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Seeds encourage | inspire | challenge | No. 2 | September 2010

Augustine United Church, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EL 0131 220 1677 www.augustine.org.uk Scottish Charity no. SC000385 Minister: Rev. Fiona Bennett minister.auc@gmail.com 07552 162 717 Church Administrator: Paul Lugton administrator@augustine.org.uk 0131 220 1677 Editor: Bill Stevenson newsletter@Augustine.org.uk Designer: Sonja Meyer sonja.meyer@gmail.com

In this edition 1. Archbishop Chacour 2. Christian Fellowship of Healing Greyfriars Community Project 4. Jubilee Scotland AGM 5. The Eco-Congregation Meet John Brockington 5. On the Fringe Saugtonhall’s Triumph 6. MCC Conference 7. Our Tribe 8. Social Events in AUC 9. The Garden Party Inchcolm 10. The URC General Assembly 11. Three Cups of Tea

Flowering of the Human Spirit

As part of the Festival of Spirituality and Peace, I went to hear Archbishop Elias Chacour. He embodies in his own story the struggle for peace and the flowering of the human spirit. By Fiona Bennett In 1947, after the devastation of war, the Edinburgh International Festival was conceived to ‘provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit’. Over the following years a number of other Fringe Festivals have developed under the same broad aspiration. In this edition of Seeds a number of members of the AUC community will share some of their reflections about events which they have attended as part of the 2010 Festival and Fringe, through which I hope we can still discern the “flowering of the human spirit” as made in the image of the Creative, Delivering, Healing God. At St Mary’s RC Cathedral, as part of the Festival of Spirituality and Peace, I went to hear Archbishop Elias Chacour. Archbishop Chacour is the Catholic Archbishop

of Galilee and a Palestinian-born Christian and Israeli citizen, globally noted for his efforts to reconcile Arabs and Jews. Archbishop Chacour embodies in his own story the struggle for peace. Archbishop Chacour was born in a Palestinian village, where he can remember preparing a feast in 1951 to welcome the Jewish exiles, sent to Palestine after World War II. He tells of how they offered the Israeli soldiers their beds as a sign of hospitality. The soldiers then asked all the villagers to leave their village for a fortnight, which they agreed to; but they were never allowed to return. After contesting this in the Israeli High Court over years, and winning their case three times, they eventually started walking back to reclaim their >2


Seeds | Flowering of the Human Spirit homes only to watch them bulldozed to the ground. Yet through a lifetime of struggle and poverty, Archbishop Chacour has worked endlessly for peace, reconciliation and wholeness, for the Muslim, Jewish and Christian lives and land around him. My sense of the Archbishop, in what he said, was of a man empowered not by hatred but humility, grace and integrity. The balance of these three characteristics is often hard to hold. How to be humble, but also determined for good? < 1

How to be gracious but also stand up for justice for yourself and others? He said in jest that if a person asked him for his coat he would gladly give it, but if he asked for his trousers too, he would decline – that is beyond the bound of acceptable decency. Within this line of thinking the Archbishop admitted that, after a life time of supporting the twostate model for Palestine & Israel which many Palestinian groups support, he believes it is no longer viable. This, in his opinion, is be-

cause, to have a viable state, land and water are needed; but the settlement movement has made the State of Palestine no longer feasible. A new way forward must be sought. If I were to compose a book of modern saints I think Elias Chacour would have to be in there for the consistently gracious and hopeful life he has led, through hard work, integrity and humility. “Flowering of the human spirit”... I can think of few better examples. J

If you would like to know more about him I would encourage you to visithttp://middleeastwindow.com/node/1674

Christian Fellowship of Healing: Learning to Listen course

This course is to be held at Augustine on 24-25 September and 1-2 October. The Learning to Listen course aims to develop effective listening for everyday life and will look at a way of listening to ourselves, others and God. It includes learning to quieten ourselves before God and developing our ability to listen to others through the skills of active listening. Each course builds on the

one before so it is important to attend every session. The course runs for four sessions, two Friday evenings 7 – 9.30pm and two Saturday mornings 9.30 – 12.30am. Further details can be found at http://www.cfhscotland.org.uk/news/#newsid1 or call the Christian Fellowship of Healing office on 0131 225 2401.

