Lamed Vavniks and Remembrance Sunday

This Sunday at the bandstand we began by sharing images and stories of individuals affected by the horrors of war and took a minute’s silence to remember.

The war in Ukraine, the economic crisis, climate change, the strains on the NHS, the problems of illegal migrants, the corruption in the police force, fake news and the polarisation of politics… the news is unremittingly grim and I am not alone in feeling pretty much helpless in being able to do anything of real significance to make anything better. Except…

In clearing out a load of books recently, I flicked through ‘The Ragman’ by Walter Wangerin for my eye to fall upon a short passage referring to his belief in the lamed vaniks. I had no idea what that meant and hurried away to find out more. From that came inspiration, encouragement and hope that I can make  a difference after all.

Lamed and vav are Hebrew letters that represent the numbers 30 and 6. In the Talmud, according to Hassidic tradition, there are, at any one time, at least 36 righteous people whose unremarkable but faithful lives effectively save the world from destruction. The idea has its roots in the story of Abraham interceding for the people of Sodom, asking God to spare them if there are 10 righteous people. Now I do not subscribe to a God of wrath who needs to be appeased by 36 good people to stop him obliterating us all, but I do believe in the notion of ‘ordinary’ people being conduits of the kingdom of God, creating ‘thin places’, altering history, unbeknownst to them or others. I found 3 readings for everyone to walk with and 3 questions to consider. Here they are:

Jewish thought:

The lamed vavniks are fonts of lovingkindness, pouring compassion on the world and using the gifts and talents they were given by God to raise up those around them.

“Without their acts of lovingkindness,” writes Rabbi Rami Shapiro, “life on this planet would implode under the weight of human selfishness, anger, ignorance and greed.” In his book, “The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness,” Rabbi Shapiro explains that cultivating the sacred art of lovingkindness is enrolling one’s self in the ranks of the lamed vavniks.

“The tipping point for maintaining human life on this planet is thirty-six people practicing the sacred art of lovingkindness at any given moment,” he writes. “These need not be the same thirty-six people at each moment, however. I believe that people step into and out of the lamed-vavnik role, and that at any given moment thirty-six people are stepping in.”

Rabbi Shapiro calls us to a similar mission and offers some sage advice. He writes, “Once you realize that the whole world depends on you for its very survival, you will not lack in opportunities to serve. Just remember that you are a hidden saint.

This is expressing the view that since nobody knows who the Lamed vavniks are, not even themselves, every Jew should act as if he or she might be one of them; i.e. lead a holy and humble life and pray for the sake of fellow human beings.

Christian thought:

For Catholics, Pope Francis reminds us that sainthood is a vocation for which we should all strive. In his Apostolic Exhortation, “Gaudete et Exsultate: On the Call to Holiness in Today’s World,” he writes of the saints “next door,” those members of our families and communities whose often- unrecognized holiness plays a part in our salvation as members of the People of God.

He writes, “Let us be spurred on by the signs of holiness that the Lord shows us through the humblest members of that people which shares also in Christ’s prophetic office, spreading abroad a living witness to him, especially by means of a life of faith and charity.”

Pope Francis reminds us that real history is made up by so many of them, quoting St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross: “The greatest figures of prophecy and sanctity step forth out of the darkest night. But for the most part, the formative stream of the mystical life remains invisible. Certainly, the most decisive turning points in world history are substantially co-determined by souls whom no history book ever mentions. And we will only find out about those souls to whom we owe the decisive turning points in our personal lives on the day when all that is hidden is revealed.”

Originally published in the Fall 2020 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.

Secular thought:

The final words of George Eliot’s Middlemarch

And Dorothea, she had no dreams of being praised above other women.
Feeling that there was always something better which she might have done if she had only been better and known better, her full nature spent itself in deeds which left no great name on the earth, but the effect of her being on those around her was incalculable. For the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts and on all those Dorotheas who live faithfully their hidden lives and rest in unvisited tombs.

Questions to ponder:

1.        Identify, remember and give thanks for those who have been lamed vavniks in your life. (People who have lived in a way that has made life better for the quality and modelling of their lives).

