<-- Google Analytics START --> <-- Google Analytics END -->

john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Wednesday, December 04, 2002
    Gun lobby
    I thought there'd been a lot of police activity around here last night. Turns out that Raymond Craven was killed and two others injured in a shooting at The Thatched House, a pub just across the park from here. I'm astonished that I didn't know till hours later, amazed at how close it is possible to be to events yet remain in ignorance about them.

    It's the third fatal shooting in the thirty months I've been here. Not a terrible total but not good either. Three too many. And besides the loss of a young man, 27, what haunts me about this parish episode is a thought re-surfacing from my time in Northern Ireland. In a survey, many of Belfast's working men felt that the Churches were responsible for the continuation of the strife in the province: "[Their] failure to dialogue with the paramilitaries was felt to have aggravated the violence in the past and caused further alienation" (from Belfast: Faith in the City )

    I know it's impossible to be everywhere, know everyone and everything, even after thirty years in a parish. But there's something in this criticism. Who is the church for? Where does it choose to locate itself, culturally? Will it get involved in the struggles on the street? It's not really my idea of a pleasant night out, standing in the way of bullets in The Thatched House, but choosing to neglect the Raymond Cravens of our parishes won't help them any.