Regular message from the Minister at Almondbury Methodist Church
Message from our Minister - July 2022

Not sure if it is just being from the South West; Plymouth with its maritime history, Drake, Hawkins and many more. Maybe it is the Cornish connection with its rugged cliffs, coves with rock caves and those tall tales of smuggling. It may have been the way I was introduced to Gilbert and Sullivan and the Pirates of Penzance or Captain Pugwash on BBC1 around tea-time during the week while I was growing up. It could have been the stories we were introduced to as we prepared to go to Punta Gorda, Belize about how that part of central America owed its British connections to the entrepreneurial ways of the British buccaneers or was it pirates - well it does a bit depend whose side you are on. Whatever it is due to somehow the idea of pirates has a deep resonance within.

Maybe it is not just me this island seafaring nation has many a story; Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Pirate by Walter Scott, Pirates of the Caribbean and more. We do seem to have an interest, even an attraction, to pirates. The reason for this musing came as I uncovered a book on my shelf, while I was looking for something else (as you do),"Mutiny! Why We Love Pirates, And How They Can Save Us" by Kester Brewin.

I came across the book following a Ted Talk "What our love of pirates tells us about renewing the commons: Kester Brewin at TEDxExeter". Watch it here 15 minutes of thought-provoking fun. https://youtu.be/escnWFDUYhI

We are facing many challenges to our status quo both in the church and within the worldwide community. The impact of cost of living, environmental changes, wars across the world, Covid are all making a mark on how things have worked. Covid especially made us ask some very deep questions and we came back with some creative answers. We valued people and places that we had so often overlooked. We seemed to be reorientating ourselves and new values were beginning to take shape. However, that seems to be history now as we run helter-skelter back to the familiar ways of being where we feel at home. Do they really provide a home for us?

The book and the Ted talk left me with a few questions to ponder further
  • What are the machines that we fuel that keep us from being community focused?

  • What is it that we once held in common that have been enclosed for private profit?

  • How can communities be created that redistribute the wealth that we have helped to create?

  • What would make up the code that these communities live by?

  • What are the commodities that we create by the work of the people?

  • How can these be fairly distributed for the benefit of the people who made them as well as those who invested in them and are seeking financial gain?
As Methodist with all our history of being engaged in change for the good of all I gain a sense of dis-ease. The stories of Jesus who challenges the status quo and invites people to come together to be the best they can be. To be pointed to and point to the presence of God and to respond to that presence in words and actions is a deeply subversive way of being. I would almost say piratical. Perhaps as Brewin says we need to become more like those pirate communities… and put down out ipads and put on our eye patches.

God bless, Peter
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