2.        How can we, or anyone, save the world from Climate Change / the innocent losing their lives, homeland, families, security in war-torn countries / the damage of conspiracy theories, fake news and politics of hate? Rob Bell suggests that the idea of quantum entanglement – where everything is connected and can influence other things, no matter the physical proximity – might apply to more than just quantum physics. Could it be that an act of loving kindness might affect others in the world unbeknownst to them? How might this encourage us to pray / act / speak differently, despite feeling that so much going on in the world right now is outside of our power and influence?

3.        How could you ‘enrol in the ranks of the lamed vavniks’ in one practical way this week?

Back at the bandstand after sharing our thoughts, we shared bread and wine for the world, for those know to us and those not known who need Jesus now. There is an invitation to be a member of the lamed vavniks. The way we live, what we say, what we pray, really can influence people far away and situations seemingly way beyond our control. Like Walter Wangerein – I believe it!

Sebastian and Catherine at the bandstand

We began our time together ithis mornning n glorious sunshine and blue skies with a wonderful Mary Oliver poem ‘Just a minute said a voice…’ which begins:

‘Just a minute’ said a voice in the weeds.

So I stood still

In the day’s exquisite early morning light….

Which allowed us all to give our Creator a minute and to be present to the moment.

Then it was a sharing of the story of two saints arising from our recent visit to Tuscany.

Steve shared an image of Saint Sebastian and gave an overview of his significance before sharing an image of a fresco we had come across in St Augustine’s, San Gimignano, dating from the 1400s. We had been rather aghast at its theology.

There despite Mary baring her bosom to show how much she had done to nourish the world, despite the wounds shown by Christ to show how he had sacrificed himself to save the world, God was unmoved. He just hurled his arrows of plague and pestilence upon the people anyway! Only by pleading with St Sebastian to protect them could the people find help – you see him here spreading his cloak over them to deflect the arrows! When we saw this artwork we agreed ‘That’s not MY God’!

The next day we had visited Siena and I was keen to visit the home church of St Catherine of Siena – where, coincidentally, her mummified head (and right thumb!) are on display over the altar in a chapel dedicated to her! The image of her face shared on WhatsApp was less enjoyed- you can look it up on Google images should you wish! Like her contemporary of Julian of Norwich in the 1300s, she challenged errant Church theology and corruption as mystic, author and activist. Despite being born into a time of plague, she taught that our relationship with God is not one of contention but rather God was the sea and we the fish – God is the one who sustains all life, in whom we are immersed.

Repentance and spiritual renewal was not to be found through the sacraments or indulgences (!) but by love for God and resonating with our favourite Celtic saint, Brendan, she encouraged total trust in God: ‘Turn over the rudder in God’s name, and sail with the wind heaven sends us.’

Finally, a favourite quote of mine by her: ‘Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.’ Which I have shared many a time with pupils I have taught as well as taking to heart for myself. There are different seasons in our lives with numbers of callings, I think, but it always worth coming back to as we consider what our calling is that only we can fulfil…

So, we walked with and considered those three quotations and what any might have to say to us:

‘Turn over the rudder in God’s name, and sail with the wind heaven sends us.’

‘Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.’

‘God is the sea and we are the fish’

We returned to pray for folks we know and for the world in all its turmoil, oppression and injustice, before using the Companions liturgy to share bread and wine. A final Celtic blessing was followed by much discussion of these things and others over coffee at Cool River!

Headspace at Bod

So, to give folks an insight onto what we get up to some Wednesday evenings – this is what we did last week at Bod – a local pub to us.

Every so often we used to have an evening called ‘Headspace’ – always at a pub – as a fun, relaxed evening together. This was our first time back in a pub since lockdown and it was good to revive an old tradition.

Headspace consists of everyone writing questions, whether serious or silly, and putting them into a hat. We draw then out in turn, each having to answer first and then others joining in.

Here were the questions we had time for this week:

Is the good the enemy of the best?

Which fictional character do you think you are most like?

Name 3 biblical books you wouldn’t miss!!

If you could go to just one sporting final, which would it be?

What sport would be funniest to a mandatory amount of alcohol to?

Deserted railway station. 1 hour. 2 glasses. Dubonnet and gin with the Queen or Sherry with Sandra Bullock?

Deserted railway station. 1 hour. 2 glasses. Bottle of whisky with Alex Salmond or Elderflower Cordial with Nicola Sturgeon?

Lots of laughter and some heated debate when we deviated from those to related – or unrelated- issues! A lot of fun and good for getting to know those newer to the group!

Easter week 2022

We had a special few days back together after the last two years of disruption.

