Our Minister

Revd. Margaret Kirk has been a Unitarian Minister for 20 years, providing pastoral oversight at the Whitby chapel for most of that time.

She was minister of St. Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel in York between 1998 and 2009 whilst providing pastoral oversight at Whitby and regularly takes services for congregations in the wider Yorkshire Unitarian Union.

She writes an occasional `Thought For the Week` for the Whitby Gazette. The most recent one is printed here:
`Peace on earth, goodwill toward men.` Luke 2. V.14
It`s a refrain that rings out at this time of the year. We hear it in the beautiful story from Luke`s gospel and echoed in our Christmas carols. What is good will? Each of us has our own sense of what it means and the `good` part of the word is fine but what about the `will` part? It`s the part that gets forgotten about when we hear the word `goodwill`. We conjure up a nice cosy feeling that `goodwill` conveys - part of the seasonal tidings of joy and jollity: like a nice soft centred luscious chocolate or a really classy wine.
But `will` isn`t the least bit cosy.It`s about intent; it`s about willing oneself into the responsibility of caring, as some people do when they go throughout the Christmas period to serve food to the homeless(and I think we know it will be more than just homeless people needing that food this year); it`s about willingness and determination to look for and to act out of goodness. It`s about having the will to pursue goodness and caring, having the will to see connections between people rather than their differences; having the will to find that of God in each of us.
It`s not so easy to be optimistic when we look at some of the problems facing us today. It`s not easy to deal with human greed, the immense power of multi-national corporations; it`s not easy to deal with global warming, or the armaments industry, or the drugs trade or even worse the trade in human beings. It`s not easy to find that confidence.
`Peace on earth, goodwill to men.` - not a sentimental linking of arms and singing Auld Lang Syne on New Year`s Eve, not even the mellowed cheeriness of Christmas and new year revelry, but something that changes in the heart, that comes from our humanness. Advent is about waiting for the coming of something that breaks our defences, our separateness, takes us over the line to celebrate Christmas with our enemy, takes us into meeting, takes us into connection. Advent leads us towards a change in the heart that the coming of Jesus symbolises: a softening of our stiffness and sense of righteousness.
Good will is not a soft option, a cosy kindness at Christmas, a drug induced warmth of spirit. It`s about getting up on our feet.
` Stand up and raise your heads` says Jesus. (Luke 21. v 28)
Good will is a rallying call to all of us to be actively involved in making this world a more loving, more caring place. May that kind of goodwill find a place in our hearts this Christmas. Email:
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