Chaplain's reflections Chaplain's reflections

University Chaplain Nigel Rawlinson writes these thoughts and reflections.

Advent reflection - The Word (sermon given at All Saints Weston 2-12-18)

8 December 2018, 7.12 pm

Reading: John 1: 1-3 Text of sermon: In this talk I will: • Launch this short series • Look at today’s “Word” • Suggest an application for us this Advent The Word became Flesh – five talks from John 1: 1-14 for this Advent season • The Word • The life • The light • Children of God • Grace and truth Amazing focus on the first 14 verses of John’s Gospel A ... Read more

Thought for the Day - Radio Bristol 7-12-18

7 December 2018, 5.43 pm

TFTD 7-12-18 I was in Lambeth last week, at a sport’s chaplains conference. As I walked from Waterloo, along the embankment I looked across at the houses of parliament – lights on – and imagined the frenzied debate – MPs grappling with major decisions that will determine our future. I went to a small lunchtime Communion in the chapel in Lambeth Palace and, looking up at the balcony behi ... Read more

Summer 2018 “Live as children of light” Sermon preached at • St Johns RC church, Bath 5-08-18 • Bath Abbey 12-08-18 (Location-specific comments in italics)

13 August 2018, 8.34 am

Readings: Exodus 16:4, 12-15 Ephesians 4: 17, 20-24 (4:25 – 5:2) John 6: 24-35 (6:35, 41-51) (St John’s, Bath Abbey) Sermon: Live as children of light Prayer: Thank you for this place, and its role in the Christian life of this city. Thank you for your presence, your glory. Teach us as we reflect on your word, AMEN. I am reminded of a verse in the hymn “Amazing Grace”. How pr ... Read more

TFTD 20-06-18 – Radio Bristol

20 June 2018, 10.52 am

Good morning, I am going to Malawi on Thursday. It is an Anglican mission to help the local Bishop in Zomba, run a conference to refresh his local staff. We are telling of the excitement of the life of the early church, started, Christians believe, when Jesus returned to heaven and sent the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I love meeting and eating with people of totally different cultures. Unit ... Read more

today's call Morning prayer 29-05-18

29 May 2018, 9.53 am

But as for me, through the greatness of your mercy, I will come into your house; I will bow down towards your holy temple in awe of you. Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness, Because of my enemies; Make your way straight before my face. Come let us go up to the mountain of God, To the house of the God of Jacob; That God may teach us his ways, And that we may walk in his paths. A voic ... Read more

Conversations with Jesus - seven pointers on prayer

30 April 2018, 3.51 pm

Colossians 4: 2-18 I cannot do small-talk. It is one of my failings. I was at a family lunch party yesterday listening to my daughter carefully weave an interesting and enabling conversation. I wondered “where did she get that skill from?” BUT Prayer is not small-talk. That is the message of this morning. Prayer is important, real, and profound. Pete Greig in his book “Dirty Glo ... Read more

This Changes Everything - Easter reflection by Mark Searle, Rector, All Saints Weston

26 March 2018, 5.14 pm

There are two types of time. The ordinary kind of time, it is chronological and keeps on moving forward - Kronos. The other kind of time is the extraordinary, defining moment kind of time - Kairos. Kairos time is the moment when everything changes. It is the time when you have a choice about how you will respond, for good or ill. Kairos moments come in many forms. It can be a simple phone cal ... Read more

Knowing Jesus: Go deeper and mature

22 February 2018, 4.18 pm

Reading:1 Colossians 1:24 – 2:5 (TNIV) 24 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generatio ... Read more

Thought for the day -Radio Bristol 8-2-18

8 February 2018, 8.39 am

I have just trained as a street pastor. Small teams of people go out around the streets of our cities – Bath is mine – on Friday and Saturday nights – 10 o’clock to 3. Equipped with hot drinks, snacks, blankets and flip flops (for those starting the evening in high heels, and then taking their shoes off to walk home, risking cuts from broken bottles). We have dustpans to sweep up the glas ... Read more

Address given at the service of thanksgiving for the life of Geraldine Lillicrap, who guided many to know the love of Jesus Christ

30 January 2018, 9.11 am

(Readings: John 11: 25-27; John 14; 1-6; 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-14, 18; Psalm 23) I spoke with Stephen last night – to check final arrangements and care. We prayed over the phone. I thanked God for the care that Stephen and Geraldine gave me, as a new Christian, in 1986. Pat my wife, a lifelong believer, had loved me, never nagged over my faith (we met in 1980) and gently cared. In 1987 w ... Read more

Look up and see a wonder we can believe in. Thought for the day, Radio Bristol 11-1-18

11 January 2018, 9.48 am

Good morning. Best wishes for the new year from me. This week at the university the undergraduate students have returned. Revising for exams. It’s quite intense – every workplace and PC in the library taken – I walk through trying to show a supportive face – and feel the pressure in their expressions. The university is buzzing again. I plan to go round the campus each day. I see these ... Read more