Maundy Thursday – a special meal, using words for bread and wine, but otherwise keeping things to a minimum this first year of not having Grayden with us. We used words that we have used before – see the resources page. The meal itself was wonderful – veggie tagine and salads and flatbreads and hot-cross bun bread and butter pudding…with talk and laughter and reflection… A joy to be around the table again.

Good Friday- our first Tenebrae sevice led by Sarah on Zoom, with our ThirdSpace diaspora able to join. Very special indeed…

Easter Sunday morning – half an hour of silent reflcetion in our garden in brilliant sunshine and loud birdsong. We had two biblical readings -John 20 ‘Meeting Jesus in the garden’ and John 21 ‘An invitation to breakfast’, a written piece by Grayden -this being his first Easter in his resurrection life as well as his 71st birthday and a prayer for the world any or all of which folk could use as they wished, seated int he gazebo by the fire or around the garden.

Grayden’s words from 2018 and repeated in lockdown in 2020:

Resurrected with wounds.

After his resurrection, Jesus appears to be resurrected and yet wounded at the same time. This is the unexpected appearance of the Risen Jesus.

His resurrected body remains scarred. Thinking about this over the last few days I’ve found it very strange, surely we’d expect his resurrected body to be perfect, to be unscarred.

Then we find from reading the gospels that Jesus’ wounds are part of his identity. Because it’s by his wounds that his followers recognised him as Jesus. It is only by seeing his wounds and scars that Thomas is able to identify Jesus as his Lord and his God. The brokenness of Jesus body seems to be a very important part of his identity; his wounds are part of who Jesus is.

Will we also be resurrected with our wounds? We all have wounds that are caused by sickness, by accidents, by the actions of others and by the problems and disappointments of life.

All of us are wounded.  Even Jesus is wounded after his resurrection.  Resurrection hope doesn’t seem to do away with our woundedness. By retaining the wounds of his torture and execution, is Jesus showing us that we can find hope and strength in him?

It seems to me that many Christians think faith requires denying the ways our bodies retain the scars of continued pain and injury; in our memories, in our struggles with illness and injury, in our despair over others’ apathy when faced with injustice.

The risen yet wounded Jesus wants to open our eyes to see the pain of others, the destruction of the earth due to our greed and foolishness, and our part in wounding others near and far. Jesus offers us a peace that recognises the hard reality of injury and hurt.

So our resurrection hope does not deny the reality of wounds. Jesus although resurrected with wounds is not disabled by them. That’s what I think he wants for us.

We can freely enter into his resurrection hope just as we are – wounds and all.

Our faith is in a God who is always with us in our woundedness.

A liturgy marginally adapted from Cheryl Laurie

The resurrection was first discovered by the friends of Jesus who stood in grief outside his tomb.

Resurrection turned despair into life. It was discovered again by a group of Jesus’ disciples who had known the loss of all they had known.

Resurrection turned fear into hope. It was discovered again by black South Africans when apartheid was dismantled.

Resurrection turned injustice into liberation. It was discovered again by the people of East Timor who fought for independence.

Resurrection turned oppression into freedom. It’s been discovered again whenever someone has found the space to love after being hurt, has found the courage to begin again when it seems life has ended. And that gives us faith to believe resurrection will happen in Palestine and Israel.

We have faith to believe resurrection will happen in Iraq, Syria and Ukraine. We have faith to believe resurrection will happen in refugee camps in Europe, in Laos and detention centres in Maribyrnong.

We have faith to believe resurrection will happen in the systems that crumple and oppress.

We have faith to believe resurrection will happen in the lives we know are shattered and the hearts we know are broken.

may the resurrection come.

may the resurrection come.


We gathered in the gazebo thereafter to plant a ‘resurrection tree’ for Grayden there – a Katsura – and Barbara’s sister Liz read a reflection. This was followed by a David Adam blessing, from ‘The edge of glory’ :

This Easter may…

The Lord of the empty tomb, the conqueror of gloom

Come to you

The Lord of the upper room, dispelling doubt and gloom

Come to you

The Lord in the garden walking – the Lord to Mary talking

Come to you

The Lord on the road to Emmaus, the Lord giving hope to Thomas

The Lord appearing on the shore giving us life for evermore

Come to you

And then, using Jesus’ words, we had the invitation ‘Come and have breakfast’. We had barbecued fish and rolls, veggie sausages, croissants, coffeees and teas and wonderful chats and reunions… Happy Easter everyone Christ is risen!

