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

    Tuesday, March 23, 2004
    Last night's thank-you speech
    A clergy colleague who couldn't make it tonight (who shall remain nameless) suggested that I sign the licensing documents 'Duncan Ferguson' ... but I decided against that as I don't want the Bishop sending me off for two bookable offences...

    Funny the people who influence you ... Big Duncan ... yesterday at St Lukes we learned that the nation has voted as its favourite mother - Marge Simpson.

    I've been thinking about the people who have influenced me along my journey, those who have in a way brought me here tonight. There are hundreds; many of you included; but just now I'm thinking especially of three:

    My two grandmothers - not extraordinary people but women who showed me and many others quite plainly and simply what it meant to live a good Christian life;

    Jim Punton - in his own words "a youth leader and Church of Scotland minister, interested in radical theology and an enthusiast for the Kingdom." I picked up on his enthusiasm at the National Baptist Youth Assemblies I attended in the late 1970s, and he (long passed on) continues to be an influence today;

    The people of The Good Shepherd and the three Norris Green Churches who over the past decades have worked hard to bring the light of God to this local community:

    - I celebrate all these tonight and look forward to joining with the people of this church, Christ Church and St Christopher's as together we seek to keep that light shining here.

    [Thanks to all who have come, especially those who have made sacrifices of time, money, personal sacrifices to be here....]

    I would like us to charge our glasses to toast The Church - God's people, united, at one in Christ and his mission.

    Jim Punton often talked of Christ's mission being about creating shalom - complete well-being of body, mind, spirit, community, economically, politically - the whole of life [Download his paper The Community of Shalom]; and he liked to quote Jeremiah:

    "Seek the shalom of the city where I have sent you ... and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its shalom you will find your own shalom."

    Friends - let's drink to that: shalom.