Accept the gift – give your heart

29 December 2017, 1.35 pm

A sermon for Christmas - 2017 Reading: John 1: 1-14 Prayer: As we look for your coming among us this day Open our eyes to behold your presence And strengthen our hands to do your will That the world may rejoice and give you praise (from the Liturgy of morning prayer for ADVENT) Sermon: This advent (2017) I think we are being invited to a new view of things. This night • FACT ... Read more

Violence against Rohingya Muslims - Statement of the University of Bath Interfaith Forum (UBIF) 21-11-17

23 November 2017, 1.47 pm

We are gravely concerned by the recent attacks in Rakhine State. The scale and gravity of these atrocities and human rights violations against the Rohingya Muslims mark a worrying escalation of violence. There are numerous reports and satellite imagery of security forces and local militia burning Rohingya villages, and consistent accounts of extrajudicial killings, including shooting fleeing c ... Read more

Sermon: St John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Bath 29-10-17

1 November 2017, 8.31 am

Readings: 1 Thessalonians 1: 5-10 Mathew 22: 34-40 Sermon Thank you, David, for your welcome. It is good to be here. And thank you for all your care for our students. This is my third visit. I have a passion for Christian unity. In my training for work place ministry I had Anglican, Methodist and Roman Catholic tutors. I have been to Lourdes three times with HCPT as a chaplain. My eldest d ... Read more

Welcome to all our undergraduate students – a reflection on the way ahead.

27 September 2017, 7.10 pm

Welcome to all our undergraduate students – new, returning and those back from placement. It is very good to see you back here. We have had a busy summer in the chaplaincy. We have been open for the many post-graduates and staff here. Regular services have continued, with Sanctuary on Monday and University Communion on Tuesday. We have been given a significant donation, and bought a new piano. T ... Read more

"Fresher's" - a thought for the day - Radio Bristol 22-09-17

22 September 2017, 8.57 am

Good morning I am sad to see Bishop Mike retire. I know he will still be around praying for us, but his authentic presence will be missed. And Harry patch. I met him at a service in North stoke, Bath, to remember the horses lost in the first world war. An unusual service, you might say – but real to a small rural community. And horses are loyal and reliable friends. Again, true friendship ackn ... Read more

The unifying effect of forgiveness A reflection on the parable of the unmerciful servant

19 September 2017, 3.30 pm

The unifying effect of forgiveness A reflection on the parable of the unmerciful servant A sermon given at St John’s and St Marys, Bathwick, Bath Matthew 18: 21-35 Imagine the moment when Jesus first told this story. Put yourself in the crowd there. You have been bought up to “give as good as you get”. This teaching parable is a mind boggling proposal. Jesus is telling us to forg ... Read more

Prayer station for Peace

4 September 2017, 9.22 am

With international tensions mounting with North Korea, and thinking of our international student community, especially those from neighbouring countries, I have set up a prayer station in the Chaplaincy (down the steps to the right of the Library). Staff and students of all faiths (and no faith) are very welcome to come along, spend a few minutes in quiet reflection, and leave a message or li ... Read more

Thought for the day 10-08-17 Radio Bristol. Thoughts – North Korea

14 August 2017, 3.26 pm

I was thinking last night about my top thoughts – what to say now. I am sorry, but international affairs dominate – I am unsettled by President Trump and Kim Jong-Un. I am chaplain at the University of Bath. This year I have set up a new summer programme of support for our international students. Many arrive early to brush up on their English, before studying subjects such as automobile d ... Read more

VOW (Vigil for our World) - prayer station for peace

14 August 2017, 3.21 pm

With tensions mounting regarding North Korea, and thinking of our international students from China and other countries nearby, I have set up a prayer station in the Chaplaincy (down the steps to the right of the Library). Staff and students of all faiths (and none) are very welcome to come along, spend a few minutes in quiet reflection, and leave a message or light a candle. Nigel Rawlin ... Read more

Manchester and London Follow-up statement from the University of Bath Interfaith Forum

5 June 2017, 10.37 am

The prayers and thoughts of the University of Bath Interfaith Forum are with all of those impacted, by the attacks in London and the continuing aftermath of Manchester. It was powerful and moving to see the spirit of hope at last night’s concert in Manchester. Both are deeply distressing and shocking incidents that saw the loss of innocent life, and many injuries. As we saw they also brought ... Read more

Statement from the University of Bath Interfaith Forum

23 May 2017, 7.55 pm

The prayers and thoughts of the University of Bath Interfaith Forum are with all of those impacted by the tragic events of last night in Manchester. This was a deeply distressing and shocking incident that saw the loss of innocent life, and many injuries. It also brought out immense displays of strength and unity throughout the nation, from the emergency staff on the ground to local business o ... Read more

The road to Emmaus - a sermon given at St John's Catholic Church, Bath 30-04-17

8 May 2017, 11.19 am

Readings: Acts 2: 14, 22-33 Luke 24: 13-35 Sermon Thank you, David, for your welcome. It is good to be here. And thank you for all your care for our students. This is my second visit. I studied medicine at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. There, the faith of my childhood was tested and challenged. I came under the influence of the Dean, Don Cupitt – I sang in chapel. “Think for yourself ... Read more