Parish Meals @ Parish Meals, recently being made and served at Building 3 off the Grasssmarket, have now finished. This is for the very good reason that a return to the original, but greatly renovated, Kirk House is expected very soon. The old buildings and yard around have been cleared pending a building project for the further work in the GCP in the future, and the refurbished Kirk House will be used for different purposes. The new workshop for GROW (Greyfriars Recycling of Wood) and the Weaving Shop are to be upstairs, and a new centre down2 September 2010

stairs will allow for the formal teaching of cooking and catering skills on two mornings a week, with Activity Sessions for a number of clients in the afternoons. Because of the reduced numbers in the building, and as people will be there for different purposes, and also because those around will have had a substantial meal at lunch-time, it is intended to make and serve soup and (rather more up-market) sandwiches in the early evening on Tuesdays. This might be extended to Thursdays as well eventually, but there will be an initial period of trial, to see how things develop. J www.augustine.org.uk


Jubilee Scotland| Seeds

KA Ziffo

Jubilee Scotland

The recent AGM of Jubilee Scotland, which I attended, followed the usual pattern. The previous year’s activities, particularly on the various ways they had been countering and broadcasting structural causes of debt and inequality (and their own finances), were adequately covered. They are a “broad church” in having people from many strands of society, such as trades unions and churches in their number – people of good will and real concern about the damage we do to others around the world by unfair policies which cause such inequality, persistent debt and poverty. I am glad they have an office within our premises. Following the AGM, there was an interesting conversation on the subject of “Being a Movement”, which involved John McAllion the MSP and former MP and one time campaigner with Oxfam, the Rev. Max Chigidwa – Senior Minister of the City Presbyterian Church of Harare, Zimbabwe, and Nick Dearden the Director of the (UK) Jubilee Debt Campaign (who was previously with War on Want and Amnesty). It was chaired by Dr Rachel Hayman, Research Fellow at University of Edinburgh Centre for African Studies. One “Movement” was the MakePovertyHistory Movement, whose raison d’être was acknowledged by the diverse groups within society who became engaged, and by the numbers of people passionwww.augustine.org.uk

ately concerned, such as NGOs, ment” depends. When the media Churches, Unions, etc. It came to gets involved there are often an end when several high profile deliberate, or sometimes unintenNGOs withdrew to concentrate on tional, efforts to frame arguments their own agendas, or due to links in narrow ways, which can cause with other organisations includdisengagement. Ownership of meing political parties; there was dia organisations around the world insufficient leadership from “the can give cause for disquiet. e.g. Sky south” as well, and the momentum News, the Murdoch Corporation ceased. Charities are restricted in or Fox News, at election times, for what they can do by Charity Comexample. missioners/OSCR, and NGOs tend This discussion also gave insights to be single- issue concerns, often into the difficulties of trying to with career leaders employed, and organise any grouping about any a particular agenda to concentrate topic at all in Zimbabwe, where on. there is no freedom to consider Another example was the Antianything not from within the Apartheid Movement, where a Mugabe Government – (“There terrible injustice became obvious would not be enough coffins in to so many Zimbabwe had Social conscience, passion, comand was they ever had mitment, perseverance, singletackled a demonstraminded determination to bring in a mastion such about change, and enough sive way. as the one However, it people, like-minded and thererecently in ceased to fore “engaged” to ensure proper Bangkok”.... be a “move- organisation. was the statement” ment of Mr. once the movement became the Chigidwa.) government – when other seducOne person at the meeting, tive power struggles, such as with claiming not to be Christian, global economics and trans-nation- admired the “Alpha” courses run als, took precedence. in many churches, seeing this as Social conscience, passion, similar to a “movement”, in that it commitment and perseverance, had taken off because it was a “(re) single-minded determination to discovery” or “(re)statement” of bring about change, and enough what it is to be a Christian. people, like-minded and there(I had previously also heard at fore “engaged” to ensure proper an Edinburgh Eco-congregation organisation – these are the things Network meeting that >4 on which the success of a “movemany Scottish politiSeptember 2010 3


