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News - mid-February 2002

Dear friends,

Being back in UK has been a pleasure. I continue to be warmly welcomed by folks all over the place!

As I write, I am about to set off on my major UK trip that should take me to Kettering, Norwich, Stratford-U-Avon, Birmingham, Nottingham, York and elsewhere. Your prayers for this time are valued. I am looking forward to sharing with people at all these places.

The Sunday evening service of 3rd February at which I preached in Andover Baptist Church went well by all accounts, for which I thank God. There followed a week in and around London. I was privileged to teach some classes at London Bible College on missions strategy. The college was thriving and is an excellent centre for evangelical Biblical training. It was again a joy to fellowship with staff and students of All Nations Christian College, including an informal seminar with some staff and students. The latter days I spent sampling life in London with my brother Tim.

These are exciting times in the UK at the moment. The events of September 11th have woken the British people to seriously consider 'religious issues' that had been ignored or put onto the back burner for so long. The debate on ethnic identity in the UK is strongly religious in its core, as it is their maintenance of their own religious tradition that keeps people distinct despite living in the UK for many years. The observations I hear made by various commentators on these issues in the UK strike a remarkably familiar cord. When in Kenya I am on the 'other side' and see the difficulties involved in being assimilated into a very foreign culture on a day to day basis.

Despite the veneer of official atheism, I have found the British people in many ways to be strikingly religious beneath the surface. British religion is underground as people fear the powerful critique that secularism makes of their heartfelt longings. Recent tensions are revealing just how deeply Christianity has influenced our hearts and lives over many Centuries. Hard questions are being asked of Christianity by believers in religious pluralism that is now creaking and groaning at the edges. It is a privilege to be around in changing times.

Thanks again to the many people who give me a warm welcome to their homes and churches,