Monday 24th April "thought for the day - Radio Bristol"

24 April 2017, 9.29 am

We had a car crash some years ago. We were on our way to Scotland for a family holiday. Mechanical failure caused us to leave the motorway at speed. We were stopped by saplings and, the land-rover on its side, we all clambered out. We found ourselves in A&E in Stirling. I was then working as an A&E consultant in the BRI, but here I was suddenly, unexpectedly, on the receiving end. I was the least ... Read more

Easter Monday "thought for the day" radio Bristol

24 April 2017, 9.27 am

I hope that your Easter weekend is good. We have our grandson staying. He was born on Christmas day, 16 months ago. Known as “pudding” for the first 10 days of his life, he is now definitely a “James”. He is walking, touching, and looking at everything with a wide-eyed wonder – “What is going on here?” – oh and pressing any button or switch he can find! So, lights go on and off ... Read more

Thought for the day - Radio Bristol 10-04-17

11 April 2017, 8.00 am

I have just started as chaplain at the University of Bath. This busy and dynamic campus has many international students, from 88 countries. It is a lively place. Very stimulating to be amongst this new adult generation, and hear their ideas and dreams, as they look ahead to the potential of their future. And going into a world that is just now increasingly complex and unpredictable, with ... Read more

Thought for the day - Radio Bristol. Easter – dedicated single-mindedness 3-4-17

3 April 2017, 9.47 am

I watched the annual boat race. This notoriously tough competition happens each year. Crews train relentlessly for 17 minutes of supreme effort. The faces of the losing boat always touch me – a story of total exhaustion and yet beaten too. At the University of Bath there is a large sports village. Athletes are training all the time. This rubs off I think on the campus. It is good to promot ... Read more

Star gazing! Today's thought for the day on Radio Bristol

28 March 2017, 11.06 am

The night sky is one of nature’s wonders. Star-gazing is breath-taking. Oh, to be out in the country – I used to go to Toghill farm road, just outside Bath - away from city lights, on a clear night, with no moon. The milky way - a slash of sprayed, white paint, as if flicked from a full paint brush, across the night-blue ceiling of the world – amazing! Stars have captured imagination ... Read more

"Weighed on the scales" - a reflection for Ash Wednesday

1 March 2017, 7.48 am

I have just written a newsletter for our congregation at All Saints church, Weston, Bath. I started like this. As you read this we are starting the next “great era” in the Christian year – Lent to Easter. This is a good time to reflect on our own journeys of faith. I am not advocating “flying solo” – such is the mood of this age we are in. In thinking about our own journeys, togeth ... Read more

Thought for the Day - Radio Bristol

15 February 2017, 4.33 pm

Radio Bristol TFTD 15-02-17 I am so pleased to be able to join in the 30th anniversary celebrations for Brace. Alzheimer’s is an area of life that needs so much understanding. These dear people evoke many mixed emotions – love of course – everyone is loved by someone; respect – “I wonder what he did in his earlier days; and, sometimes, apprehension too. How will this turn out? ... Read more

“Bridges” A sermon given at the invitation of Fr David Ryan, St John’s Roman Catholic Church, Bath 29-01-17

2 February 2017, 11.07 am

Readings: 1 Corinthians 1: 26-31 Matthew 5: 1-12 The Beatitudes Thank you for your welcome. It is very good to be here. I am a doctor and priest. I was ordained in 1999. I am an Anglican, and have worked in self-supporting ministry. This is in the model of the French worker priests in the 1950s. It is ministry outside church. I have worked in Accident and Emergency Medicine, and in a ... Read more

Thought for the Day – Radio Bristol 26-01-17

1 February 2017, 5.33 pm

What an inspiring video for this young carer’s awareness day. I watched the faces of those young people, all helping look after others – usually a family member – and saw excitement, ambition, caring – that fact that they worry for others - and joy. They all recognised the value of this responsibility, which seemed to have given them resilience and insight. This is such an important ... Read more

“Here is the son of God – a baby” Address first given at the Midnight Communion All Saints, Weston, Bath 24-12-16

1 February 2017, 5.31 pm

Readings: 1 Corinthians 15: 12-20 Luke 2: 1-14 Address: Why are we here tonight? Where ever we are in our faith in Jesus – however we know him – we are declaring a belief by coming. Time is too precious to waste otherwise. So let us reflect, and deepen this faith. Paul, in 1 Corinthians, puts it similarly. In a great chapter, one of his longest, that concludes with the mighty word ... Read more

Being a mouthpiece for truth and justice

17 November 2016, 12.59 pm

Nigel writes on "Being a mouthpiece for truth and justice". This is based on a sermon given at All Saints Weston, Bath on 13-11-16. This is a series of talks following Mark Greene's book: Fruitfulness on the Front Line – making a difference where you are (IVP) (ISBN: 978-1-78539-125-1) Good evening. This continues the series looking at fruitfulness on the Front Line. Two introductory re ... Read more