Thursday, 17 November 2016

Words! Words!

Well what a week it’s been!  The election of the 45th President of the United States has been like something from the pages of fiction – but you can’t make this stuff up!

We join our prayers with our American friends as they prepare for Mr Trump’s Inauguration on 20th January 2017.

It has struck me over these last few months just how important words are in any political campaign. 

I think all our leaders have a responsibility to use words carefully and thoughtfully.  Trading insults and peddling fears is unworthy rhetoric from anyone seeking public office.  We look to those on the national and international stage to take the longer view yet inspire us with words of hope and speeches of encouragement for today.  Sometimes, in these panic stricken, soundbite crazed days, we hear our leaders trade insults with each other even as they seek our trust and confidence. Our hearts sink with such a blinkered methodology.

This week I had cause to visit Southend and the onetime church of my former ‘boss’ Donald MacKenzie.  I served my ‘curacy’ under Donald when I was Assistant Minister at Fuller Baptist Church in Kettering between 1987 and 1992. Donald served in this Essex church way back in the 60’s and 70’s.  Whilst visiting there this week I asked the current minister if anyone in the congregation might still remember my friend and senior colleague.  Yes, he said, we were only talking about him this morning in the Team Meeting and someone said: During Donald’s day, because so many loved his preaching, on visiting preacher Sundays the church would regularly be half full!

I just loved hearing that because Donald’s words from the pulpit during the five years I heard him preach were always profound words of loving encouragement, accessible scholarship, delightful story- telling and relevant, down to earth application.  This was a man who never ever used a snide comment or made a negative observation about a fellow human being – and this man’s sermons lifted our spirits and gave us hope week by week.

Words are precious – and our leaders have a responsibility to use them with grace – Donald taught me that!

All best wishes,


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