Grayden Daniels – Promoted to Glory

This Sunday in bright sunshine and blue sky and birdsong, we met at the bandstand reeling from losing on Friday our beloved Grayden, husband to Barbara, father, grandfather, friend, companion, co-founder of ThirdSpace and inspiration to us all… Jeremy led us in a gentle time together and I adapted the following words from some found and adapted 10 years ago for our dear friend Tony. Here first, are words about our grief and hope:

A prayer of protest and hope February 2022

Today we stand in the tension of sadness and hope

We come to you Lord Jesus

We come to protest against the horror of death

We set our hope in you

We protest against the suffering that Grayden had to bear

Thank you that he is, at last, made new

We protest against the distress that Barbara and Matthew and Emma, Liz and Georgia and all the family have been going through in these last few months and weeks

We ask for your comfort, healing and hope

We affirm that we cannot pretend, and will not pretend, that death is anything less than an affront to you, Bringer of Life

We stand defiant in the hope that you promise to make all things new

We give you thanks for the life and witness of Grayden, for his unshakable commitment to the poor and the marginalised and to Kingdom Justice

May his example spur us on to live authentically like him

We thank you for the privilege of knowing our companion Grayden, for his part in the founding of ThirdSpace and its direction and essence, for all we have learnt from him, for the times spent together, for the overlap of our lives

We look to our reunion with him in the renewed earth, to drinking wine exceeding the finest Barossa and to feasting at the table prepared for us all

Let us hold firmly to the hope we claim to have

The One who promised is faithful.

Here are Jeremy’s words that brought soothing and consolation:

In the vastness of the universe, or even the vastness of our own planet and of our species, we are made significant and of value in him and by him.

In him we live and move and have our being

Listen to the birdsong

Matt 10, 29

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.[b] 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

In him we live and move and have our being

Survey the surroundings

Psalm 8

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
    in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
    and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
    and the fish in the sea,
    all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

In him we live and move and have our being

Close eyes and be mindful of ourself

1 Peter 1:23-25

23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For,

“All people are like grass,
    and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25     but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

And this is the word that was preached to you.

In him we live and move and have our being

God is here – be still

2 Cor 4. 7

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 

In him we live and move and have our being

We are made significant and of value in him and by him.

We shared bread adn wine and blessed one another…

Community versus loneliness

This last Sunday Sarah and Karen led us for the first time. Sarah began with reading an extract from Ruby Wax’s book, ‘And now for the good news’ about our need for community, much of which made us laugh. Then Karen had us draw concentric cirles and to fill in names of those closest to us in the centre, then those near but not as close and so on. That led beautifully to prayer for those on our sheets.

Other words used are here below, as well as bread and wine words on our resources pagecalled ‘Seasons’and the reflection ‘Roots and wings’

Evolutionary sociology has determined that operate at our best in groups of around 100 people.  This number enables the maximum co-operation and a chance to acknowledge and ‘know’ everyone in the group. 

Xenophobia and mistrust arise only when resources are sparse and competition is introduced.

What does this mean for our present society where the extended family is no longer the norm and loneliness is a major problem?

Contrary to our modern thinking about ‘stranger danger’ it appears we are actually hard wired to be sociable beings, thriving best when we are in environments where both mundane and meaningful contact with others is made easy. When we talk to people we get a release of oxytocin, even just from passing small talk.

So saying hello, stopping for a moment to chat with neighbours and strangers those in our community can bring more benefits and blessings to other that we might imagine When we are smiled at it is hard not to smile in return, and the act of smiling, the muscles used, even when unintended, cause this release.

Known as the proximity exchange it can explain why lockdown was hard. It is easy to think this means we always need our interactions to be in person, however similar results are achieved using technology, anything that increases our contact, makes us feel valued by someone and making each other smile, all helps to build our community networks.

We are called to meet together

We are called to pray together

We are called to pray alone…

Though we are never completely alone, surrounded as we are by God’s presence, and by being part of a spiritual community, and fellowship of angels.

