How prepared is prepared?

By Bryan Kerr,

PantoToday we were at the Pantomime (oh yes we were) in Glasgow with another 170 people from Lanark. A feat of organisation from those involved got everyone there and back safely. We also had fantastic seats. I was right in the middle of the front row. You could shake hands with the people on stage. It was great …

… until John Barrowman who was playing the lead was thrown from a real livehorse as he came on stage. It was a trained stage horse and apparently a scenery curtain was broken and didn’t go in the right place. This freaked the horse out (who was trained to look for the right things in the right places to do his tricks) and it panicked and threw John Barrowman off. Being so close we not only saw the fall but hear it as well. In obvious pain, he finished the scene with the horse in order that it wasn’t freaked out any more.

The show was stopped for around 40 minutes whilst

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A sense of belonging

By Bryan Kerr,

Belonging Graphic

Well this morning was a good morning that made me think of what it means to belong to something.

Just a few days into the year and I was able to celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism with one of our friends in the church. She hadn’t been baptised as a child and has been a part of our church family for a few years now. For her the time was right to be baptised. It was a nice quiet service with her family and friends and a few others from the church there.

I have also been finalising the roll of the church members for the end of year statistics we have to submit (not as much fun!). All this leads to some ideas and reflection on why we want to belong to something like a church, and even one like ours!

Often, discussions in the church turn to the fact that membership is declining and the influence of the church is rapidly diminishing in society. You only have to look at the debates on women bishops and equality in the Church of England and the sexuality debates in all denominations to see that. For most people in society there is genuine bewilderment that churches can spend so long debating and discussing things that for society at large are a non-issue.

But it is not only churches that are dwindling in numbers. I found a news article from New Zealand talking about the loss of members in

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A good idea, but …

By Bryan Kerr,

Musical Banner

Today I was paying a visit to the local hospital to visit someone and on the way back decided I would come along the Clyde Valley road which is a beautiful road (especially on a holiday day when all the garden centres are closed and people drive above 20mph!).

Every time I drive that road there is a restaurant that I pass. They have tried over the years to expand and diversify and they have recently started an Indian restaurant. But it was their sign today that made me chuckle … and then wonder. They were advertising a ‘pre theatre menu’. Now there may be nothing wrong with that. We have all seen places that offer the same deal, eat early before the show and save money. That may be, however the nearest major theatre is a good 30 minutes drive away.

It made me chuckle as I

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A chance to do it better

By Bryan Kerr,

2013So, 2013 is here. This year, I am not making resolutions as each year I try I inevitably fail by the 5th or 6th of January. Instead I am setting myself some goals and aims.

So what are some of my goals? Well, I have been losing weight in the last few months and want to continue with that, as well as getting fitter during the year. I want to make sure that I capture more of the things and people around me in photographs and will be trying to do that more regularly. As far as the church isconcerned I would like to see the church creating several new groups and opportunities for people to gather together and develop a greater involvement of members of the church family in leading aspects of our worship.

These are just goals. I am not committing myself to them … yet! People make a big thing

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What is a family?

By Bryan Kerr,

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The more I think about the more I am challenged by it. What makes a family in a church?

Today we have had three services in Greyfriars. Each of them were different in character and style. Each of them met needs for different people who came along. Over the day around 200 different people attended our early morning traditional communion, our family worship and Messy Church this evening.

Everyone at came along was united by their faith but perhaps separated by attending different services. Does that make us any less of a family today than on other Sundays?

I have always resisted the idea of different services every week much preferring the idea of people coming together for worship. The danger

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The General Assembly Day Two … Heart and Soul

By Bryan Kerr,

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After today there is not much to say other than … wow! Well over 5,000 people coming along to an event in Princes Street gardens in Edinburgh from all over the country to celebrate what it is to be the church. Meeting for worship, for fun, for friendship. Heart and Soul 2012 was a celebratory event for the whole church, Even working at it for 12 hours today was a privilege and brilliant fun. It is a place where theological labels do not matter. It is a place where divisions are not focused upon or are even aware of.

Now that is the church. Let’s hope and pray that commissioners of the General Assembly keep that in mind tomorrow and throughout the week. It could transform the church.

picture by Alan Boyd

The General Assembly Day One … Welcome to our Church?

By Bryan Kerr,

20120519-233937.jpgWell day one is over and I have a lot running around in my mind as I try to process all that has gone on.

By this time you begin to get a sense of what ‘type’ of Assembly it will be. By that I mean where it may sit theologically, what traits it might be characterised by … but this year, not yet.

On face value there seemed very little that could be contentious today. The new moderator, Rt Rev Albert Bogle was installed and business got underway.

It was during the legal questions committee report that suddenly two issues came to the attention of the Assembly. First was the desire of a commissioner to determine as to whether the ancient creeds of the church, specifically the Nicean and the Apostles, were of the substance of the faith.

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The labourer is worthy of their hire … well kind of

By Bryan Kerr,

Jesus said that. Well, apparent from the last three words. They are all mine. Or are they? They could easily have come from the mouth of the chancellor, George Osborne.

It is almost budget time and he is poised to announce and end to National Pay Agreements in England and Wales for public sector workers like those in the NHS, teachers and the likes. Instead of people in the same profession, doing the same job and getting the same pay (being worthy of their hire) people in different regions will be paid different salaries to promote competitiveness between the public and private sectors.

Now competitiveness is all very well, but I am uncertain I know of my teachers, nurses, doctors, radiologists, etc etc in the private sector and the only only doctors I know of in the private sector are doing very well thank you very much! Does freezing pay, and making people earn less than a colleague really promote competitiveness? Or does it just breed apathy, bitterness and a sense of hopelessness.

I would hope that any society paid the same salary to people doing the same job. When we ask people to become … Continue reading

Free thinking … It’ll never catch on

By Bryan Kerr,

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I have been preparing for our Living the Questions course in the church and have been giving a great deal of thought to, well, … thoughts.

I have often thought that there are people out there that try to stifle free thinking. How many times in your life have you been told ‘you can’t think that’? Now, fair enough, sometimes you really can’t think that, but surely those times are few and far between.

The Living the Questions course allows people to think for themselves. It does not give prescribed answers or a guide to acceptable thoughts as some other Christian based courses do. I find that refreshing. I like thinking, and I think that God validates my thinking. I don’t think God gets angry when I don’t think the same as my neighbour, in life or in faith. I also don’t think that God sits with his finger on the destruct button when in the course of my thinking I cause … Continue reading

New Conservatism – rewriting the scriptures

By Bryan Kerr,

It seems that the bible is not orthodox enough for modern day conservative Christians.

I came across an article today (you can read it by clicking here) which talks about a group of conservatives in America who are seeking to render God’s word into modern English without liberal translation distortions. There seems to be growing disquiet amongst some groups of people who have identified, for example, some pro-abortion distortions that omit or twist ‘clear’ references to the unborn child.

It is incredible that people, who have traditionally styled themselves as the upholders of the bible, can now rewrite it to remove things that they find difficult or do not back up their cause or belief.

The group talks about some possible approaches to creating a conservative Bible translation: … Continue reading