A year or so ago I received a very excited telephone call from Jo one of my Daughters in Law, saying she had just discovered that we were related. Somewhat taken aback I explained that I knew this, as I was at the Wedding. 'No!' she explained, 'I don't mean by marriage, but actually related. Back around the end of the 18th Century we share a common ancestor.' And so we did. This was a John Huddleston. Jo was descended from an older one of his sons and my family from a younger one, another Joshua. I have a will from their Mother a Sarah. In it she leaves her few possessions, but notably a greater amount to Jo's family. Fairly so, as by then they were orphaned. Were there family divisions at that time, I believe not as they have remained close neighbours for generations since, in the Bowland Fells. However, divisions in families do occur, and they can be vitriolic and long lasting.
I am writing this at a crucial point in the Brexit Trade, negotiations and no doubt by the time it is read, our fate will be sealed one way or the other. Even this far after the nation voted to leave the European Union, the fault lines in opinions held, still run deep. We mirror to some extent the similar divisions across the ocean in the United States, which will be only healed with vision, courage and understanding. We can only hope that we can come together nationally and internationally to build for all, a shared homeland where we can nurture peace and good will. I say hope, hope is built on will, and will comes from all of us doing something to make it so.
In our church too we face difficult decisions regarding the Report, 'God in Love Unites us'.
This is the report of the Marriage and Relationships Task Group 2019. Whatever stand we take, we should all be proud of this loving exploration of all human relationships. I believe in the call to inclusiveness and the valuing of different relationships, where these are based upon mutual love and respect. I accept also that these should be celebrated as we currently celebrate unions in the Church, marriage included. And yet I know the heartfelt difficulties other folk, with whom I have worshipped for many years, have with this call to change. These differences will be clear when Church Congregations register their views next year. For some societies in some areas, this has already brought division. In prayerfulness and understanding we shall have to live and work alongside these different views. Can we maintain the integrity of our own position, and yet work hand in hand with those whose views vary, to further the mission of our Methodist Family? None of us are immune from the challenges that relationships bring, and it is with humility we explore the future. If we as a worshipful union cannot find a way to do this then, what is the message we send to our divided world. This next year will be one of challenges for us all and in faith I believe we can walk the road together, hand in hand with our Lord Jesus and with each other.
Going back to my family story. I still ask my daughter in law if their side of the family know what happened to linen kerchiefs left to them in Sarah's will. OOOps!!