Rev’d David Coleman is eager to get to know local congregations’ initiatives, and to hear of your trials and joys, and to lead or share leadership of worship, when appropriate, taking note of your own tradition. Encouraging the committed core of congregations is also a high priority. David is an experienced, ordained minister in the United Reformed Church, a mainstream Christian church in the UK, and is also a Member of the Iona Community, having led programmed weeks at the Abbey.
Invite David to visit you by getting in touch through our staff page here
In preaching and in presentations, David makes exciting use of multimedia (see one of his videos below), and is well-equipped to work in very varied venues, not just on Sundays, or Sunday mornings.
A visit from the chaplain is an opportunity to celebrate what it means to be an Eco-Congregation.
Continue reading to follow his thoughts and reflections:
Creation Time/Season of Creation is well under way: we’re hearing reports of congregations using the material, including the major video reflections in sermon-slots, in Scotland and further afield.
It’s very difficult to measure the impact, so any messages about what people are doing, and indeed any requests for help – such as supplying an MP4 file of a video from YouTube – are most welcome. Then we know that one of the ‘hits’ one the site represents contact with a whole congregation.
We’re also still reflecting on material that has been posted, and in some cases adjusting it when we notice what could be better: it’s that exciting!
But I’m also, in the process, becoming aware of the challenge still posed by the church cultures we’re working with, in terms of evolving an environmentally aware approach to scripture and tradition. Two years ago, I put a search thread on ‘climate’ into the Bible Society’s website, and it returned “no results”. I did so again today, with the same outcome.
How many churches view environment as an “issue” rather than the overall context in which we do all our theology, and in which we offer all our praise?
Online conversations with colleagues make it clear that small nuances – such as the presentation of Genesis 218ff in the NIV, which dares to depart from a consensus which otherwise permitted the idea that all other life was created from scratch for the benefit of ‘Adam’ – may not stand out as significant if you’re not constantly interrogating scripture with a green tooth-comb. Or you might dismiss the NIV approach as an aberration designed to force the two, parallel, Creation stories into a consecutive ‘historical’ narrative. Fair enough. For me, it is sufficient that we emerge with greater respect for fellow creatures if we’re not forced to see their creation as serving a human purpose. The variety of translations now easily accessible online allows discernment beyond the Babylonian captivity of the ‘pew bible’.
Relatively few in the churches acknowledge, as a matter of course, that we all approach our relationship with the Bible with layers of slant and prejudice. That’s not a criticism, but a liberating awareness. Just as, with planting trees, the right tree in the right place makes a huge difference, and even the right mode of sustainable power in the right place, there’s another question.
And I’m delighted today to see the joint statement from Pope Francis, Archishop Justin Welby and Patriarch Bartholemew, presenting the Earth as someone who can cry out, rather than an inert object. https://climatenewsnetwork.net/earths-future-hinges-on-un-glasgow-climate-talks/ . The more, the merrier! It makes the job of a humble environmental chaplain that much easier!
What is the right sort of slant for here and now? And it does set us free from the dominating aspiration to definitiveness of the white, western and largely male and anthropocentric presentation of the church which held sway for several generations, sometimes reinforced by theological rank being pulled. The critique of anthropocentricism by no less than the Pope, in Laudato Si, has been a gift to all the churches. I bless every bishop, lecturer, district chair, or moderator who stands up to be counted in this awareness.
Being part of a meeting shaping a denominational environmental policy last month was quite encouraging: leaving behind the deceptively comfortable language of “stewardship” – which presents creation as property to be guarded, rather than life with which to partner – and taking care to avoid calling a living Creation “it”.
But even more, it’s clear we need to work towards a new relationship between scholars and preachers (yes, they often are the same person, bu stick with it!). At least in my own tradition, the work done in forensically investigating the possible meanings and the ‘Sitz im Leben’ – the context in which a text, or object, has been created, and its function and purpose at that time, is highly respected, and is the foundation for creative and inspired interpretation. This indispensable work gives us the word from which we wrestle the Word, though even the best translation is a very long way from, and no substitute for, an inspired and creative response to the question of what the Spirit is saying the the churches today.Continue reading →
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There has been a slight delay in fully posting everything: now it's all online at
Formal prayers for all 5 weeks: Rev Andy Braunston
Green Starters: hints for every lectionary text for the 5 weeks: Rev David Coleman
Lego Presentation of Isaiah 35, from the Dobson Family, Dunscore Church
Poem on Isaiah 35 from Dr Rosemary Power
James 2: Imaginative prayer from Miriam McHardy
James 2: On faith and works: Marian Pallister
James 2: All Age Resource: Valerie Cameron
The Judge with evil thoughts - a video sketch from an idea in James 2. Rev David Coleman
Reflection from Richard Murray on Mark 7:24-37
Sermon-slot reflection for Week 1: Rev David Coleman: The Earth, including us
Video version of 'The Earth, Including us"
Dramatic reading of the Gospel by Jo Clifford
Location reading of Psalms
This page contains the five ‘major reflections’ (sermons useable in regular online worship), on selected Revised Common Lectionary passages, prepared by Rev David Coleman, as Environmental Chaplain, for the Season of Creation’Creationtide/Creation Time.
Dramatic location video readings of seven of the Lectionary Psalms, and all five of the Gospels used in the reflections are available
For a quick check on passages not covered, you may also find ‘Green Starters” – with a paragraph on every single lectionary passage useful.
Resources are freely offered for use and adaptation to local circumstance: please get in touch if you have any additional needs in this respect.
PDF scripts, which may vary somewhat from the final edited form of the video are also offered.(Beneath each video)
As ever, please be kind, as these are offered in good faith, for devotional use, and prepared with very limited resources, though with a consciousness of the extreme urgency of change in a time of climate crisis.
WEEK1: THE EARTH, INCLUDING US
WEEK 2: CREATION SPEAKS GOD’S LANGUAGE
WEEK 3: THE TREE AND THEIR FRUIT
WEEK 4: THE OBSTACLE COURSE
WEEK 5: THE GIFT OF THE NAME (video now added)Continue reading →
Most of the Psalms prescribed by the Lectionary during Season of Creation, read “between heaven and earth”: high up, on location, near Slochd an Lochan (960m) Psalm 8 (bottom of page) is at locations including Glencoe and Isle of Skye.
And, from last year: Psalm 8 as a pilgrimage:Continue reading →
The Psalms prescribed for Creation time /Creationtide/Season of Creation are in need of at least a little introduction, even if, in some cases, this is ‘ handle with care’. Here they are presented in sequenceContinue reading →