Seeds | Environment

Eco congregations Can we use less electricity at AUC? The AUC Eco-Congregation Group has commissioned from the Energy Saving Trust an ‘Energy Use Survey’ of our church building. Depending on what they suggest, and on church finances, of course, we will try to follow their advice. We particularly need to cut the amount of electricity we use; some needlessly wasted, for example when doors stand open and we pour heat on to George IV Bridge! Can we cut draughts? Can we stop lights being left on in unused places? Can we prevent needless loss of heat?

At the recent Synod of Scotland meeting, all congregations were asked to cut their carbon emissions by 5% each year until 2020. Can we manage a 5% cut this year? Meanwhile, you might well see new notices (some produced by the children) and thermometers (some already supplied by the Property and Centre management people) near to light switches and heaters. And there will be better recycling containers! Watch this space! J

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Jubilee Scotland

cians would like church people to explain their (re)engaging with Environmental matters because of their Christian need to do so. I realise that there may be something in it for politicians to encourage people on to their side, however!) Nevertheless, it seemed to me that speaking out against something or stating the case for something because of Christian conviction might well be something quite a few people in society today might actually welcome and admire. J

Getting to know John Brockington My name is: John Brockington. A favourite hymn of mine: Just one hymn is much too limiting to answer to different needs and feelings. Two that are particularly meaningful for me are “I bind unto myself today the strong name of the Trinity” (“St Patrick’s Breastplate”) and Samuel Crossman’s “My song is love unknown, my Saviour’s love to me”. If I could sneak in a third it would be Edmond Budry’s “À toi la gloire” (in either English translation) for the sake of Handel’s glorious Maccabaeus tune as much as the words.

I spend my time researching, travelling and gardening. Currently Mary and I are tracing the spread of the Sanskrit epic, the Ramayana, across the rest of Asia. Some of our travel is in connection with that, some to attend conferences (our Indological friends and colleagues are spread world-wide), and some simply for pleasure.

A special place in the world for me is Kyoto, specifically the Buddhist temples which ring this bustling and now mainly modern city, for the beauty of the trees and gardens surrounding them and the wonderful sense of peace there. More generally, we spent a happy and fulfilling three and a half months there when I was a guest professor at the university.

4 September 2010

www.augustine.org.uk


Augustine and the fringe | Seeds

Bill Stevenson

Augustine and the

Augustine in August is a busy place, as readers will have noticed. The Editor, dutifully investigated from Sanctuary to Vault, finding, in the first, a play called, confusingly, 100; in the second, a one-woman play, Now is the Winter. The plot – an appropriate word – covered the events of Shakespeare’s Richard III; but with a difference. The whole story is seen through the eyes of the cook in the Yorkist household who, like a good servant, is totally loyal to Richard, Earl of Gloucester. She sees all the events literally passing before her face as she looks out of the door, and will not, cannot accept all the denigration laid upon her master. The stories of deceit and lies must be false; he could not maltreat the young princes, of whom she is so fond. Only chance makes him King, and he will be a good one; and his

death is the ultimate devastation. All this acted with great skill and verity. Shakespeare was doubtless biased; relevance” is a popular word: can an hour of long-gone English history be relevant to anything in modern, computer-driven, climate-changing Scotland? Still less, to the sensible, forward-looking, inclusive, Christianity of AUC? But we must always be wary of ourselves. That cook is one of us. Many good, sensitive citizens of Germany could, to the end, never believe that Hitler knew about the death camps. 100 was a very different affair, child of Sartre’s Huis Clos,’In Camera’, in which three respectable people, crossing the threshold to Hell, cannot accept that for them there is no future. In 100, we find at first only one character, with a

guide, or guard, who tells him that he must recall the best moment of his life, because he will relive that moment for eternity. ‘Choose carefully!’ Then another appears; then more and more figures in undistinguishable black, unable to believe where they are. But then they begin to choose their favourite moments, as top executive, as racing driver, or as lover – only to realise that in reality they do not want to live in that moment for ever . . . And the usher looks sardonically on. Oh, I did not mention that, coming out of church last Sunday, I came across Alice, irresistible, of course. No black-clad anonymity, nobody’s head cut off, only colourful costumes, a little duelling and moderate child-beating, and lots of logic. You never know what’s on in Augustine at Fringe time. J