Alone and Together

As a Community we’ve always understood the need to balance ‘a prayer that is quiet and contemplative with a faith that is active and contagious’, in expressing our way for living. We believe this particular expression is a gift of God to us as we’ve increasingly understood that we all need both ‘enclosure’ (Alone) and ‘encounter’ (Together) in our lives. As Jean Vanier says “Solitude and Community belong together; each requires the other, as do the centre and circumference of a circle. Solitude without Community leads to loneliness and despair, but Community without solitude hurls us into a ‘void of words

Dutch Community De Spil put it well; ‘We eat together, even if it isn’t at one table’ – ‘We live together, even if it isn’t in one house’ – ‘We pray together, even if it isn’t in one chapel.”

This paradox of being alone together, of being present to one another as a ‘community of hermits’ is to recognise that the inner journey, the landscape of the heart is not an end in itself. All spiritual disciplines are to better equip us to engage the world of others, in the landscape of the land, our outer journey.

 We are blessed to be a blessing. We need the inwardness of knowing who we are in ourselves, in order to know whose we are in the wider world, because self-awareness increases God awareness, which in turn makes us aware of the world of others.

Did God make us for Community? Absolutely, for without togetherness, the touch of others, we’d have a greatly diminished life.

Did God make us for solitude? Absolutely, for without solitude, the time to be alone, we’d be peopled out and exhausted.

We need both simultaneously or we will be in danger of either getting lost in the maze of the inner life within us or lost in the perplexity of the noisy crowd all around us. To have both enclosure and encounter provides the necessary checks and balances so we can have the best of both. As Parker Palmer observed “It’s like breathing in and breathing out – together they give life.”

Trevor Miller

Northumbria Community

SO lovely to have Sarah and aren part of us. Thanks so much for all this!

Epiphany celebrated at the bandstand

We met this morning mindful of those who could not join us for differing reasons but grateful to be back after what seemed a prolonged absence.

Julie led us with the following words, linked to Archbishop Desmond Tutu:

Here is a man who embodied the seemingly contradictory qualities we must bring even to the hardest and most heartbreaking of circumstances. The healing depths of attention and compassion that he was able to bring to the horrific suffering of his country, in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, were made possible yes by wisdom, yes by courage, yes by brilliance — but also, by a wicked sense of humour and an alertness to the exhilaration — “thefun” — that can be wrested amidst the hardest of struggles.

I sometimes forget that I was created for Joy. My mind is too busy. My Heart is too heavy for me to rememberthat I have beencalled to dancethe Sacred dance of life. I was created to smile To Love To be lifted up And to lift others up. O’ Sacred One Untangle my feetfrom all that ensnares. Free my soul. That we might Danceand that our dancing might be contagious.~Hafiz

Lord in all and every occasion fill us with your love ,set our heart onfire, fill us with your Joy, and humour, and with a desire dance intoand through all that this world brings to us

Then it was time for us to burn our prayers from last year and attach new ones for the year ahead to the shepherd’s crook- safe in our Good Shepherd’s care. This year we added 3key words on the back of the labels that summed up our concerns / hopes for the year ahead.

Fiona shared a blessing, that quite wonderfully echoed the theme of Julie’s contribution:

“May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.”

The we went for coffee together and shared bread and wine – only it was chocolate and wine in the end (!) to words written by Steve:

E – PIF – FAN – Y

those flowers need to go

the tat taken down

the lights packed away

a hard journey awaits – exile – the ray-al-lit-tay will not be denied.

E – PIF – FAN – Y

Rev-a-lay-shon – for which we yearn, seek after, clutch at, mindfully meditate for is…

quixotic, capricious, not to be managed, ordered up, down-loaded, owned or controlled

that twin sense of knowing and being known

of existing between the here and the there, the now and the somehow else

that liminal third-space

of being cradled awesomely – hay-zel-nut-ted

the veil rent asunder just for a moment.

Old wise women and old wise men wait and wait and journey and defiantly hope that the ray-al-lit-tay is merely my-as-mat-tic

a pea-souper

an atmosphere that obscures

a heavy corrupting vapour which will not endure

that dark glass which needs to be seen through.

Simeon and Anna on an ordinary transformed day – “this child shall be a light, a redemption for Jerusalem and all humankind. This is the child-Christ, the Christ-child whose kingdom shall not end.”

