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Strengthening church

Below is an article that was originally published in the Summer 2018 issue of Village Link, itself based on my opening address at our 2018 Annual Conference. Strengthening ‘Strengthen’ occurs about twenty times in the NT, translating Greek words, with meanings of ‘supporting’, ‘upholding’, ‘making more firm’, ‘straightening out’ and ‘fixing in place’. In Hebrews (12:12), the writer exhorts us to ‘strengthen our weak knees’. Anyone who has had a knee injury knows that strengthening

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Preparing for the earthquake

In October 2016, a violent earthquake struck central Italy destroying the medieval basilica of St Benedict in Norcia, the town closest to the epicentre. This was the fourth time in three months earthquakes had hit central Italy. Norcia (formerly Nursia) was the home town of St Benedict, the 6th Century founder of Western monasticism. The cathedral was built in the 14th Century in his honour. Benedict is widely recognised as one of the founding fathers

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Why opt for the Benedict option?

  In an earlier post, I introduced and commended the The Benedict Option by American author, Rod Dreher. The book was published in 2017 and quickly became a best seller – and the focus of much debate and controversy among Christians of all persuasions. A while after its publication, Christian Today ran an article setting out ‘five reasons to value The Benedict Option’, from a British perspective. These are summarised below. “The Benedict Option emphasises

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Little Gidding revisited

In an earlier post, I described how Little Gidding, the home of the Ferrar family in the 17C, remains a powerful symbol and inspiration to those of us seeking to live a life of prayer, community and service in our own time. However, although scholars of English church history will be very familiar with the story of Nicholas Ferrar, it was the 20C poet, T S Eliot who really put Little Gidding on the map.

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Animal stories

Food is the most direct link we have between culture and nature, city and farm folk.  It can serve as the point of interest that unites urbanites with farming concerns. As  we begin to understand that food is not simply fuel, but is in fact a natural, social, cultural and spiritual product, we will also make the effort to foster the practical conditions necessary to protect and preserve ecological and social health. (Norman Wirzba, 2003).1

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In an earlier post, I described how the story of the household of Nicholas Ferrar at Little Gidding in the 17C provides inspiration to those of us today seeking to live a life of prayer, community and service, and to proclaim the Kingdom of God. The next century provides a perhaps much better known and more comprehensive example and model in the story of the Moravians at Herrnhut – one that has inspired and influenced

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Food, land, people, and the road to Emmaus

The Harvest Festival season is almost over, but not too late to offer some reflections on the meaning of harvest. Below is, therefore, a transcript of a harvest thanksgiving address I gave at Worcester Cathedral three years ago.   Address at Worcestershire County Harvest Festival, Worcester Cathedral, 2 October 2016 Dr Peter Carruthers, Honorary Senior Fellow, University of Worcester, Executive Director, Village Hope (Readings – Verses from Psalm 104, Luke 24: 13-35) It’s always difficult

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The fragility of our walk

Fragile – not a word that appears in the Bible, nor one that we tend to think of as a desirable trait, yet I have heard two people use it recently to describe the Church in the countryside.  I suppose they mean that rural congregations and groups tend to be small in number, with ministry gifts and responsibilities tending to be in the hands of just one or two individuals.  They mean that many of

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Little Gidding

Earlier this month (4 December), the Church of England commemorated the life of Nicholas Ferrar (1592-1637) as a ‘minor festival’. Nicholas Ferrar was a scholar and businessman, briefly an MP, and a deacon in the Church of England. He was a close friend of the poet and hymn writer, George Herbert. In 1626, having lost much of the family fortune in the Virginia Company, he retreated with his family in 1626 to the manor of

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