We were delighted to receive this email from Susan Kirkbride at Saughtonhall URC “Hi! Many thanks for coming to support our Drama Group with their Fringe production of Pack of Lies. You may like to know that our play has won the ENDA best drama award in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2010. The group are all still on a high following the awards ceremony at the Edinburgh Playhouse last week. The ceremony was co-hosted by Kath Mainland, Chief Exec of the Fringe and the Scotsman Newspaper Group. Our category was awarded by the actress Lorraine

Chase (well known following her ‘Luton Airport’ advertisement with Nigel Havers in the 1970s, and I believe she has been in Emmerdale??). After the awards the team experienced mini-celebrity status when a full restaurant suddenly was able to make space for the team who had not thought to book a celebratory meal! Thanks again for supporting us – greatly appreciated. Sue ”

>> Some pictures are available on our web site: www.saughtonhall.com << www.augustine.org.uk

September 2010 5


Seeds | MCC General Conference 2010

Lewis Reay

MCC 24th General Conference in Acapulco The theme of this Conference was “Imagine”, (from Ephesians 3:20), setting the agenda for envisaging and dreaming what MCC could be in the world. The General Conference of MCC comes around every three years, and is the formal opportunity for the denomination to conduct business and also a wonderful chance to meet old friends and new. People attend from all over the world, sharing their stories of what is happening in their own church or ministry. Each time Conference meets there are people coming from somewhere new. For many people getting a visa to travel out of their country can be very difficult, especially if the laws of that country are still hostile and discriminatory towards LGBT people. This year about 800 people gathered; for the first time, one person came from Moldova, and another from Jamaica. The theme of this Conference was “Imagine”, (from Ephesians 3:20), setting the agenda for envisaging and dreaming what MCC could be in the world. For the first time we joined in partnership with two other denominations, The Fellowship and Unity Fellowship. Both are predominantly Black LGBT churches with a Pentecostal style of worship. MCC has been actively developing closer working 6 September 2010

relationships with these churches in the US, as we firmly believe that together we can do so much more than we can apart. Imagining The Conference was a mixture of worship events, workshops, plenary sessions as well as opportunities for socialising together over meals and by the pool. It is the time when business is conducted and this year new denominational structures were being agreed and a new Governing Board elected. MCC is constantly evolving and responding to the changing world we live in and the challenges that presents. Getting our structures to be as responsive and streamlined as possible is a challenge we all face. One highlight on the Wednesday was worshipping by the pool in early evening at sunset, celebrating who we are, as God’s creations – a very special occasion. During this service there was an opportunity to use the water as a symbol of baptism or blessing, whether for the first time, or to ask for blessing, healing, or as a symbol of new beginnings. Our Moderator, Rev Elder Nancy Wilson and Bishop

Yvette Flunder, the Moderator of the Fellowship, both took to the waters to be blessed and baptised as a symbol of joint work and partnership. Maxwell and I chose this opportunity to mark the beginning of a new phase in ministry as we journey as part of AUC. Maxwell took part in a panel of transgender people speaking about their personal journeys and ministry within MCC, and beyond. He was able to share his experience of working with trans-gender people through Transcendence, our transgender spirituality group at AUC. In 1996, Maxwell was one of the first clergy people, in MCC, to come out as transgender, and interestingly, all the people on the panel were ordained or seeking ordination in MCC. This is a sign of the growth and change within MCC as transgender people have become welcomed and accepted and been able to follow the callings upon our lives. The next MCC General Conference will be 1st July 2013 in Chicago. Think about coming. You will have a wonderful time and meet people from all over the world. J

