house in the area for the victims of trafficking.The whole enterprise is about blessing the community

A group of us from church met with the pastor and leader ,a guy called Paul Unsworth who has carried the vision for Kahaila over the last few years .His passion to share good news relevant to his local community was very evident and a huge priority is given to relationships This is summed up on Kahaila's website
"We are a church, but not church as you might understand it. We do not see ourselves as religious we see our selves as being relational. We live in relationship with God and with each other, therefore we see ourselves as a family rather than as an institution. We are a group of people who aim to live life in all of its fullness, understanding that the teaching of Jesus Christ brings that fullness. We are people on a journey, we are not perfect, so we would ask you not to judge us before you get to know us and we promise not to judge you."
We were there on a Wednesday night for the churches weekly time of prayer and worship together which takes place in the cafe and which in this occasion brought together about 20 young people (and the 5 of us not so very young people)
The simple,but meaningful worship began with a time of singing beautifully led by a woman from the church and this was followed by bible teaching on Ephesians 4 and 5 delivered with humour, but also with real passion by Paul Unsworth who clearly wants to relate the bible in a relevant way so that the young people present understand more clearly what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
What we saw and learned at Kahaila will inspire us as we think about the next stage of the journey at Shrewsbury and we need time to think through the lessons we learned and to see how they might apply in our very different situation.
 Paul and his team had the courage not only to do something very different but to dare to do something very bold They have taken what Hybels calls big,hairy audacious steps of faith and God has honoured them again and again Following the teaching we gathered in small groups around the coffee tables to chat and attempt to earth the teaching we had heard in to our daily lives.we then prayed ,talked said our good byes and left with so much to think about   There really is nothing to stop us doing the same!

More on Kahaila here

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Radio Shropshire Remembrance Sunday

95 years ago today in 1918, at  the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month - the First World War came to an end.. It is thought that about 9 million soldiers lost their lives, and about 27 million were wounded - many of them permanently disabled
So today we mark Remembrance Sunday a day to stop reflect and in the case of many people to give thanks to God for those who have given their lives not just in the 2 great wars of the last century,  but in many other conflicts as well including most  recently Iraq and Afghanistan, and Today I wear the  poppy not with pride but with a deep humility as I think about the awful loss of life and the continuing suffering and the deep pain of those left behind  and I will pray for peace with justice to come to the earth

I am also deeply thankful for the continuing committed indeed heroic work of The Royal British Legion who produce the red poppy that so many millions wear -an appropriate symbol  because a poppy grows so well in disturbed earth ripped open by war and was  one of the few things that would grow in the barren battlefields of The Somme and Ypres

In fact next year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War and the government has announced this centenary is to be marked by a four year programme of events that will commemorate that war- The events range from church services to educational visits
Many have questioned how appropriate this commemoration is In fact I heard this being discussed on the Jim Hawkins show last Monday morning
Some feel it is an unnecessary glorification of war
Others that it is a colossal waste of money
Others that in 2013 it is simply irrelevant to how we live today

Now anyone who celebrates war is plain daft  to put it very mildly but I have no problem with commemoration because we should never forget
The words at the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them have authentic power ,for as someone once said If we fail to learn the lessons of the past we will be condemned to repeat them
A few years ago I visited the grave of a man I had never met His name was Fred Watson he was actually my mother’s uncle as a young man Fred  had emigrated to Canada from the family home in Scotland but at the outbreak of war he had out of a sense of duty come back to fight

in 1916 he was killed near Sanctuary Wood and unusually his grave is in Zillebecke Parish Church near Ypres
Today I will remember Fred and his brother Stan who died at Loos and whose body was never found and I will think of my dad who survived the Second World War but was forever changed by it
And thousands of you will have similar memories and some  of your memories  will be much more recent and far more personal
But even if you don’t have personal memories of those who gave their lives   their names are around wherever you are in Shropshire

 if  today you should you pass a war memorial whether in Tilstock or Telford ,Condover or Clun select one of the names engraved on those memorials and remember they too had hopes and dreams  ambitions and desires  before their  lives were cut so tragically  short

The writer Rudyard Kipling author of The Jungle Book was enthusiastic about  the outbreak of war and wrote pamphlets encouraging young men to join up and fight  he used his influence to get his own son John into the army despite the fact that John  was severely short sighted and had failed the medicals on more than one occasion

Tragically John too was killed at Loos and Johns body was never found and Kipling’s attitude to war was changed forever  It is Kipling who composed the words on every war memorial where the body of the deceased could not be identified  the inscription contains just 3 words Known unto God

As a Christian I believe every human being is Known unto God made in His image  we should  all seek to live a life that brings Gods love and peace to the people we come into contact with day by day