And so to bread – an ordinary fare transformed

“the body res-ur-rek-ted”

and to wine – standard plonk newly wine-skinned

“the wine of res-ur-rek-shon”

So companioned together, we wait and journey and defiantly hope. AMEN

Stir up Sunday

This morning we met in bright sunshine – but it was COLD! We had planned for that! Everyone had a sheet witht eh ThirdSpace version of the Canticle of the Sun and walked around the park, using it, visiting the river and trees etc. Then we continued to walk and to pray what came to us using the concept of being stirred up. The sheet read as follows:

Stir up Sunday – the last Sunday before advent

Stir up Sunday is so-called as a result of the opening words of a collect (prayer) in the Church of England on the last Sunday before Advent. It reads:

‘STIR up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.’


STIR up in World leaders …

STIR up in leaders of this country…

STIR up Your Church to…

STIR up in my community…

STIR up ThirdSpace to…

STIR up in me…

After that everyone retreated to Holly House, where in the warmth of the sun beating into the sitting room we wrote up our prayers on the sheets. Around the table then, we voiced our prayers for the world and so on. These prayers will be compiled and put into the resources page so that we have a ThirdSpace version for future Stir up Sundays. Instead of reading out loud our personal prayers, we prayed these silently whilst stirring a Christamas pudding – the bowl being passed round the table to enable this. The pudding will be one used at our Christmas meal together next month.

Bread and wine followed, with folks mentioned that we are carrying, to be ncluded as we ate and drank.

Finally, names of ThirdSpace members were allocated for each person to pray and be prayed for over the coming Advent season.

Thereafter, warm croissants and bacon baps with coffees were accompanied by sharing of stories and the like. Not a bad way of doing church!


Meeting virtually today due to Covid and other seasonal viral infections amongst us, we concentrated our thoughts on God’s provision,  our beautiful planet and the responsibility we have to take care of it. 

Look at Today with Gratitude

Give thanks for the gifts of this day. Simple things – the first cup of tea of the day; the smell of fresh coffee; a good nights sleep; a good breakfast; a smile from a friend or stranger; the beauty of the world around us. Look at these things as God’s gifts to you.                         

Stay with the moment, giving thanks for today and recognising God’s presence with you.


Today delegates and negotiators start to meet for COP26. The next 12 days of the conference are crucial for the survival of the planet for humans. 

What is COP26

In November 2021 the Conference of the Parties (COP) are meeting for the 26th time to discuss what climate action is needed to prevent devastating climate change. COP26 is said to be a pivotal moment in which we can fight against the worst results of climate change. Meeting in Glasgow, with the UK taking the role of president, it is thought to be the 11th hour in which action can be taken.

  • Can the leaders of the countries, along with their negotiators agree and work together to make a difference for our planet?
  • Can they plan for the long term and not for short term political gain?

We must pray that they are able to commit to effective change.

Goals COP26

  1. Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach

Countries are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century.

To deliver on these stretching targets, countries will need to:

  • accelerate the phase-out of coal                                  
  • curtail deforestation
  • speed up the switch to electric vehicles
  • encourage investment in renewables.
  1. Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats

The climate is already changing, and it will continue to change even as we reduce emissions, with devastating effects.

At Cop26 we need to work together to:

  • protect and restore ecosystems
  • build defences, warning systems and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives
  1. Mobilise finance

To deliver on our first two goals, developed countries must make good on their promise to mobilise at least $100bn in climate finance per year. 

International financial institutions must play their part and we need work towards unleashing the trillions in private and public sector finance required to secure global net zero.

  1. Work together to deliver

We can only rise to the challenges of the climate crisis by working together. At Cop26 we must:

  • finalise the Paris Rulebook (the detailed rules that make the Paris Agreement operational)
  • accelerate action to tackle the climate crisis through collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society.

Some scary facts for Halloween

  • Speakers Warn during General Assembly High-Level Meeting UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY on 28 MARCH 2019

“Only 11 Years Left to Prevent Irreversible Damage from Climate Change

  • Within the next 2 decades, global temperatures are likely to rise by at least 1.5 degrees Celsius
  • Our children and grandchildren will suffer (or not) from the mistakes made in the past and  decisions made today
  • The last 7 years have been the warmest on record and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is at record breaking levels
  • More than 1 million species are at risk of extinction by climate change
  • Climate change is already happening, and it’s detrimental to human life tooFood shortages, crop failures, warming seas, dwindling fish stocks, desertification, Extreme weather patterns, rising sea levels, pollution etc.
  • Many leaders still aren’t taking it seriously

We need to pray for those involved in the conference

We need to pray about what we can do as individuals

All of this can make us feel overwhelmed and hopeless so here is something to make you smile.

