Saturday 1 September 2012

The last day in Bradford

I knew that my last day in Bradford was going to be emotionally and spiritually exhausting, so I started the day in pray, had a good breakfast, sorted out the kids and then set off with the removal men to finish packing up the books from the Liberation Theology Library at Desmond Tutu House.

I sat in the peace chapel, gave thanks for all the amazing people who had been in that room, from Nobel Peace prize winners to homeless working women. The stories this space could tell would fill a thousand books. Locking up the place for the last time, I felt elation, not loss. On the whole, it has been a good seven years. Even the battles with UKBA, local authorities, fascists or church authorities have produced their fruits. God is, so liberation theologians say, 'to be found in the struggle for life'.

I went over to the Student Union where I have had so many happy memories and said some goodbyes - then up to the peace studies department to give thanks for all the wonderful students and staff who I have worked with from there, and to offer a prayer for the current difficulties that the place is wrestling with. We need higher education to have places such as this department is we are to have any chance of moving forward as a society.

A dip in the pool to wash away regrets and frustrations, was followed by a prayer outside the Provident for economic justice (one of my first acts in Sunderland will be to join the credit union) then a prayer outside the ODEON for regeneration in the city that considers the will and needs of ordinary people.

I went and bought a copy of the Morning Star, a paper that alongside daily readings of the Bible, has sustained me in activism since I started receiving it in the Hive Housing Co-op off Manningham lane all those years ago.

Then the final act - to place a simple wooden cross on the window of the shop that sells killer crossbows in our city centre. We need to transform all places committed to violence with places committed to forgiveness, love and non-violence. I believe this is what Jesus was doing on the cross, refusing to meet violence with violence, but instead being prepared to die for a world of justice and kindness.

Sticking the cross on the shop window was a small act, but highly symbolic and emotionally charged. I hope that all who went to look at that weapon today would be struck by the comparison between the cross and the crossbow. Hope over violence. Love greater than evil.

Finally over to Goitstock waterfall, one of the natural beauty spots that have captured my heart in this city of so many surprises. I was caught in a glorious thunderstorm that left me soaking but exhilarated. Goodbye Bradford, and thankyou for all the amazing experiences, I will cherish them in my heart always.


  1. Awww.. I'm sure Bradford will miss you, Chris. We're lucky to have been there while you were (I'm with the Global Xchange team from the Philippines in case you're wondering who I am. lol).

  2. you didn't chuck any paint balloon bombs at advertising hordings, then? Even though I buggered off years ago, I'll miss you being there. Much love x