African Snow

Went to see African Snow tonight in Bristol.

Very moving, so won't say enjoyable. This is Riding Light's drama of the abolition of slavery, featuring Olaudah Equiano and John Newton. It brought home to me the conditions of slavery (more than the film Amazing Grace did, which I enjoyed), and made me continue to think about the way that slavery continues today in various guises. Bristol and Liverpool were compared to Sodom and Gomorrah. The play was all the more effective because all the actors were black, playing English and African characters, except one.

Most of all it struck me that the very fact for Olaudah of learning English, and the Biblical words justice and righteousness, started a process of examining how well they were (not) applied in the society of his day. The Bible is a subversive document.

A Snow is a particular kind of ship which was used for carrying slaves. The play was partly sponsored by CMS.

CMS Farewell

Today I returned to CMS for the day to attend a collective farewell, in Waterloo, for those leaving Mission Movement in the current reorganisation.

I've never been to a Turkish restaurant before, but enjoyed lunch at Tas Restaurant on The Cut, followed by tea and cake for a wider group at Partnership House.

It was different to meet with former colleagues, when all except me are still employees. However the positive side of this was that I felt that I was meeting not with colleagues but with friends – and that speaks well for the future.

CMS may have weaknesses, but if working relationships are founded on friendship (mutual care) then that is a strength. After all, it is a Christian Mission Society, and Jesus chose to relate to those close to him as friends.

Partnership for World Mission

Today I attended one of the regular meetings of the Partnership for World Mission Group for Oxford Diocese. CMS are looking to partner with this group particularly because of the move of offices from London to Oxford in June 2007.

This is looking promising for the future, because as members introduced themselves and spoke of what is important to them, there seemed to be a meeting of minds between the diocese and CMS, even to the extent of the use of quotes on their web site from former CMS General Secretary Max Warren: “It takes the whole world to know the whole gospel.”

Oxford Diocese's plans for 2007 and beyond are summed up under the heading “At Home in the World Church” – see their website.

“Woking 2”

For the last 24 hours I have enjoyed the second gathering of southern churches that are travelling a “Global Local” journey with CMS. We first met last Summer.

It is exciting to see churches stimulated in local mission through engaging with mission practice in other countries, and through sharing stories with one another.