www.augustine.org.uk


Our Tribe at Augustine | Seeds

Maxwell Reay

AUC’s LGBT Ministry “Our Tribe” is the new ministry and chatted about the passion, that AUC is running for lesbian, humour and sensitivity of the gay, bisexual and transgender play. (LGBT) people, their friends, famIn August, with the onset of ily, allies and everyone else. We the festival season, we organised have been up and running since a trip to “Loud and Proud” – ScotApril, and meet on the last Satland’s LGBT choir- charity concert urday of each month. The name in aid of Waverley Care at Grey“Our Tribe” comes from the title friars Kirk. The varied repertoire of the book about the lives of meant there was something LGBT people of faith, by Rev Elder to suit everyone’s taste. It was Nancy Wilson, the Moderator of wonderful to hear our own Pat MCC. Tweedie singing with the sopraIn April, our first meeting nos. was themed “People, Poetry We meet on the last Saturand Plants” where we planted day of each month from 7.00 sunflower seeds to symbolise the to 8.30pm. We have a varied beginning of this new programme of AUC and MCC ministry. In May, peoevents planned for ple shared their per- together aims to the coming months sonal stories of faith offer an inclusive (See Calendar, p.12). and sexuality and the Christianity for all. If you have not been individual challenges able to join us yet many have faced regarding our we hope that you will come along Christian faith journeys. some day during the autumn. In June, we welcomed the “Our Tribe” is open to anyone Revd Helen Mee, spending the who wants to explore sexuality evening learning about Midrash, and gender identity and Christian the Jewish theological tradition faith issues whether or not you of fleshing out the Bible’s stories. are LGBT. Everyone is very welIn July, Jo Clifford gave a readcome and we hope that people ing of her play “Jesus Queen of who have been part of the AUC Heaven”. We were delighted that community for many years will 65 people attended, from many come along as well, as we learn different communities. Many and journey together. We hope people stayed for tea and coffee to see you soon. J www.augustine.org.uk

our tribe Explore the Christian faith, spirituality, sexuality and gender identity in a safe, inclusive environment. Our Tribe is a space for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, friends, family and allies - open to all. Our Tribe meets on the last Saturday of each month from 7:00 - 8:30pm at Augustine United Church. Our Tribe is a joint prospect of Augustine United Church and Metropolitan Community Chruch. All welcome. Contact: Rev Maxwell Reay on 07957 543359 or ourtribe.auc@gmail.com

www.mccchurch.org September 2010 7


Seeds | Social Events

Social Events Past and Future by Mandy Scott Part of church life is being a community, sharing, caring and getting to know each other, not just on Sundays. One of the ways we can do this is by meeting socially. Myself, Nancy, Isa and Helen put on our thinking caps and here’s what we’ve come up with.

Carcant Our first organised social event of the year was our picnic to Carcant. We all took advantage of the glorious weather, some of us enjoying sitting in the sun chatting, others pretending to entertain the children (in truth revisiting our own childhood), some were incredibly energetic – participating in a healthy hike enjoying marvellous scenery, fresh air and peace and quiet; and I believe some brave souls may have had a swim. The evening ended with a barbecue for those who were not heading home for a rest following the day’s activities. A big thankyou to Robert and Fiona for inviting us to Carcant.

Tea at Sheila’s Continuing to take advantage of our unusually dry summer we were invited to an afternoon tea at Sheila’s to raise funds for “Commitment For Life”.

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A Pack of Lies Two slightly less energetic events followed in August when we joined Fringe Festival goers to see a marvellous play “A Pack of Lies” wonderfully acted by Saughtonhall URC Drama Group and the “Loud and Proud” Scotland’s first LGBT choir, a Fringe charity concert in aid of Waverley Care, where we were entertained by a real mixture of songs new and old.

what a Beetle, Drive is come along from 6p.m. to 8p.m. and find out.

