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:
Thought for the Week 29th September 2017
Precious Water
Each Harvest Festival we send our collection to Water Aid together with any money we raise from the sale of fruit and vegetables. When we think of the floods and storms that are devastating parts of the world, it`s difficult for us to imagine a world without water. And yet, incredibly, vast swaths of the earth remain parched and arid. We know more people die from lack of clean water - contaminated water in Africa than from the devastation caused by hurricanes. Many sources of water have become sewers.
In the Old Testament,the promise of water and the fear of its absence is used as leverage to persuade the Israelites fleeing from slavery in Egypt, to remain true to their God: `The Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters, welling up in valleys and in hills.` Imagine travelling across a desert: sandstorms, heat, fatigue, fear that water will run out. The imagery of flowing water in abundance would be irresistibly powerful to a nomadic tribe travelling through parched deserts. Don`t forget, the narrator says: `you`ve been led through a wasteland of poisonous snakes and scorpions`. Don`t get above yourselves: `the Lord your God made water flow for you from flint rock.` (Deuteronomy)
The image of Wasteland was picked up millenia later by T.S.Eliot in his famous poem The Wasteland(1922) He used images from the Old Testament to create a picture of a modern Wasteland without water. His mind lingered around images of the Ist World War: the horror of the trenches, the devastation, the loss of life, the dislocation of people. He creates the picture of a modern world with people travelling on winding roads where there are mountains of rock but no water. At the end of the poem he holds out a slender lifeline where he describes a `damp gust bringing rain` Maybe, he hints, there is a way back from this modern wasteland of the heart and soul.
Flowing water represents what is clean and pure. It sustains life in the most basic ways we can all see and understand. We respond to the urgency of not allowing it to become a sewer full of toxic debris by sending a donation to Water Aid each year. But also it symbolises a way of living with each other that is wholesome and refreshing to the spirit. Water, in many religious traditions, is a holy lotion that brings salvation as both the Old Testament and T.S. Eliot affirm. Email:
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