Is a Virgin Birth Inconceivable?
"We are invited to allow Mary to interpret the significance of her own child to us, rather than simply allowing the voices of men to overlay the miracle of the incarnation with speculation about the state of her virginity."
Simon Woodman, preaching on "Is a Virgin Birth Inconceivable?" at Bloomsbury, 23 December 2018 Read more
Two Bloomsbury sermons recently have reflected on the situation facing Palestinians in the occupied territory: Simon's sermon on the human sacrifice of Jephthah's Daughter, and Zoughbi's sermon on Naboth's Vineyard. Read more
The Massacre of the Innocents
"Matthew places God in his story in the person of the baby Jesus, a human at risk, on the run, helpless, innocent. This is deep theology, because it questions our whole notion of who God is. If God is an almighty God, all powerful, all knowing, omniscient and omnipresent, then God runs the risk of becoming a dictator God, or worse, a tyrant God."
Simon Woodman, preaching on 'The Massacre of the Innocents' at Bloomsbury, 9 December 2018. Read more
A Palestine Reflection
A group of us from Bloomsbury have just returned from a couple of weeks visiting Israel-Palestine, and I can honestly say that from my perspective it was one of the most moving and thought-provoking things I have done in a very long time. Read more
Independence and Interdependence
Simon continued our Communion preaching series 'Why This Church?' looking at Independence and Interdependence between Baptists. Read more
Antilectionary: Does God Care About Hairstyles?
The #antilectionary continues with Luke's sermon on whether God cares about hairstyles... Read more
Antilectionary: Rape Culture, #MeToo, and the Bible
The Antilectionary series continued this week with Simon preaching on the distressing story of the Levite's Concubine. Read more
Antilectionary: Incest and Lot’s Daughters
"We need to make the effort to read this horrific story from the point of view of the women, rather than the men. When we do this they move from being archetypical evil women who sexually abuse their own father, to become women who are themselves the victims of sexual violence and constraint, and whose actions are acts of great courage in the face of great threat." Read more
Consider the Lilies
Sunday was Bloomsbury's Harvest Service. Listen to this podcast to hear an interview with Graham about the relationship between his faith, and his environmental concern, followed by the Bible reading, and Simon's (short) sermon. Read more
Antilectionary: Do Miracles Still Happen?
Bloomsbury Minister Simon Woodman takes a hard look at the 'strange' healing stories of Peter's shadow and Paul's handkerchiefs from the book of Acts. Read more
Antilectionary: Sodom and Gomorrah
Luke preaching on Sodom and Gomorrah - and what it might (and might not) mean for those of us who read it today. Read more
Antilectionary: Christianity and Slavery
Dawn preaching on Christianity and Slavery. Read more
Murder! We're all Cain
On Sunday, Simon challenged us to realise that Cain, the first murderer, is alive and well and living in our midst. Read more
Why This Church? Congregational Church Government
"What would it look like if our gathering included discernment together on issues of politics, or immigration, or racism, or homophobia, or anti-Semitism, or Islamophobia? Not with a view to necessarily all agreeing at the end of it, but with an intent to hear from one another, and in doing so to hear from Christ himself." Read more
Experiencing the Depths of God
In our daily living, through the people we meet, through our inner reflections and spirituality: don’t accept a diminished or restricted God! But let what is thought, what is experienced, what is sought after, take people deeper and deeper into God. We are good at doing rather than being – but perhaps to us especially comes the word to ‘stop’. Read more
Antilectionary: Do Spiritual Gifts Still Happen?
