From the Minister

Revd Michael Docker offers a bi-monthly commentary on life and faith.

The great story

February 2016

As we have been following, week by week, since the beginning of Advent 2015, “God’s story” – the story laid out in the Bible from the birth of Jesus, back to creation and on now through as far as Easter, now may be a good time to take stock. It has become fashionable these days […]

Mary

November 2015

The University of Bristol Multifaith Chaplaincy is taking as its theme for the Christmas Carol service this year – it’s been growing; the attendance last year was in the hundreds – Mary. Always the challenge is to make the Christian Christmas work in the context of a secular university. It’s a multifaith context as well. […]

Deadlines

September 2015

This edition of The Link marks a departure. For the first time in many years it covers the period until October; this means that the next edition will cover November and December, with a view to starting a new year with a January/February edition. Usually there has been an edition that bridges the end of […]

The politics of love

June 2015

One of the features of this election, as probably all election campaigns in this country, was what could be called “binary arguing”. One side puts forward a proposal, on immigration or welfare or some such, and the other side argues that it is wrong and puts forward another – usually an opposite – proposal. In […]

Moderation in all things

April 2015

A recent radio programme was entitled “Where are the moderate Muslims?”, which began by questioning the very idea. As one young Muslim interviewed in the programme said “does being moderate mean I’m half-a-Muslim?” The programme raised some very interesting questions about the nature of religion in a secular society such as ours – questions that […]

Freedom of Speech

February 2015

Freedom of speech: in recent weeks the very idea has been challenged – in violent ways, in political ways, in religious ways. Freedom of speech – without limits? The reaction to the Paris attack showed the strength of feeling around that concept. But from within the Muslim world things look very different. The limit to […]

Spirit of Christmas

December 2014

Christmas is in danger of becoming disconnected from the Christian story altogether. There’s a ‘spirit of Christmas’ that’s invoked in such things as the new Christmas TV advertisement from Sainsburys that tells the moving story of the 1914 ‘Christmas Truce’ between British and German soldiers in the trenches (including the famous, almost mythological, game of […]

What’s the point of …?

October 2014

“What’s the point of …?” – a radio series looking at some of England’s institutions that are facing huge challenges in today’s world, included an episode a few weeks ago called, “What’s the point of the Methodists?” – the once large Church that is in steep decline. Probably there are no plans for a “What’s […]

The harsh reality of conflict

August 2014

As I write, the violence between Israel and Hamas in Gaza continues unabated, while the terrible mess that is spread all over eastern Ukraine continues; a background rumble of unresolved conflict can be heard in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan, while although pressing news has forced Syria off the front pages, violence, we may […]

Being lost

June 2014

As I write, the search for the four British sailors lost in the Atlantic continues. When you read this they will almost certainly have been either lost or found. There have been a series of dramatic “losings” over recent months: the strange case of the missing plane MH370 somewhere in the Indian Ocean, the more-than-200 […]