Voices of Hope – April 16th 2019

“God Will See Us Home” (Part 2) – “The Bigger Picture” by Tracey Byrne

Tracey Byrne

This week marks the fifth anniversary of the death of Jim Cotter, a dear friend and LGCM’s first General Secretary.

As a gay man, deeply committed to truth-telling, Jim knew all about exile, about being cast to the edges, but he resolutely refused to become a victim.   From that place he lived with such searing authenticity and tenderness, through the AIDS epidemic, from a place of dark depression, of illness and healing.  Around 2000 he moved to Wales, near an ancient pilgrim route high in the hills above Harlech, where he welcomed strangers, seekers, poets, pilgrims and friends – few of them from the central powerful places of the church.  He exercised a profound and prophetic ministry, incognito.

Towards the end of his life,  Jim was offered and accepted the post of priest at Aberdaeron, where the poet R S Thomas had once served.  From his place of abundant exile Jim had been called to a new, and all too short, phase of his pilgrimage.  As far west as it’s possible to go on land, Jim exercised an extraordinary and unexpected ministry, as gently subversive as ever.  “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.”

Sometimes, caught up in the machinations of the institution, we can forget the bigger picture.

The God of surprises is waiting, incognito, to draw us on, to welcome us, to heal us, to give to us all those things we never dared dream of, even from our place of exile and despair. And that God of surprises has plans for us too.

A Prayer

Restore the years, O God, that we have lost,

that the locusts have eaten.

Give to us the future we thought we should never see.

Even when we feel exiled,

locked in, despairing,

move secretly within us and among us

and without our realizing it

keep us moving on our journey to your city.  Amen.

Jim Cotter

1942 – 16 April 2014

Tomorrow – the Revd Jenny Clark, “Confidence in Christ”, Phil 1: 6

 

 

 

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2 Responses to Voices of Hope – April 16th 2019

  1. Revd Gennie Evans says:

    Thank you Tracey.
    I loved Jim,
    I was also reflecting and remembering him this morning. I am about to start a ministry in the SEC, in an inclusive congregation with my partner Tracey, planning to marry. He would have been so pleased for us. After 35 years in inner urban areas (Jim was my first spritiual director in Sheffield) we are going to be in a very beautifu part of the world, Stathrean, and I am hoping to use some of his resources from Abadaron, such as ‘sauntering’ around in some of my smaller more tourist charges such as at the ‘Tin church’ at Kiilin.

    On Sunday as I drove between one of my churches and another, thinking on the mess of the C of E often is in with so many of us and how much harm is has and does cause… I suddenly remembered the verse from the story of Joseph and his brothers… and how Joseph said to them, , ‘Even though you intended to do me harm, God intended it for good. Genesis 50:20.

    I remember with peace, and sadness and joy, Jim’s flower woven coffin and the sound of the waves as he was gathered home. God wil see us home.
    Gennie Evans

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  2. Thank you for remembering Jim Cotter. He taught me New Testament back in the late 70’s when he was curate at All Saints, Leavesden, and on the staff of the St Albans MTS. I have always remembered his teaching that being sensitive to people was more important than quoting Bible verses exactly as they were written.

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