The Revd Kenneth M Forbes was called to serve at Lion Walk Church, with Chappel URC, in November 2003. Ken’s ministry with the Congregational Union of Scotland had been in Hamilton and Blantyre; Annan; and Port Glasgow, as well as serving as Synod Clerk for Scotland through the time the Congregational Union of Scotland joined the United Reformed Church in 2000. Between 1989 and 1994 Ken’s ministry had been in Zimbabwe. In 2008, Ken was also called to ministry at Christ Church, Colchester.
A few examples of Ken’s sermons can be found on the Sermons page of this website.
Each month Ken writes in the Church magazines. As Lion Talk is available to members only on this website, the article written for the magazine is presented here for you to read:
Easter is exceptionally early this year. We seem to have only just finished our celebrations of Jesus’ birth, and here we are beginning Lent, preparing to remember the events that took place in Jerusalem at the end of his life.
Sometimes these annual religious festivals bring with them a feeling of ‘here we go again’, as we perform the same annual rituals, hear the same scripture readings and attend the same special services and events.
Of course it is right that we should celebrate the religious festivals upon which our church’s calendar is based; it is right that we mark the milestones in Jesus’ life and express our faith through these regular celebrations; and it is right that we should unite with the whole Christian Church to proclaim the gospel message through the well-known stories of Christmas, Easter and Pentecost.
But we sometimes give the impression that the celebration of these festivals is the very reason for our existence as a church – and it isn’t. We may think of Easter (or possibly Pentecost) as ‘the most important time of the year’, but for millions the most important time is when they have enough to eat, or when they can live without fear, or when they have a job that pays enough to live on.
Yes, it is good for us to celebrate the festivals, but only when they point us to the real reason for our existence as a church, which is to struggle, in unity with our fellow Christians, towards the Kingdom of God.
At the end of February I attended an ‘Inter-Faith gathering’ held in the Town hall and hosted by the Mayor. Its simple purpose was to get representatives of the different faith communities talking to one another, sharing their experiences of faith, and perhaps finding some common ground.
It was attended by representatives of several Christian denominations, as well as members of the Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Sikh faiths,the Humanist Society, and one or two of ‘floating’ faith who weren’t attached to any one religious group. We each had the opportunity for brief one-to-one conversation with members of other faiths to share what faith meant to us personally.
It was during these conversations that the common ground was revealed: a passion for justice and peace. Everyone I spoke to – my conversations were with Muslim, Buddhist, Christian and humanist – shared those same values, but embraced different forms of spirituality to express them.
Two things struck me about the event. Firstly I realised that we are all just human people, struggling in our own ways to transform a broken and dangerous world through our faith. There are many different emphases. Some concentrate on prayer and meditation in an effort to cleanse the human spirit; some adhere to a set of formal laws or practices; some concentrate on prayer and some on service to the community. Most combine some or all of these.
Secondly it became clear that all faiths are worried about what we call ‘fundamentalism’, by which we mean a strict, exclusive and sometimes violent understanding of faith. Most faiths, it seems, are troubled by a small minority of their members whose exclusivity and hatred of other faiths arouses fear and suspicion and causes damage to their own faith. This is a problem for Islam, Judaism and Christianity in particular; a problem which is being addressed locally by events such as this.
This worthwhile evening ended with an excellent buffet supper provided by the Muslim community ….
Ken (from April 2016 Lion Talk)