Watching the news yesterday evening it seemed to me that just as there was wall to wall coverage and analysis on the surprise result of the EU Referendum in June, so too the media has gone into overdrive to try to understand how a man who has never held public office before wakes up one morning in November to find himself in the top job as President of the United States!
Amongst the many journalists struggling to make sense of it all there was one who described the outcome of the race to the White House as part of a global trend where people across the world who are fearful of migrants from other countries, backgrounds or cultures, have chosen charismatic leaders to help them find a new future.
So it was heartening to be reminded this week that the Church is trying to buck this trend and instead of turning away the foreigner or the refugee, the weak or the vulnerable, it is working in partnership with others to provide hospitality to those in need.
On Monday night we opened our doors to a crowd of new visitors. On the coldest night of the year so far we became the first of seven churches dotted around the city centre to provide a warm welcome to those unfortunate to find themselves sleeping rough. We also welcomed what looked like an army of volunteers who offered their time and skills to help run our second Winter Night Shelter of the year.
Guests from Libya, Poland, and Lithuania, joined volunteers from Manchester, Wigan and even Sweden round both the dinner table and pool table to share in those international pastimes of food, fun and developing friendships.
As a church community we have already chosen to follow a charismatic leader, one who was willing to lay down his power and wealth and even his life to build a community of saints from every tribe, language, people and nation (Revelation 5:9) who are called to acts of love such as providing someone with a hot meal and bed for the night.
And just as our All Saints service last week was an opportunity to remember those saints who have gone before us, so our Remembrance Service this coming Sunday focuses on those who followed Jesus’ example in sacrificing their lives in the fight against tyranny. Join us if you can for a chance to give thanks to God for the freedom we continue to enjoy and the willingness of our inner-city churches to welcome and support those who may appear to be different.
Enjoy the rest of your week