The Be-Attitudes

Blessed are those who use low energy light bulbs

For theirs is the light of God’s wisdom.

Blessed are those who travel by train (and other public transport) wearing a mask

For their lives are on God’s track.

Blessed are those who chose a car with low fuel consumption

For they are in God’s fast lane.

Blessed are those who insulate their homes

For theirs is the warmth of God’s love.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after meat free meals

For theirs is the bounty of God.

Blessed are those who put themselves out to use energy from renewable sources,

For they have kindled the flame of the future.

Adapted from John Polhill copyright: Eggs and Ashes, WGRG, Iona Community, Glasgow

Bread and Wine

Our liturgy will talk of both bread and wine but we will only share bread and leave the wine as a symbol that the fruits of creation are not fully shared with everyone, where so much is taken by the rich and powerful everywhere that there isn’t enough left for the poor, both in the developing world and in the rich north. Due to the greed, denial and short-sightedness of the rich and powerful we seem incapable of tackling inequality and climate change, and appear to be determined to leave a desert for our children’s children’s children.

Should I deny people the wine this morning?

One of the great things about ThirdSpace is that the bread and wine is offered to all unconditionally. Not sharing wine this morning is meant to be both a prophecy and a picture of what happens to much of the abundance of God’s creation.

Jesus took bread                                      

grown from the earth

and broke it and said:

This is my body

when you eat of it

share it with all.

And Jesus took a cup of wine

pressed from the fruit of the land

and said:

This is a sign of my promise                                                 

when you drink

drink it with all.

We will share only bread for still the world does not fully share what creation offers. Some take so much others have little or nothing, and through denial and greed a desert is being created for future generations. The wine will remain here as a symbol that the full promise of God is not yet shared by all.

Let us share bread together and the longing for justice and mercy and compassion.

Let us share this gift of the earth that is filled with Jesus.

Reflections from Idsworth Church.

St Hubert's Church - Visit Hampshire

Jeremy led us this morning, using images and a prayer to be found in this 1000-year old church, which has outlasted its village and now sits alone in a field in Hampshire. The prayer gave the structure of our time together as we sheltered in the bandstand from drizzle and cascading autumn leaves…

The prayer begins:

Dear God, The day is before me to do with as I will but, because without Thy help I am as frail as a cotton flower in a summer storm, support and strengthen me so that I find it less difficult to walk in Thy ways.

We then read Psalm 103 that mirrors some of these ideas – and so much of that resonated with needs of one another known to us…

Let not the evening pass into night, nor dawn into day, without my giving thanks to Thee for all Thy blessings: for my eyes that feed my spirit, my ears that guard my conscience, and my mouth which I must not abuse. Make me grateful for these gifts so that, when my eyes survey the great mystery of Creation, my ears accept the wisdom of Thy teachings and my mouth speaks of Thy divine love.

After this we took time to wander the park and to give thanks for our many blessings, using another stimulus image and thankful again for the beauty of the changing seasons as the backdrop to our worship.

In quietness let me praise Thee for the changing seasons, for the great love I feel for the birds of the air and the beasts of the field, for the gift of friends, for the comfort of loving and being loved. Make me always aware of Thy favours so that when I am at peace with myself my thoughts turn outwards  towards the hungry, the sick and the unwanted.

O God, I entreat you to foster an awareness in people’s hearts so that cruelty an avarice are no more. Protect and comfort the aged, guide and help the young, save our humbler creation from those that torture and destroy them so that they may live without fear. Help those that are dear to me, give them courage to meet adversity and faith to sustain them in their hours of darkness.

At this point we took it in turns to light candles as we prayed silently for just those people – the needy, the sick, the oppressed…

Image preview

Teach me to be more acceptable in Thy sight, so that I may know the peace that falls on the spirit that aspires to keep company with Thee. Let me learn the philosophy of acceptance, so that I may be more patient, more thoughtful for others and less concerned with myself. When the days come that are hard to live through, and temporarily I forget to count my blessings, be Thou beside me to chide and point the way.

Here we took bread and wine for sustenance… And the final paragraph became our blessing:

Dear Father, bestow on each one of us that inspired faith which enriches the spirit and gives purpose to this our earthly life, so that we may know the Peace that passeth all understanding. Amen.

Thanks Jeremy – a very special morning.