'I’d like us to keep at the forefront of our minds the question of how Spiritual Gifts can contribute to the common good? How they can be of the benefit of those beyond the community and individuals that receive and use them?' Read more
Hebrews: The Returning Jesus
In the last of our series on the book of Hebrews, Simon asks what it means to speak of the return of Jesus. Read more
Why This Church? The Primacy of the Local Church
Our series of Communion Sermons on the theme of 'Why This Church?' continued on Sunday, as Dawn led us in an exploration of 'The Primacy of the Local Church'. Nyaueth and Andreea helped lead the prayers of intercession afterwards. Read more
Hebrews: The Vulnerable Jesus
In Sunday's sermon, Simon invited us to reflect on Jesus as the vulnerable 'scapegoat' who is sent outside the city wall to suffer, again and again and again. Read more
Hebrews: The Visible Jesus
In today's sermon from Bloomsbury, Luke Dowding invites us to see Jesus in lives lived at rest in God, rather than in the busy-ness of our own efforts. Read more
Shalom in Albania
Bloomsbury was delighted to have our BMS World Mission link missionary Revd Dan Dupree preaching on Sunday. He spoke about Shalom, and how the good news of Jesus is affecting the impoverished communities of Tirana where he is based. Read more
Hebrews: The Accessible Jesus
On Sunday, Simon continued our series on the book of Hebrews. Read more
Church Anniversary: Mark Oakley - It is what it is
Hebrews: The Familial Jesus
"A Christian community such as a church is far more than a collection of individuals who have gathered together around a shared set of values, or some shared goals. We aren’t just brothers in arms in some fight against evil in the world. We are a family – sisters and brothers with Jesus, and children of God. We are partners with Christ in his mission to bring good news to all people, and we are the heirs of the promise that the dwelling place of God is with humans. Jesus dwells in our midst; he is our brother, and we are his family. And therefore who we are as the family of Christ matters, because it is through our familial relationships that Christ is made known. If we are dysfunctional, then we present a dysfunctional Christ. If we are anxious or destructive, then we present an anxious and destructive Christ." Read more
Hebrews: The Pastoral Jesus
"Martyrdom in a Christian context never involves seeking death. But it does mean that we can be faithful unto death, and do with certainty that the Pastoral Jesus has already given us the gift of life that transcends the actual lived days and moment of our lives." Read more
Tommaso’s baptism story
It was a privilege for us to baptise Tommaso this morning at Bloomsbury. Here is his story of why he came for baptism. Read more
Why This Church? Believers' Baptism
“I often describe baptism as being a bit like a wedding, because both are places where people make promises in church. And the thing about a wedding is that you’re no more in love after you’ve said ‘I will’ than you were before; and in fact a wedding which is not built on a foundation of already existing love is probably deficient. But nonetheless something changes: the unmarried become married. And so with baptism. At one level nothing changes, faith is already present (and if it isn’t, then the good Baptist in me still wants to argue that something is deficient), and words of commitment spoken before God and a congregation don’t change that. And just as the exchange of rings doesn’t make a marriage, neither does the action of immersion into water make a Christian. But promises and action do still make a difference.” Read more
Hebrews: The Sustaining Jesus
"The people of God are, as they have always been, those who hear, embrace and persevere in the word of God, regardless of their religious affiliation. And if this is true of Jews and Gentiles, I would want to suggest that it is also true of those who seek the truth of the word of God in other religious traditions. None of us have a monopoly on truth, whether Jew or Gentile, Christian or Muslim, Baptist or Roman Catholic, or whatever. What we have in common is that God reaches out to us in love to draw us to himself, and that none of us understands fully what this means. For those of us who search for God within the Christian tradition, however, what it means for us is an unswerving focus on the revelation of God in the person of Jesus." Read more
You’re not listening to me! Pentecost and the healing of broken relationships
It can be hard sometimes, can’t it, to love one another? It can be hard to live together with the differences that we have. Differences of theology, belief, style, or preference. Some of us like noise in worship, some of us like silence. Some of us like the organ, some of us would prefer drums. Some of us like intellectual sermons, some of us struggle with them. And I could go on, and on… Read more
Water and Blood - Escaping Scapegoating
'The significance of Jesus being truly innocent is that when the collective guilt of society is placed on him, and when he is crucified for the sins of the world, it is a once-for-all sacrifice which is effective eternally, in all times and in all places. The insight here is that people can only be freed from their compulsion to scapegoat others when something decisively breaks that cycle, and that something, within the Christian tradition, is the cross of Jesus. The spiral of death is disrupted by the sacrificial death of Jesus, and those who encounter that disruption are given the capacity to enter into a new way of living where life, and not death, is dominant. Those who know that their sins have been forgiven by Jesus’ death, can discover that they no longer need to offload their guilt onto scapegoats, and so they can start to see new ways of dealing with human sin that take us in the direction of eternal life, rather than death. So the person who has embraced eternal life in Christ Jesus will see pathways to restoration and rehabilitation in others, where many will see just evil and danger. The person who has been born again from above, will see possibilities of forgiveness and new life where others see just punishment and death. The person who has been baptised into Christ’s body, and who shares in the spilled blood of the cross at communion, will know that they are a sinner saved by grace, and that they should not judge others, lest they too be judged. The person who believes that in Jesus, God became flesh, and died and was raised, will know that the potential for new life can emerge from even the darkest of lives,and so they will resist any attempt to write off anyone as beyond redemption.' Read more
Truthful Testimony in a World of Fake News
'It is so easy for us to hate one another, just as it is so easy for us to hate ourselves. Of course, we don’t call it hatred. We are far too reserved for that kind of language. But we might admit, sometimes, to finding someone ‘a little bit difficult’. Which is, of course, code for something far worse. And we might subtly but effectively side-line those whom we struggle to love, quietly distancing ourselves from our sisters and brothers in Christ. And we might find ways of exhibiting our passive aggression towards others, all the while maintaining our own perspective of self-righteous restraint.
