Sunday, 7 July 2013

A glimpse of glory

Reflecting on Ruth Gee's Presidential Address, I was reminded of this poem from 'The Weaver, The Word and Wisdom. It may be of help to those attending Conference who find London a challenging place to be!

A Colour Catches My Eye

Lost in the hot crush of a heaving crowd,
I find myself frustrated by the tourist pace of casual, slow enquiry.
I am in a hurry.

I want to walk faster than this,
but the busy streets close around me.
I have a train to catch.

In the hustle of the holiday throng,
with a dozen different languages
rough on my ears,
I stand still.

Between the buildings a colour catches my eye.
A banner of flaming red,
scorched with yellow,
burns for a split second.

Brought to my ears
on an impudent breeze,
the sound of a samba band
beating to a rhythm of thunder and power.

From deep within my closed and worried throat
comes laughter,
uncalled for and unexpected,
bubbling up, brilliant with giggling joy.

I see myself lifted from sombre sobriety
to a state of intoxicated glee
that gives me a voice
and opens my eyes
to the reality of a city that is carnival chaos,
Mardi Gras magic and festival frenzied.

In a moment of grace
I know a new spirit,
moving my feet to a different rhythm
and my heart to a fuller way of loving.

Michaela Youngson

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

If only

A crowd of some hundreds gathered in the icy cold of the quad at Somerset House tonight to mark the possibility of changing the world.
Before the crowds arrived.
Charities, NGOs, faith groups and committed individuals shivered, texted, tweeted in solidarity as the new multi-agency campaign IF was launched by celebrities from business, screen, sport and entertainment. There's something almost uniquely British about the sound of mittens and gloves clapping in muffled appreciation of people preaching to the converted!

As Enough Food for Everyone - If was being launched in Parliament, it was also being live streamed from the more public event at Somerset House, the place we used to get our passports from. Passports are about identity and crossing borders - we need to be part of a new human identity with the ability to cross borders of the causes of hunger and that is what the IF campaign is all about.

These agencies, including MRDF, The Methodist Church, Christian Aid and Traidcraft (and almost 100 others) are working together to bring an end to hunger. In the hour we watched classy graphics and listened to guests remind us why this all matters, 200 children died of malnutrition. That hour and every hour and what is so heartbreaking is that it doesn't have to be this way.... if

... we work together in this campaign on FOUR BIG IFS...

IF we stop big companies dodging taxes in poor countries, so that millions of people can free themselves from hunger.

IF we make the right investments to stop people dying from hunger, and help the poorest people feed themselves.

IF we stop poor farmers being forced off their land, and use crops to feed people, not fuel cars.  

IF we force governments and big corporations to be honest and open about their actions that stop people getting enough food.

This new campaign is going to be on the scale of Make Poverty History, if we get behind it. There are key dates and events throughout the year when together our voices can convince Governments to make real commitments to save the lives of millions.

Here's Bill Gates, who sent a message to the launch:

Another Bill spoke at the launch - Actor Bill Nighy, who reminded us that many gathered there would never have believed that apartheid would end in South Africa, yet Mandela is free and that regime is long gone and that Nelson Mandela made a point of thanking the millions who marched, wrote letters, campaigned and got together to end that injustice. It worked then, why can't such action work now? In fact what else will?

Bonnie Wright (who played Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter films) spoke about getting young people involved. She pointed out that her generation were born after apartheid, they don't have the experience of those marches and movements of mass concern. But they care and they have social networking and if they catch a vision and are helped to believe that working together changes things, they will get behind this.

What next? Sign up at to get news. I'm going to be looking for London Methodists who want to get behind this campaign, so contact me if you can help.