Reflection on Song

Before the last year, none of us could have envisaged the changes which have now become an accepted part of our everyday lives – the social distancing, the masks, the lockdowns. And of course, these changes have been reflected in our church life too. For the short number of weeks since last March when we were physically able to meet together, the ‘new normal’ seemed far from normal and certainly very far from how we were accustomed to worship. We […]

Nightmare in Troas

Who enjoys nightmares? The clue’s in the name. Nightmares wreck sleep, sap confidence and breed an insidious fear. Mine was persistent, and always the same. Ever since I was small, the feeling of falling. Falling out of bed. Falling off a cliff. Falling, for ever. Tumbling over, hair flowing like a flag, and arms and legs spreadeagled like a runaway cartwheel. Soundless screams coming from my lips. Down and down, through the darkness, in an ever-narrowing tunnel. There was no […]

Census and lifeboats

I have just received my census form and was having a quick look at the questions. As usual there is a question on religion, and although it is slightly different in the England and Wales census from the NI census the outcome will be the same. We will have a measure of those who say they are Christian. Now go forward a couple of years when the census results start to be published. We will have our normal breast beating […]

The Story and the Methodist quadrilateral

The Story is the paraphrase of Luke and Acts that is being studied at the moment by the Circuit with Jordan, and also through PresenCE, the Portaferry cross-community group. We are now half way through and so far each week has raised questions on interpretation. It is interesting that these issues arise in what are relatively familiar books of the Bible so I thought it might be of interest to remind ourselves of a traditional Methodist approach, the Methodist quadrilateral. […]

If it weren’t so serious

I go for my first Covid jab on Sunday and feel privileged to have this opportunity. What is so disturbing is the extent of the misinformation around the vaccination. Truth is a vital component of a healthy democracy but we also need trust, and for some that has been sadly eroded in recent years, so giving space for the conspiracy theorists. However I wonder how many people really believed this story. My sister works for the Ministry of Defence and […]

Afternoon Tea

As a short forty-something, I don’t make a habit of climbing trees, but today’s an exception. Rumour suggests a celeb’s coming. I’m up here to see him, and I don’t care what anyone else thinks. All my life, I’ve so wanted to be tall, not bullied. My grandmother telling me that all the men in my family line had been short was no consolation. I longed to be one of the gang. ‘Go away shorty,’ [that’s the benign version] was […]

Christmas all wrapped up (one last hurrah for Xmas 2020)

This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. (Luke 2:12 NIVUK) There you go! Christmas all wrapped up. Sadly, today most are content to leave the Christ child all wrapped up. When all wrapped up in cloths the baby Jesus is no threat to them. They can bring Him out each Christmas for a few days, go to the carol service or the school nativity play, they do […]

Salt and Light

I read the following in Encounter with God, reflecting on Matthew 5.13-16. The writer said: Jesus does not envisage his community as a withdrawn, sectarian group, making occasional attempts to preach to outsiders and expecting them to come to Christian gatherings to be converted. Salt must have contact with whatever it is intended to preserve, or it loses its purpose; light only fulfils its function when it exists in the darkness. How many models of the church and its mission […]

Two Penny-Worth

As she jostled her way through the milling, gossipy throng in the Outer Court of the Temple, she felt her slender hand clench on all she had left. So tight her nails dug into her skin. Her knees felt unsteady. How would she get food if she did this? Hesitating, she leaned against the nearest column. Everyone was too busy to notice. The Temple stonework glinted red, yellow, and a stark white in the afternoon sun. As she looked at […]

Armchair travels

Further lockdown finds me longing to travel. It began as a vague restlessness, a need to explore further than the garden and the local park. Thoughts of Portaferry were uppermost, but at this point, my odd feeling of discomfort took shape – the shape of a car ferry or an airplane! But travelling like that is impossible right now, and however much I crave the fun and fellowship of Portaferry, I require a substitute. One of the blessings brought by […]