This Thursday I found myself at BBC Llandaff, not for my usual few-times-a-year “Wednesday Word”, but as part of a panel to record today’s edition of “All Things Considered”. This weekly programme goes out on Radio Wales just after the 9 o’clock news on Sunday morning.
Appropriately for Pentecost, the topic was “The Holy Spirit”, a subject that I’m very comfortable with. Then I saw that two of the other three panelists were to be a Baptist minister – well I’m OK with Baptists as my father was from that tradition originally – and, uh oh, an Elim Pentecostal minister.
And not any Pentecostal minister, but Rev Christopher Cartwright of the City Temple, currently serving as General Superintendent, i.e. boss of the whole denomination which counts 550 congregations across the UK and Ireland. I’ve known, and on the whole had good relations with, folks from most parts of the Christian Church, but never the City Temple. For many people they would seem to be at the far end of the spectrum from us.
Anyway we got going – and all went well, in fact very well, thank God. Then I noticed that while I was speaking Chris (friends now, see!) was taking notes. I thought ‘Oh, he’s loading his ammunition to fire at me’. But no, as he told me afterwards, he was taking notes because I was using some approaches to this difficult subject that he had never thought of and very much approved of. I have to say I felt a little glow of Catholic pride, that I should be teaching the leader of Elim Pentecostals a few things about the Holy Spirit.
But in reality you could say that we are all Pentecostal – Pentecost is the birthday of the Church, and the Holy Spirit is the very life-force of that Church and of Creation itself. If you would like to celebrate the feast today, I invite you to our Pentecost Praise this Sunday evening. We start at 7.15pm in St Brigid’s Hall with refreshments – bring a bit of finger-food – then move to the Church at about 8.30 to
honour the Holy Spirit in prayer, praise and reflection, ending with a Benediction.