St Andrew’s ceilidh For all us patriotic Scots either original or adopted, we plan to celebrate our patron saint, St Andrew, with a St Andrew’s evening ceilidh in the Sanctuary on Friday 26th October from 6p.m. to 8p.m

Christmas Party Post Harvest Service lunch Whew, what a social summer we’ve had – and it doesn’t stop there. On Sunday 25th September we are sharing in a post-Harvest Service lunch. To tie in with harvest time we would invite people to bring food produced in Scotland – even better from your own garden – and home baking, bread, jam etc which can contribute to reducing our carbon footprint and which we can all share in. This lunch will be held in the church and if there are any volunteers out there to help set up and clear up please contact me.

Beetle Drive & Bingo We are hoping to hold a Beetle Drive and Bingo evening in October. The date is still to be confirmed, so keep your eyes and ears open. If, like me, you don’t know

It’s hard to believe that our next event will be a Christmas party – some of us haven’t even had our summer holiday yet! However, Christmas does come round quickly, so mark in your diaries Friday 10th December 6p.m. to 8p.m.; and if you’ve been good all year a certain elderly gentleman in a red suit may be in the vicinity Ho ho ho no!

New Year There are more things planned for the New Year but it’s good to keep that element of surprise so watch this space. Hopefully, you’ll be able to join us for some or all of these events which will give us the opportunity to have fun and get to know each other a bit better – “You’ll never know unless you go”!!

www.augustine.org.uk


Social Events | Seeds

The Garden Party by Nancy Dyer It has been a real pleasure to welcome back for party organised every year at Olive and Willie’s place. a few Sundays our “Old Friends”, Christine and Jim It was a delightful afternoon: no meeting, no McLellan, now resident in Cyprus, on a stopover visit agenda, no business,, no reports, just sitting in the before flying on to the USA. sun, talking (and eating! ) and it also raised £225 for Sunday 25th July was a splendid opportunity for a the project which was very commendable. social get-together for many of us at Sheila’s at LoanSo a lot of thanks to Sheila for the wonderful head, and making it a double occasion, combining hospitality, – and to all who helped. Good wishes to the social with raising some It was a delightful afternoon and Jim and Christine on their trip money for our “Commitment it also raised £225 for the project to Las Vegas. We should see for Life” project, for Christian them again before they depart which was very commendable. Aid’s work in Palestine. once more for warmer climes, Sheila, as usual, with their help, provided a mouth- – which have a lot to commend them, now that watering afternoon tea. normal service seems to have resumed for a Scottish The sun came out and shone brilliantly, so we summer, as far as the weather is concerned! could overflow and move from dining room, conservaHere’s to the next time ! tory, garden, garage, wherever, and really take time to chat, get to know each other, and get up to date on everybody’s doings! It became a mini Garden party – reminding us of much missed Olive, and the garden

Inchcolm 2010

The annual excursion to Inchcolm took place as usual this year on the last Sunday in August, the 29th, in the usual atmosphere of cordiality, varied by the bemuse-ment of those passengers who were not of the TLC party, and in the rather unusual atmosphere of a half-gale, which naturally ruffled neither the surface of the river unduly, nor the spirits of the travellers. It’s a feature of this annual event that it never becomes a commonplace. How can it, when Inchcolm echoes the peace that the monks aimed for, and when the ministers of the TLC churches can facilitate such a true ambience for worship in its aged but still breathing walls. J

www.augustine.org.uk

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Seeds | URC General Assembly

