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"End to End via the Margins"
-the diary of a walk.

- Clifton to Coalpit Heath

Diary

Question of the day corner... Here's something from an email sent in by a reader;- "In answer to your question... how many Christians does it take to change a door handle? My Answer would be 'Change? Change? My great great Grandfather put that door handle on...'"

What I expected to be a gentle dawdle through Bristol turned out to be quite hard on the feet, maybe because of damage carried over from yesterday.

Almost immediately after I started I dived into Cotham parish church for a small rest or - I'm not really sure. I was immediately invited for coffee. A small group was meeting together after Friday morning communion. Unable to resist a captive audience, I tried out the "process" with them. As usual, we didn't really get to the end (it will ever be thus), but it seemed to be a lively discussion. The issues they identified were similar to what I'd heard before, but the conclusions were different.

I thought I'd like to see St Paul's but couldn't find it on the map. I walked to roughly where I remembered it from visiting my brother at when he was at the university, but I was clearly in the wrong place. How could I lose a whole district? I asked an elderly gentleman about his shopping trolley (wheels are very attractive when you have to carry this lot on your back), and he told me he'd got it when he lived in Islington. It struck me that the district I'd ended up in would look very familiar to someone who'd come from Islington.

I happened upon an internet cafe. Good! Another chance to sit down. The first thing I noticed was the background picture - the bamboo avenue in Jamaica. "I've been there," I said to the custodian, shameless showoff that I am. She answered that she hoped to go one day. Thank you St James' URC. I checked these diary pages. I know there's a couple of day headings missing and I found some typos. I've written them down, but I'm afraid I'm not going to correct them in a hurry. The new stuff is the priority at the moment. It's nice to see the pictures download almost instantaneously.

Around Horfield I sat on the wall to attend to my feet. Next to me were the worst traffic lights I've ever seen. About one third of all drivers failed to spot the "go straight ahead" light and got beeped from behind.

The next wander took me to Southmead. In the middle of this large council estate is a green square with five churches around it. Four of them are orthodox, though very different, Christian churches. I wondered why there were four separate churches, but they might have found it hard to operate out of the same building. The incumbent at St Stephen's had arrived long after the churches were built and didn't know the thinking at the time. It was probably all a little before all the excitement about Milton Keynes and ecumenism and so forth. Question to readers - anyone know the history of this? Anyway, when I poked my head round the door at St Stephen's the first question was, "Do you want some lunch?" These Bristol Anglicans are so welcoming.

I went through Filton on a footpath that crosses the BAe site. It was the day after the announcement that Concorde would no longer fly after this summer. Change, death and new life, is all around us. At one time, supersonic speeds were the future of air transport: not any more.

My decade-old map was useless around the Parkway station. The roads were different, retail parks and office blocks had filled the space. Welcome to the M4 corridor. For quite a long stretch the fence was lined with flowers that smelt sweet in a tropical kind of way. What a waste of time. It seemed pointless to me in an environment that was fundamentally hostile, the noise, smell and sheer volume of the traffic being the dominant experience. Although I suppose you could argue that at the time Jesus lived, the oppression of the Roman empire was the dominant experience for Jews. That doesn't make the things he did a waste of time. But there were reasons...

I met some of the Bristol ISR team (equivalent of industrial mission in Bristol and Swindon) in a pub this evening for a session with the "process". It was helpful, and many thanks to those who gave up their Friday night in this way.

Pictures from today...
Is this the way in (to Brunswick URC Southmead)?
No, this is
New offices near Bristol Parkway (MoD in this case)
Prayer
God of love,
We pray for churches that respond to a hostile environment
by becoming like fortresses.
It's hard to think of any other way.
The incessant corrosion
of vandalism and robbery
gives us no choice.
God help us
to find the ways to be open and welcoming
and loving
in these circumstances.

Living God
we thank you for change,
for new things in the world.
But we also offer you
our tears and heartbreak
over what has gone.
© Bob Warwicker. The words here may be reproduced freely, but not for gain, or without attribution. All alterations must have the permission of the author.