The latest monthly letter from our Minister, Revd David Hookins.
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Since I last wrote Salisbury has been propelled into the international news headlines after the events in the Maltings. I myself was interviewed by a Slovenian television news channel. I suppose the combination of a bizarre means of killing, a whiff of espionage, and a community put at risk was bound to grab the headlines. Thankfully no one was killed.
However, as I write I know that many are dying in other places of conflict and violence. We have heard about the violent deaths of young people on the streets of London; we see the results of the dreadful conflict in Syria; we are aware of the ongoing violence between Israel and Palestine. When we are honest we know that there are many other places where one group seeks to dominate another with intimidation, violence and fear. Many of us feel overwhelmed by the problem and choose to live our lives by responding only occasionally or not at all.
Recently I attended the regional conference for ministers in their first five years of ministry. The main speaker was The Rev’d Dan Woodhouse, a Methodist minister who was arrested with a Quaker friend of his while breaking into a BAE Systems airbase intending to damage planes which were bound for the Saudi Airforce and which they believed would be used in Yemen to destroy infrastructure and create suffering for millions of civilians. The director-general of the World Health Organization in a speech on 3rd April, 2018 stated, ‘…three years of war in Yemen have led to the world’s largest humanitarian crisis and one of its most severe food crises. It has also resulted in the world’s largest cholera epidemic, a major diphtheria outbreak, and the virtual collapse of the nation’s health system.’(http://www.who.int/dg/speeches/2018/yemen-pledging-event/en/) Dan considered that direct action was needed to stop this suffering.
Such direct action may not be what each of us is called to do but we are called to engage with the world and its problems and seek to bring a Christian witness. We can do this by keeping ourselves informed, discuss and debate the issues, protest, take action either through civil disobedience or direct action, and support others who are better informed and willing to act.
Many of us are already doing this, through the work of The Methodist Church, All We Can, Action for Children, Alabaré, The Trussell Trust, Christian Aid we are supporting those who are holding the powerful to account. In this we are faithful disciples of Jesus, who challenged the powerful of his day.
Paul lists the things that mark the Christian life and which we would want for all people, ‘By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.’
Your brother in Christ,