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Issue 27

Introduction to message from Revd Dr Leslie Griffiths

Martin Tunnicliffe introduces a Message from Lord Griffiths of Burry Port.

The FCP Council was delighted when The Revd. Dr. Leslie Griffiths, Superintendent Minister at Wesley\'s Chapel in London, agreed to become one of our Fellowship patrons. As well as being a life peer in the House of Lords, Dr Griffiths is one of the most influential and respected leaders in the British Methodist Church. His patronage is a strong endorsement of the Fellowship from that significant denomination. We asked Dr Griffiths if he would kindly write an article for our Newsletter. He responded generously, if hesitantly. His message is too long for our annual mailing but this précis will give you a flavour. 
Dr Griffiths\' hesitancy stems from a self-deprecatory appraisal of his own spirituality: \"When people ask me how I came to be a Methodist, I invariably reply that I found (and continue to find) the combination of inward religion and a necessaril y related commitment to the outward demands for living a transformative life in the society around me, positively inebriating.\"

He was asked by \"Who\'s Who\" to state his recreations. He writes: \"Mine, as put forward in 1985 and repeated unchanged ever since, appear thus: \"Fun and fellowship spiced by occasional moments of solitude.\"  I think it\'s a fair statement of the activities that sustain me and I hope that will go on being the case. Fun and fellowship are at the heart of what makes my life meaningful.\" 

He writes enthusiastically of his relations and relationships: \"At meals, on walks, over a drink, on holiday, in my office, I just seem surrounded by people who care about me. And, on top of all this, my wife Margaret remains my closest friend... How could I have lived so richly without all my friends?  So, \"fun and fellowship\" flow freely from all these relationships.\"

Dr Griffiths writes movingly about the influence of his mother: \"She died penniless in 1975. Her entire estate consisted of a shoe box with a few photog raphs and one or two letters in it. But, at another level, she left me a fortune... One friend of mine, hearing me speak thus of my mother, suggested that she possessed an \'aristocracy of the spirit.\'  She certainly did.\"
Clearly a person who revels in activity and lively company, Dr Griffiths concludes: \"I recognize that l\'m not made in a way that seems to lend itself to contemplation... while I have deep respect for contemplative religion, I feel that it isn\'t my natural métier... I need to live in a world where people cultivate the art of contemplation. But I need it because I sense how impoverished the world would be if it were simply filled by people like me... lt is the way spiritualities complement each other that interests me... I would hate to pretend that I am a contemplative kind of person. (But) I give my wholehearted and sincere support to the Fellowship of Contemplative Prayer and I\'m delighted to add my name to its list of patrons.

(The full text of Lesli e\'s letter can be found in the Newsletter section of the website)