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Seeing God in beautiful engineering

Question: your wife is away for two nights and you have a whole day for yourself. What does a bloke do? Answer: you go on a circuitous train journey, finishing that evening precisely where you started that morning! This is how I spent this Tuesday, with Jacqui away with old friends at the remarkable Capenwray Hall. So I took trains from Preston through to Carlisle, then to Leeds, Manchester Piccadilly and finally back to Preston on a day ranger ticket, some 296 miles in just under eight hours. So why this particular route? Train buffs will recognise immediately that this takes in the legendary Settle-Carlisle railway, a wonderful 73-mile journey, heading south following the Eden Vall

Remember that we were once strangers in Egypt

Who would be a politician? As Barack Obama observes: “What I'm asking for is hard. It's easier to be cynical; to accept that change isn't possible, and politics is hopeless, and to believe that our voices and actions don't matter. But if we give up now, then we forsake a better future.” But it strikes me that so many problems today facing our elected representatives appear intractable. Not least immigration. We’ve witnessed the hard line on illegal immigration taken by President Trump who this week was force to back down on his migrant family separations policy. No more the “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your t

Speaking "ORDER" into chaos

"Resume your seat! Resume your seat, young man!" For a moment I thought Sergeant at Arms would have to frogmarch Ian Blackford out of the Chamber as the leader of the SNP held his ground. But only for as long as necessary to make his point. Then he strode out of the Commons and out of my sight. As it happens Jacqui and I were in the Strangers’ Gallery for this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions, courtesy of our MP, Rosie Cooper. We were certainly given value for money. Blackford’s stunt meant that the half hour allocated for PMQ was stretched to 59 minutes 26 seconds! From my perspective Speaker Bercow at no time lost control of the situation. What appeared to be a direct challe

Whatever it takes, we have to stay local.

“The Council collapsed. Groups like St Helen’s Church, The Clement James Centre, and The Westway Centre, ‘became’ the local government, as people lost trust in the Council. But people don’t lose trust suddenly, it was lost before.” A fascinating report on the Grenfell tower tragedy was published this week by Theos, the religious and society think tank. It seems that one of the key lessons from this calamitous tower fire this time last year was the remarkable response of the varied faith communities. The report identified some nine distinct faith groups and denominations and at least 15 centres situated near the Tower. In the first three days after the fire, they took responsibility fo

It didn't seem inevitable at the time

History matters. Just ask any supporter of Everton Football Club. How we see ourselves today depends to a large part on how we understand our past. In this we need to be realistic and above all, honest, not always an easy exercise. And looking back what now seems to have been inevitable was not inevitable at the time. Far from it. As I preached at my final service at Christ Church, I wonder how my life would have developed if on Saturday, 6 October 1962 Roger had not taken a deep breath and knocked on my door to invite me – out of the blue – to the Covenanter Group at Oxford Hall. I’ve just finished reading Nicholas Shakespeare’s excellent book Six minutes in May. The subtitle

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