Dear Friends

Dear Friends

Written address from our Minister Revd. Bill Bowman


Well the football World Cup is over and the England team came so very close!! Well done to Gareth Southgate and his squad, apart from nearly pulling off the ultimate prize they also pulled their country together in a positive way for a couple of exciting weeks of eager expectancy.

While the World Cup is over – football is back!! The Scottish season started the day before the World Cup Final even and the English leagues kick off on August 4th and the Premiership a week later. So if you don’t like football “batten down the hatches” till next May!!

Talking of football, as I write this (Saturday 21st July) I notice that tomorrow evening on television there is to be shown a documentary film about the life and times of that legendary manager of Liverpool FC – the great Bill Shankly. I have a particular affinity with Bill Shankly not only does he come from the same county as me (he was born in the mining village of Glenbuck in Ayrshire) but he had an outlook on life generally that is very much in keeping with the teachings of Jesus.

Most people will be familiar with Shankly’s famous retort – when someone accused him of treating football as a “matter of life and death, “Shankly immediately responded, “It’s far more important than that!!”

But it is two of Shankly’s lesser known quotes that resonate with Christian values.

Firstly, bearing in mind Bill Shankly had been a coal miner, the son of a coal miner, you would expect his political views to lean a particular way but when questioned about this he is quoted as saying,

“The socialism I believe in is not politics. It is a way of life. It is humanity. I believe the only way to live and to be truly successful is by collective effort. Everyone working for each other. Everyone helping each other and everyone having a share of the rewards at the end of the day. That might be asking a lot, but it’s how I see football, it’s how I see life.”

Shankly’s philosophy is very much in keeping with the values of Jesus about sharing and caring and loving one another for the benefit of all.

Finally on his retirement Shankly said,

“I was in the game for the love of football – and I wanted to bring happiness to the people of Liverpool.”

This comment reminds me that Jesus came into this world for the love of us and to ultimately bring joy to all people.

“You will have joy which no one will take away” (John 16:22).

I hope that any of you going on holiday this month will have a restful and enjoyable time.




Marion and I have just recently returned from holiday on the Isle of Wight. I hadn’t visited the island for at least twenty years and I’d forgotten how nice it was. While Marion and her sister and brother-in-law were undertaking the considerable feat of walking the entire island coastal path – a distance of 80 … Continue reading Encouragement

Royal Wedding

I am writing this on the morning of the wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle just after I have seen a young couple who are getting married at Emmanuel in September. All this wedding talk brought to my mind the number of times the marriage motive and wedding themes are mentioned in the Bible. … Continue reading Royal Wedding

For evil to triumph…

I am writing this a few days after the UK together with our allies in the US and France have launched airstrikes against the chemical warfare installations in Syria. Regardless of our political persuasions all right thinking people can surely only be appalled at the use of such horrendous weapons by the Assad regime against … Continue reading For evil to triumph…

New Life

Easter Sunday this year is on 1st April – quite early in the spring.  Because of our particularly cold winter, the daffodils are a bit late in blooming in our gardens but they are coming out now just in time for Easter.  These spring flowers are natural and beautiful symbols of the new life which … Continue reading New Life

Why did Jesus have two donkeys?

Although Easter is not until 1st April, the month of March contains two very important Sundays in the Lenten Season – Mothering Sunday and Palm Sunday. At first, apart from both being Sundays there doesn’t seem much connection between these two dates in the Church’s year. But there is a connection and the connection is … Continue reading Why did Jesus have two donkeys?

“Thank You” letters

By the time you read this Christmas will be over and the New Year with all its hopes and possibilities will be just getting underway. When I was a boy I associated the period between Christmas and New Year with writing “Thank You” letters. Mainly to several kind elderly aunties who had sent me Christmas … Continue reading “Thank You” letters

Bah!! Humbug!!

“Bah!! Humbug!!” These words we associate with the character of Ebenezer Scrooge in the Charles Dickens novel, “A Christmas Carol”.  This expression and calling someone a “bit of a Scrooge” are commonly used idioms to describe people who don’t enter into the Christmas celebrations with much enthusiasm. Odd as it may seem, in days gone … Continue reading Bah!! Humbug!!


It is 100 years ago this year that the United States entered the First World War on the Allied side. It was a US Senator, Hiram Johnson (1866-1945) of California who in 1917 observed “The first casualty of war is the truth.” Ironically Johnson died on 6th August 1945 the day the Allies dropped the … Continue reading Truth


We celebrated harvest at Emmanuel a little earlier than usual this year and I am grateful to everyone for their part in making it such a joyful celebration. In early October in the Jewish community another harvest festival called the Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot in Hebrew, takes place. This is a week-long festival whose … Continue reading Sukkot

New Year?

September is the month of beginning again. Schools return, university terms start as do all the host of church and secular activities that take a summer break. September to me always seems a more sensible time to celebrate New Year than 1st January which was the date the Romans chose and we have followed on … Continue reading New Year?