A Flavour of the URC General Assembly

The main focus this Assembly is the Vision 2020 Framework – a 10 year frame work to inspire growth and development – in churches, locally and at synod level. by Kathleen Ziffo I was one of twenty representatives from the Synod of Scotland to attend General Assembly. The new Moderators inducted are Revd Dr Kirsty Thorpe and Mrs Val Morrison; both have the same status. (It is not a case of the Lay person helping out the Minister!) A Children’s Assembly ran concurrently, with about 40 children participating in their own, and at times the adult, programme. It was interesting to note that at a presentation, the Synod of Scotland has done more than most in already developing the way in which we in Scotland look at what we are doing. By that I mean, in the Synod of Scotland we have already come up with the 8 Aspirations – the ways we see ourselves as being and becoming - as URC Christians in Scotland. See our Synod Aspirations leaflet! One idea to come from Vision 2020 is Local Mission Pledges – where churches, after deliberation, decide what their three or four main areas of focus are, and then pledge to achieve these. We have started doing this already in AUC. There is to be a “marketing campaign” rolled out over the next year or so. There was initially some dissention about the whole concept of “marketing” Should we 10 September 2010

market only our brand of church/ denomination, or rather Christianity? The campaign, however, is based on the “God is Still Speaking ” campaign, which some of us heard about over a year ago. As this is a USA campaign, it has now been decided that legal costs prohibit adopting it, and ours will be a similar but home-grown version. One innovation was a short film presentation of the work of five community projects. These have been recognised by the granting of awards to those considered to have achieved most. The award winners included : a community café “Cafe Unity” in Heald Green, London; an initiative encouraging young people to manage conflict, called “Peaceful Solutions for Conflict Resolution” in Tottenham, London where there are high levels of violence including knife and gun crime; two second prize winners – a volunteer-staffed community shop of donated goods where people in need can take items for free, in Caradoc, Liverpool; and a children’s allotment which engages youth in gardening, in Southend; and the first prize went to a project of asylum justice where a free legal advice and representation service is made available in Cardiff. One of the more contentious de-

bates concerned two separate but related resolutions. One concerned new Ethical Investment Policy. It was agreed that investment in any company reaching the new ethical policy standards can be made. The other concerned whether or not to continue with a boycott of Nestle products. This Nestle boycott began in 1992 in protest at the company’s then policy of marketing and distributing breast-milk substitutes to mothers in poorer countries, particularly those with unclean water. There have now been certain improvements in some of the company’s policies but not in all of its actions. It was decided that, should the Nestle company gain acceptance by the FTSE4Good Index, by reaching prescribed standards of corporate responsibility, the URC boycott of products could be rescinded. Obviously with two years passing since previous General Assembly in 2008, there was a good amount of “business” to plough through! This included honouring over 70 Jubilee ministers who celebrated 50 (and up to 70) years since Ordination, and welcoming new Ministers. Our Synod of Scotland Moderator, Rev John Humphreys, has had his term of office extended until his retirement www.augustine.org.uk


Book Review | Seeds in 2016. Voted to be Moderators from 2012 until 2014 are Lawrence Moore (the Windermere Centre) and Rev Dr Michael Jagessar (Secretary of Racial Justice and MultiCultural Ministries). The Resolution on the length of the Ministers’ Working Week was passed, by majority vote . This prescription is that a Minister should work between 160 and 192 hours in any 4 week period. The discussion centred on how one defines a Minister’s “work”. Clocking-in is definitely not required! Nonetheless, it is good that Elders and Congregations should be aware of the amount of time their minister is working, and keep some form of caring check on it. Guidelines for the conduct and behaviour of Ministers, Church Related Community Workers and Elders were also eventually agreed after some folk objected to attempts to define such as “living a holy life”, and about duties and activities which might be damaging to the church. E.g., there was discussion about the type and amount of sexual and pre-sexual activity a Minister, CRCW or Elder might engage in with a member of the church, if not already married to that person. This included a single Minister “going out with” or being seen to “have a special interest in” another church member. These are however “guidelines” and common sense must be allowed to prevail! There were two inspiring speakers. One was the new director of Christian Aid, Loretta Minghella whose film director brother Anthowww.augustine.org.uk

