Rev Danny Crosby

From the Minister

You may recall that a few years ago I was invited to participate in “Men’s Health Forum” at Parliament. It was hosted by Baroness Floella Benjamin. Floella must be perhaps the most genuinely wonderful human being I have ever met. Lat Friday Christine Anstey, a member at Dunham Road told me that she was on “Desert Island Discs”. I listened to her wonderful life story. What was clear was the deep love and care within her, exemplified by her life. She spoke of her struggles as a black immigrant growing up the 1950’s and 60’s and her how she worked hard to develop her career. She has been a campaigner for so many groups of people. She also spoke about being appointed the chancellor of the University of Exeter and how instead of shaking hands with graduates she breaks tradition and hugs every single one. As someone who has received one of those hugs, I have never known a more loving one. Floella is one of those special people who lives by and through love and I believe is a wonderful example of what we can be if we live by and through love. Now Floella came to fame as children’s tv presenter on “Playschool”. That night sue and myself watched a wonderful film “A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood. It tells the story of cynical journalist going to interview the much loved American children’s television icon Fred Rogers. It is a beautiful film about reconciliation and transformation as the cynical journalist Lloyd Vogel is transformed by the presence and love exemplified in the life of Rogers. He reconciles with his own father who is dying and who abandoned him and sisters in their childhood. At one point in the film it is suggested that Rogers could be seen as some kind of saint. Roger’s wife though disputes this and says if he was a saint then no one could aspire to live a life like him. Roger’s shows his vulnerability and also talks of his own challenges as a parent. It would be difficult to be the child of such a person, just as it would to be the child of Floella too. As it is difficult for any of us to live up to any other ideal. That though does not mean that we should not true. The wonderful thing about the great examples is that they were very human, just like you and i. that does not mean that we cannot aspire to be like them. I wonder who your heroes were, either as children and or adults. Who are the people who have or who still inspire you. Do you see them as humans or as saints. Perhaps this is something to ponder and perhaps continue to aspire to in this time of struggle and need. Love and respect