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’God’s gift to this beautiful, damaged world’

Jackie Macadam meets Eco-Congregation Chaplain, the Rev David Coleman and learns about his passion for social justice and peace.

“I GREW up in what was by then an increasingly multi-cultural Birmingham, child of a teacher, in a house which had severe damp problems, but lots of books. I remember being present, aged six, at the dedication of a new plot for the rebuilding of Carrs Lane Church in the city centre, to which my parents had moved when their local church closed.

“I remember the dramatic ruins of its great Victorian predecessor;…the pulpit amidst devastation in the demolition… and the fun with static electricity from the plastic carpets in the new building. It’s a conident church culture that has since all but passed away; a feeling of conidence in a rebuilding, and of a ‘non-conformist’ identity which could stand up to a stufy establishment, in politics and in faith.”

The Rev David Coleman is the recently appointed Chaplain to Eco-Congregation Scotland. He’s recalling his more traditional roots in his hometown of Birmingham.

“The congregation looked back with pride to the church’s prominent historic role in the transformation of the welfare of citizens through the Civic Gospel and overt engagement in Liberal politics.it had been the stage, during the nineteenth century, for ‘great preachers’ of congregationalism, such as John Angell James and Robert W Dale, who had been instrumental in the founding of Mansield College Oxford, where I was, in due course, to train for ministry.

“Transformative, for a child still vulnerable to the self-perpetuating propaganda of WW2 in comics and popular culture, was a church exchange with people of Zweibrücken in the Pfalz in Germany. The church prepared with German language lessons, and I came too, enjoying a German child’s Easter, and being received with great compassion by our hosts, whilst struggling with how kind and generous people could have been led astray by Nazism. War could not be an answer to anything.

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About Life and Work

IN THIS ISSUE HOLIDAY CLUB MISSION The churches engaging with children during school holidays 'GOD'S GIFT TO THIS BEAUTIFUL, DAMAGED WORLD' Interview with Eco-Congregations Chaplain, the Rev David Coleman ASSEMBLY 2019 The week in words and pictures ...and much more