ny died recently (remember The English Patient, Cold Mountain) who explained how her life and career path, from reasonable comfort and being in the legal profession, brought her to lead Christian Aid. She spoke of the great enthusiasm and determination of people working in the organisation, and of how much the URC’s Commitment for Life programme donates to CA. She vividly related her experience in visiting desperately deprived areas of Kenya, where the hope that the Christians have shines through, and the realisation that doing even a small amount to help means so much to those with so very little. The other inspiring speaker was the outgoing Moderator himself, Rev John Marsh, who also spoke very movingly of his welcome on visits to extraord-inarily poor communities, about the difference which deprived people derive from small improvements to their lives, and about their gratitude and good cheer, compared with our oftendissatisfied self-seeking communities in the West. He also indicated what it is like being a Moderator of the General Assembly, representing the URC to ourselves in churches, to the wider UK churches and to the secular world; in presiding over councils and committees and in leading decisions in councils – for 2 years. He had driven 18,698 miles, travelled on 36 trains and 3 flights; been away for 261 days, visited 50 local churches and sat in 55 committees and interviews – not to mention his own preparation-time!And that is just a flavour of the Assembly. J

BOOK REVIEW

“Three Cups of Tea” is a piece of village wisdom taught to Greg Mortenson by Haji Ali – you drink the first cup of tea with a stranger, the second with a friend; and after the third they will do anything for you – even die. As I write, I am looking forward to seeing Greg Mortenson, a writer featured at this year’s Book Festival. With David Oliver Relin, he wrote Three Cups of Tea, which introduces us to him, his work and his dedication to bringing education to Pakistani and Afghan children, particularly girls, and gives us an insight into the character of the man, a model of how to win the trust and friendship of ordinary people and community leaders in countries where the need of support is great; and building bridges between our communities creates opportunities for making peace. Mortenson is an American who spent part of his childhood in Tanzania with his mis-

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Calendar AUC Worship: Services at 11am at AUC, George IV Bridge, unless otherwise stated September

October

Sunday 5th 11 am: Morning Service Tues. 7th 7.30pm: Elders meet. Sat. 11th. 10.30am: Synod meets in Fraserburgh URC. Sun. 12th 11.00am: Communion and Baptism. Wed. 15th. 7.30pm: TLC reps. meet in Greyfriars. Sun. 19th 11.00am: Service followed by Church meeting. Sat. 25th 7.00pm: Our Tribe – Labyrinth. guided walk by Di Williams, 7pm (sharp) at AUC (see p. 5 above). Sun. 26th 11.00am: Harvest Thanksgiving with Mike Holroyd. Mon. 27th 2.00pm: Women’s Union resumes at Saughtonhall. Sat. 30th 7 pm: Our Tribe, led by Fiona Bennett.

Sun. 3rd. 11.00am: Communion. 2.30pm: Galashiels URC last service in present Building. Tues. 5th 7.30pm: Elders meet.

Seeds | BOOK REVIEW sionary parents. His sister Christa contracted severe meningitis as a toddler from which she never really recovered, dying from an epileptic seizure aged 23. When Mortenson, an experienced climber, set off in 1993 to climb K2, he did so intent on dedicating his climb to her memory. He never reached the summit, however, as one of his fellow-climbers got into difficulties, and he found himself instead part of an exhausting rescue. On

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the descent he became detached from the rest of the group and, disorientated and exhausted, he staggered into the remote village of Korphe in the Karakoram Mountains of northern Pakistan. Inspired by the humanity he found among the impoverished villagers who nursed him back to strength, he promised the village elder, Haji Ali, that he would return and build them a school as an expression of his gratitude. Back in America, he had a frus-

trating time raising the money, but eventually, with the backing of a wealthy sponsor, kept his promise, and has gone on to build many more schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan (always secular and mixed sex). He has struggled for funding, survived a kidnapping, escaped a firefight between Afghan opium warlords, endured two fatwās (for educating girls) and received hate mail and threats in his home country for helping educate Muslim children.

Please note that the deadline for material for the October issue is 27 September. You can send your material to Bill Stevenson at newsletter@Augustine.org.uk. DISCLAIMER: Although we check all information in the newsletter, as ever with these things we can give no warranties as to accuracy or relevance and encourage active checking before you make any decisions. The views expressed in our newsletter are those of the individual contributor, they are not necessarily those of AUC or the editor.


Seeds No 2 Sept 2010