Wednesday, 27 April 2016

It could have been me ... Hillsborough 27 years on

27 years on and the closing of one chapter in the story of the survivors and the grievers from the Hillsborough tragedy where 96 football fans lost their lives. Can I imagine what it must have been like to persistently seek truth and justice for so long? Hardly. 
I wasn't there. I remember trying to contact my friends who were to see if they were OK. It was pre-mobile phones, so not an easy task and a frightening few hours. I was at the Final ... the second all Merseyside FA Cup Final. Undoubtedly one of the most moving football occasions of my life. 100,000 football fans united in grief.
Today, following yesterday's verdict of unlawful killing, I'm simply grateful to God for my life over the past 27 years, for the privilege of a wife and family who could have grown up telling the story of a dad they never knew. It could have been me. It could have been any number of us. I'm not getting over dramatic, as I didn't even attempt to get a ticket that day, but I always stood on there terraces ... sitting in a seat was no way to watch a football match! I know what it's like to be herded like an animal by the police viewing anyone with a scarf round their neck as a hooligan, but today I'm simply grateful ... and prayerful for those who feel they've had their hopes and dreams robbed. 

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Seventy-two in partnership with Spring Harvest

So why are Baptists in partnership with Spring Harvest? It’s a question I’ve been asked recently, particularly as Seventy-two have been involved for our first year of partnership with Spring Harvest. We had a team of ten people drawn from across our four Partnership Association.

Seventy-two is designed to be a network for people in our Baptist Churches who want to fully engage in the mission of God wherever they are.

Spring Harvest stand for ‘Equipping the Church for Action’, aims to create space for all people to encounter God, to be confident in their faith and to see transformation in lives and communities.

We share so much in terms of ethos and convictions, it should be no surprise we’re collaborating together. Baptists have played a large part in Spring Harvest since it’s beginnings, back in 1979, so what’s the point of us becoming more intentionally involved together? Here’s just a few responses on the basis of our involvement this year:

-       We were able to share in the desire to be distinctly Christian and culturally connected.

-       We were able to combine our desire to grow personally and be equipping one another.

-       We were able to delight in belonging together in Christ and offering diverse expressions of our oneness to the rest of the world.

-       We were able to celebrate being in God’s presence to be both transformed and sent.