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Whatever the weather: April 2008

APRIL, April,
Laugh thy girlish laughter;
Then, the moment after,
Weep thy girlish tears!

April, that mine ears
Like a lover greetest,
If I tell thee, sweetest,
All my hopes and fears,

April, April,
Laugh thy golden laughter,
But, the moment after,
Weep thy golden tears!

Mothering Sunday - March 2008

One interesting side-effect of Lent and Easter being so early this year is that right at the beginning of March we come to Mothering Sunday, the fourth Sunday in Lent, when traditionally in churches we look at - you've guessed it - the role of mother: as played by God, by the church, by our own female parent or even by anyone and everyone, male or female, who displays nurturing and caring qualities.

Passing on our faith to the next generation

In the first generation of Christians, this was not an issue. They thought that before there was a next generation, Jesus would return to usher in the end of the world and God's judgment. However, they were wrong. The world did not end, and if the Jesus movement were not itself to die out, the good news about him would have to be passed onto the next generation. The first way Christians did this was to write down the stories about what Jesus said and did, before those eyewitnesses who could attest to their truth had all died.

Jesus in the Bible

I was very glad when Dr Yussef suggested this title for our dialogue this month. But I was also aware that in choosing this topic we are treading on holy ground, the ground of one another's deepest beliefs. Just as I understand Muslims treat the Qur'an as God's revelation, whole and perfect, so Christians treat Jesus.

British church leaders urge Southern Africa countries to ‘redouble’ efforts to ensure fair elections in Zimbabwe

In a joint letter, twelve senior British church leaders have called on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to "redouble" its efforts to ensure fair elections in Zimbabwe, where people are due to vote on 27 June in a second round to elect a president.

Since December 2007, churches and agencies in Britain with partners or projects in Zimbabwe have been meeting at a Roundtable to take counsel on how they might best work together in support of their partners. The joint letter is a fruit of their discussions.

How do Christians read their scriptures?

In these dialogues so far, the question has often been asked from the Muslim side: your scriptures say such-and-such - so why don't you do it?

Women's World Day of Prayer 2008

Job 28:20-28; Luke 10:38-42; John 15:9-17: God's wisdom provides new understanding

Calenders - who needs them? February 2008

I'm sorry to admit it, but February has never been my favourite month of the year. Christmas is over, as is the optimism generated by the new year, but there are few signs of spring. I like to think that others are of my opinion, since in the normal way of things we are only allotted twenty-eight days of February to endure, but this year - leap year - we have to grin and bear February for another whole day. Grrrr!

'New' Year - bad or good? January 2008

Happy New Year! is a fairly safe thing to wish one another at this time of the calendar. But the word ‘New', when it's not wrapped up in Hogmanay - and the idea of novelty behind it - is one that people either love or hate.
If the adverts are anything to go by, the people who market goods and services to us seem to think we all believe that new has to mean an improvement on the old - even if the only difference in a product is a change in colour, its desirability and price go up accordingly!

Hands off Christmas! December 2007

A recent leaked report from the Institute for Public Policy Research has suggested that in our multicultural Britain other festivals beside Christmas should be celebrated nationally. Predictably, this has provoked a reaction of ‘hands off the British Christmas!' from some newspapers. Another predictable reaction came from Sayeeda Warsi, a British Muslim who is the Conservative spokeswoman on community cohesion. "These proposals could actually damage cohesion," she is reported as saying.


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