Category Archives: Blog

Fear – Faith – Fortitude

In June I returned to ‘normal duties’ following my sabbatical, which I wrote about in my last letter for Look-In way back in February.  Due to family health problems things didn’t go entirely to plan (do they ever), but having the sabbatical when I did meant I was able to offer a lot more support to my parents and Sue’s parents than I would have been able to do under normal circumstances.


Anyway, now life has returned to normal.  Except it hasn’t.  The last few weeks have shown a side of life that is far from normal.  Terrorist attacks on Westminster Bridge, London Bridge and at the Manchester Arena; the attack on worshipers leaving a Mosque in Finsbury Park (was this a terrorist attack?  It was certainly an attack designed to create terror); and the horrific fire in Grenfell Tower; not to mention the Brexit negotiations (oh dear, I mentioned them) have all shown that these are not normal times.


All of these events cast a shadow of fear.  And the way they are reported often deepens the sense of panic and fear people feel, mostly unintentionally but some less scrupulous media outlets do seem to delight in turning tragic and painful experiences into opportunities to increase the sense of fear that many people live with.  It is very easy to imagine that, in the words of Private Fraser from Dad’s Army, ‘we’re all doomed’.


How do we respond in the face of this climate of fear?  Psychologists tell us there are two basic responses to fear, Fight and Flight – to run and hide or to turn and fight.  Many want to run and hide – in fact it is one of the objectives of terrorism to make people run and hide, to disrupt normal social life, to cause people to want to stay at home and not go to public places, to cause society to grind to a halt.  Some choose to fight – to become aggressive with words or actions.  I have no idea what the motives of Darren Osborne were when he drove his van into the group of men outside the Finsbury Park Mosque but it does seem to me that it was an attempt at some misguided and misdirected form of fighting back.


Faith though, I think, should offer us an alternative to Fight or Flight.  So what does our faith say to us in a time of tragedy and fear?  The first thing I note is that having faith does not take away either the fear or the pain of tragedy.  Nor does it offer us some false platitude, it does not say, ‘there, there, it’ll be all right.  It must be said, at its worst faith can itself be the source of fear (though personally I think it is often just a tool used by people with other motives).


What I think faith can and should do is influence our perspective on a situation, colour our reactions and response, shape our frame of mind and direct our feelings.  Faith can help us see beyond the attacks by a minority of Muslims, or Christians, to the vast majority who are peace loving and live side by side quite harmoniously.  Faith can help us see that despite the reasons to fear there are far more reasons to hope, there are far more people doing good than doing harm, in the face of suffering and loss there always people willing to make sacrifices to help.  Faith can change how we see things and in turn how we respond to tragedies.


In that way Faith can give strength, to individuals and to communities.  It can be the supporting rod that prevents us from bending and breaking under the pressure of fear.  To keep the alliteration with Fear and Faith, faith gives Fortitude, strength not to buckle but to maintain hope and continue to live positively and courageously in times of fear.


In these times of fear, may our faith be a source of fortitude.  May we not listen to those voices that seek to make fear and terror fill our hearts but rather work to build a positive, strong and caring society.


Wishing you every blessing

Nick Skelding


This article was first published in the Summer 2017 issue of Look-In, our monthly church magazine.  The views and opinions expressed in articles submitted to Look-In are those of the authors and may not necessarily reflect those of the church as a whole. To download the full issue, please click here: Look-In Summer 2017

Notices – w/c 28th February 2016

Women’s World Day Prayer

Praying for Cuba at St. Margaret’s Church, Uxbridge at 2.00pm on 4th of March 2016.  All are welcome


Open Afternoon – Uxbridge Quaker Meeting House

On Saturday 5th March from 2pm to 4pm.  100 years of  Conscientious Objection Speakers, discussion & tea. Corner of Belmont/York Street UB8 1QW. For more information:


Good Grief

During the last few weeks of Lent this year there will be an exhibition of sculptures in Christ Church on the theme of grief.

If you are interested in helping in any way with the planning and staging of this exhibition, or just being available to talk with people, then please contact Nick Skelding.


Good Friday Walk of Witness

This year’s Walk of Witness is organised by Our Lady of Lourdes and The Salvation Army Church.

Date: 25th March 2016.

Time 11.00am

The walk will start at The Salvation Army Church, Cowley Road, UB8 2LT and finish at Christ Church where refreshments will be served.

All are cordially welcome.


Good Friday March 25th

On Good Friday March 25th there will be a Circuit service of word and music, including the cantata ‘Olivet to Calvary’, at Pinner Methodist Church at 6pm.


Rehearsals for the choir will take place at Pinner Methodist Church on Sunday afternoons 6th, 13th, 20th March and on Good Friday at 2.30pm. Contact Shirley Askew 1923 821871


Boys’ Brigade

Don’t forget, we have once again signed up to Sainsbury’s Active Kids voucher scheme. Active Kids vouchers are available every time you shop in store at Sainsbury’s and spend £10 or more.

Active Kids vouchers can be collected from now until Tuesday 3rd May 2016. Please bring them along and place them in our collecting box in the meeting area.



Life in the Spirit Course: ‘The Gift’ at Our Lady of Lourdes.

The course is aimed at helping us to be able to open the ‘Gift’ of the Holy Spirit we received at Baptism and Confirmation. All are welcome. The meeting will be held on Mondays from 7.30 pm to 9.00 pm on 29th February and 7th /14th /21st March.


For more information please contact Lucia Franco at or Gerard Farrell at or visit the website


New Flower Rota

New Flower Rota is now available so if you would like to donate flowers for a particular week, please sign up.  If you would like to do the arrangement yourself, then please also sign in the Arranger column.  Any further details please contact Mary Glasgow.


Christian Aid Week – 15th- 21st  May

Christian Aid Week starts on the 15th May.  If anyone would like to help with the house to house collections and has a suggestion for other fund raising activities for supporting this event , please speak to Peter King.