Peter Green: October 2015
HATE or HOPE?
Aylesbury will have these two conflicting options on offer this weekend as the English Defence League (EDL) makes an unwelcome return visit to the town centre. Their message is one of hate, intolerance and Islamophobia. They paint all Muslims with the same extremist, unsavoury brush. With Islamic State adding their horrific hate of everyone who thinks differently to them and with some UK politicians and media cranking up their negative rhetoric on immigrants, hatred and intolerance can be found aplenty.
The good news and antidote to all this, is the huge amount of hope, not hate, raised by people of this town. Here are seven recent examples from this website alone.
Since our appeal for clothes and equipment went out last month for the thousands of, mainly Muslim, refugees in Calais (click here), the response has been overwhelming (click here). The large, full, transit van we took to the distribution centre had to wait in a huge queue of similar vehicles. The new warehouse rented for storage was soon filled and another one had to be quickly found and was also filled. Such was the generosity of heart of people in Aylesbury and the surrounding area.
Last weekend, we held a belated Big Coffee morning for Macmillan, (click here) raising funds to help ensure that people suffering from cancer need not suffer alone. This Friday, October 9th, it is epilepsy sufferers who will gain from the 'Tea and Cake' morning in our coffee bar (click here). The contributions given will add to the £364.48 raised at our summer Songs of Praise service.
This Sunday, October 11th, our harvest service will receive gifts for the homeless in London served by the Whitechapel Mission (click here). And further afield, the Aylesbury-based Karibuni trust have celebrated 20 years of supporting, feeding and educating some of Kenya's street children (click here). All these results, offering increased hope to their recipients, have only been possible through the generosity, kindness and compassion of ordinary people.
Finally, our youth exchange programme with a German sports club, the UK's longest running exchange of its kind, offers further cause for hope. When the exchange first started in 1963, memories of the Second World War were still vivid. Our respective leaders found they had been fighting on opposite sides of the same battles. Yet from this unpromising start, in 2013 we celebrated our 50th anniversary, renewing ongoing friendships of leaders, young people and their parents that have lasted for years. The exchange continued in Aylesbury this year (click here).
With our German exchange and our experiences of local inter-faith contacts, we find that when we get to know, work and play with people who are different to us, be it language, race, religion or whatever, those differences soon disappear in the face of our common, shared humanity.
So against any rhetoric of hate this weekend, we offer these practical examples of increasing hope. As a further sign of unity, Aylesbury's faith groups are making lots of paper swans for display around town to signify hope not hate. If you want to make some swans you can collect paper and instructions from the Methodist Church office this Thursday or Friday between 9.30am and 12.30pm. Hope not hate!
popular recent storiesAlso in the news
Writing in our Annual Report, our minister Rev. Helen Kirk said, "Once again, we come to the end of another busy year and as I read this report I find myself astonished and grateful for the myriad of volunteers who contribute to the life of Aylesbury Methodist Church and community centre. At AMC, we seek to be more than a town centre building...but an inclusive and welcoming community."...
A figure lying on a park bench, shrouded in a ragged blanket which covers the head and face, but with bare feet showing... It might seem an unusual subject for a sculpture. Look closely, though, and notice that the feet bear the marks of having been pierced by nails. This homeless man lying on a bench is Jesus.The sculpture was created by the Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz who, since 2013...
Our Candlelit Carol Service is this coming Sunday, 17th December at 5pm. It is a festival of lessons and carols telling the story of the nativity with readings from the Bible and traditional Christmas carols. Congregational singing will be accompanied by the Organ, Choir, Music Group and Youth Choir. Readings will be by members and friends of the church and the service will be led by our...