'But, but… if we can learn to love the children of God, if we can learn to obey the command of God spoken in Christ that we should love one another as he has loved us, then this is a victory of faith which can conquer the world.' Read more
God loves you, get over it!
Listen again to Ruth's final sermon at Bloomsbury, including the welcoming into membership of Kathleen and Said, and Simon and Ruth leading a communion using a liturgy for communion in two voices. Read more
Speaking with boldness
"What Christ offers us is an opportunity to speak with boldness, to stand before God, to have the spirit in us, leading us. But this is a boldness that isn’t whispering behind doors, it is not speaking in arrogance without listening to others, it is one of freedom and humility that has an attitude and desire to reach unity together." Read more
"What we are, and will become, is not yet seen, not even by ourselves. We cannot yet see resurrection. We do not know what it will look like, or what shape it will have in our lives. All we know is that it is like Jesus." - Ruth Gouldbourne preaching at Bloomsbury, 15 April 2018. Read more
Jonah and the Worm: An ecological reading of Jonah
Give us today our daily bread
We pray for daily bread for the same reasons the Israelites gathered manna in the wilderness, to learn obedience to God who guides us into works of goodness, humility, and charity.
The prayer for daily bread, you see, is not about me, or even about us, lest we think that God especially favours us by answering our cry for food.
Rather, it’s a prayer that takes us into solidarity with those who lack, and which drives us into action to see the hungry fed, the poor raised up, and the impoverished released from the snares of debt.
It is a prayer that takes us into good works of transformative charity. Read more
Your kingdom come, your will be done
A sermon by Ruth Gouldbourne, preached at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church for the second Sunday in Lent, 25 Feb 2018. Read more
Our Father in Heaven...
'I’ll say this as bluntly as I know how: I don’t think prayer changes God, or God’s mind, or God’s activity in the world. In fact, I’ll go further: I have a suspicion that to utter a prayer list according to some set incantation such as, ‘in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen’, might actually be sorcery.I am deeply concerned when humans think they can control God by invoking prayer rituals or practices.' Read more
Don't tell me what to do!
A stumbling block to whom?
The desire to protect the faith of the so-called-weak, can too easily become an excuse to perpetuate the abuse of those who are in fact far weaker, because they have no voice. The thing is, it is notoriously difficult for the powerful to judge who is weak, and who is strong. Any loss of power by the powerful runs the risk of becoming, in their mind, an experience of persecution; whereas in actual fact it might just be an equalising of power with those who until now have not had any.
And so Christians sometimes fail to challenge injustice because of our deep-seated, internalised, and unacknowledged commitment to maintaining our powerful place in the status quo. And we then end up passing judgment on others who challenge the status quo, because we have become so entrenched in our position of strength, that we cannot see the alternative as anything other than an attack on our liberty.
Putting it very bluntly: one person’s stumbling block is another person’s justice issue. Read more
Can Anything Good Come From Nazareth
"If our identity is first created and then sustained by shutting out the other, eventually the self we create will become so fragile, and so in need of constant defence, that all our energy and all our self will go into that protection. I suggest that when we see people who are so afraid of the other, so determined to shut out all voices but their own, well then we have become so concerned with sustaining our self-created identity that that very identity is eating us alive." Read more