In the first of a short series, Rev. Stuart Davison,
Regional Minister and Team Leader for the South East Baptist
Association offers this month's theological reflection.
Up a tree…
Maybe the wrong tree!
A Council has been accused of wasting £100,000 when it imported trees
from Italy to create a boulevard – which promptly withered and died.
The trees had to be replaced with European Acers, a type of Sycamore.
Next month I shall again be in Israel/Palestine. Once
more I shall look at the Sycamore-fig tree in Jericho and wonder how
old it is. At the time of Jesus the tree would have been outside
the town and Zacchaeus would have run ahead of the crowd in order to
climb up it and get a look at Jesus.
He was an outsider who would have risked life and limb if he had mixed
in with the crowd; a despised person who worked for the occupying
forces; an oppressor of the people. So he did two things a Jewish man
normally wouldn’t do – he hitched up his robes and ran and he climbed a
tree – and that’s where Jesus found him. And the people of the town
would have expected Jesus to mock him. But Jesus didn’t. He reached out
to this outsider.
Earlier, on the way into the town, Jesus had another encounter. This
time it was with another outsider but this time he was one oppressed –
a blind man named Bartimaeus. Again the crowd’s expectations of Jesus
weren’t realised: he reached and healed the man.
In the aftermath of Brexit we need to remember we follow One who met
with and offered hope and life to the oppressed and the oppressor, the
outsiders whether inflicted by others or self-inflicted, turning both
their lives around.
#Just1Thing Exhibition in
If you had to leave your home, what one thing would you take? That
is one of the questions being asked by an exhibition of photos,
artwork and video animations created by asylum seekers and refugees
on display at St. Mary’s Church in Dover.
Running until the 10 September, it's been compiled by two local
charities: Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN);
and Samphire, a Dover-based
charity working to support former immigration detainees
and promote good relations between migrants and local
There is a chance to learn more about the experience of refugees at
a facilitated session with volunteers from the two
charities on Wednesday 7 September 11am to 1pm. Do drop in if
you can. Find out more here.
A number of job vacancies with closing dates in September have come
to our attention. Please share with those you think would be
Family Trust in Maidstone are
looking for a Children’s/Schools Worker, full or part-time.
Salary £16 – 18,000 P/A Pro Rata, to be based in
Maidstone. For more information contact Alex Clark on email@example.com.
Closing date 16th
The Charterhouse is an
almshouse based near the Barbican, providing residential care
to a community of elderly gentlemen since 1611. They
are seeking an exceptional individual to lead
their ancient and highly-regarded charitable foundation
through to 2020 and beyond. The closing date for applications
30th September. For a full job
description visit their website or contact
Giles Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org
Speak Up! Christian Aid Week of
Join Christian Aid and the Climate Coalition for the Speak Up week
of action from 8-16 October. Last year over 10,000 people from
around the UK came together to Westminster to meet with their MPs
and speak up for what they loved This
year, Christian Aid are inviting communities to engage their MPs in
a local event to bring climate-change back to the top of the
political agenda. For resources on how to involve you church
and how to arrange an event in your constituency visit the Speak Up
Christians uniting for
Christians around the world, and from every denomination, are being
encouraged to engage with the World Day of Prayer for Creation and the
Season of Creation that follows it. Running from 1
September until 4 October every year, Creationtide is originally an
Eastern Orthodox initiative, but has now spread widely among
Anglican, Roman Catholic and Protestant congregations, bringing
Christians together to pray and work for the protection of the
environment that sustains everyone.
The Church of England has commended a set of liturgical resources for the
occasion, and a prayer has been published by a
trio of pan-European church bodies for Christians to join in
praying together during the season.
Independent Living Advice Service
The Royal British Legion have relaunched their Independent Living Advice Service. They
have several specialists who focus on particular issues that
can trouble veterans and their families in the communities. Sally
Shopland is the Independent Living Advisor for the South East and
would be willing to speak to any churches about the service
which may help elderly veterans in their congregations. For more
details please contact Sally Shopland on email@example.com
or 0808 802 8080
URC Retreats Fellowship - Final
Quiet Day of 2016
The Retreats Fellowship of theUnited
Reformed Church, Southern Synod will be holding a Quiet
Day on Saturday 1 October 10am to 4pm. Taking place
at Swanley URC, High Street, Swanley BR8 8AT, it is open to all
who want to deepen their relationship with God through prayer,
reflection and silence and who would value the encouragement of
others. The cost is £8 (bring packed lunch, drinks provided)
Get 'on yer bike' and raise funds for your church!
The annual Ride and Stride fundraising event takes
place on Saturday 10 September. You can raise money for your local
church building just by riding, or walking around Kent and enjoying
the late summer sunshine. Friends of Kent Churches have created
this lovely film which gives you all the
information you need about why this is such a useful cause. There is
still time to get involved Sign up here, either as a church or
as an individual!