A Communal Psalm for the Outcast

Every now and then as a church community, we write a communal Psalm. At our Tuesday night Tribal Gatherings we have just completed a series of bible studies around the theme of ‘Jesus, friend of the outcast & marginalised’. The following prayer laments, listens, seeks and reflects on the stories shared together and is the combined contribution of the diverse church community at Zac’s Place. Liz Hinds edited it to give it some structure, but the words are from everyone…. enjoy!
 
 
 A song for the outcasts, the lost and the lonely
 
 Walk with me, talk with me.
 
 In my life I have experienced everything you feel.
 
 I know what it’s like
 
 To be judged and found unworthy.
 
 To be insulted and reviled because we’re different.
 
 To be looked down upon and rejected.
 
 To be isolated and invisible.
 
 Vulnerable and violated.
 
 To be blamed and shamed.
 
 A little, ugly, unloved, failure,
 
 Abandoned and forgotten.
 
 Humiliated and frightened.
 
 Rejected and ignored.
 
 Misunderstood.
 
 Hurt.
 
 
 
 Screw you society!
 
 Who are you to judge?
 
 Look first at yourself.
 
 For you and me, we are all the same: one in Christ.
 
 One day you will be the outcast, you will be hurt
 
 Because hate leads to blindness.
 
 Have you never made a mistake?
 
 God is good; he listens.
 
 (But he doesn’t answer, does he?)
 
 If you haven’t walked a day in my flip flops
 
 Don’t slander me.
 
 I will not be talked about like some dirty renegade.
 
 I will not believe your lies.
 
 
 
 You have heard this before, I know, but believe you are loved.
 
 You are of worth, special and accepted.
 
 Don’t be afraid, you are not alone;
 
 I see you; I am with you.
 
 Don’t let your anger separate you from my love.
 
 Trust.
 
 I have a plan for your life.
 
 A plan without condemnation.
 
 A plan to give you hope.
 
 
 
 You are lost but you are found.
 
 Come sit, eat with me.
 
 I will walk in your flip flops.
 
 
 
 Thank you for those who have given.
 
 Thank you for those you have given.
 
 Thank you for the shining light of hope in my darkness.
 
 With you I am strong.
 
 You are my safe place.
 
 May 2019, Zac’s Place.
 

 
 

Gratitude – Remembering John Smith

Sean writes …
 
 Initiatives like Zac’s Place and the stuff that happens at places like it, doesn’t just happen by accident. It takes dedicated commitment from volunteers, staff & a broad support base. It also carries a vision and a passion that the world doesn’t have to stay the way it is, that there is another way to live, to love and to serve. This too doesn’t happen by accident. Somewhere along the way, a spark ignites a flame and fire burns bright.
 
 Pivotal in the story of Zac’s Place is the fire that burns in the core of my soul, that was further fanned into flame by an Australian preacher 30 years ago, who became my friend a mentor. He pointed me to the words and teaching of Jesus that seemed too tough to follow – loving your enemies, forgiving aggressors, caring for and speaking up for the rights of the outcast and marginalised – the stuff of the Sermon on the Mount. It transformed my faith and the course of my life.
 
 This week, John Smith died in the arms of his bride of 51 years, at the age of 77 — and in the spirit of John Wesley, the world had been his parish. Zac’s Place was part of that parish.
 
 He may have had the ear of politicians, activists, global icons, narrowly escaped execution for human rights efforts, and addressed thousands of people in public gatherings, but he was also no more at home than at our soup kitchen when he was in Swansea, (& similar ventures around the world), listening to someone’s story.
 
 He wasn’t perfect, he was wobbly at times, just like the rest of us all are. An ordinary bloke, but committed to the fire of faith in Christ that burned in his soul to his last breath. May we each be grateful for those who have gone before, inspired us and pointed us to a road that says, ‘things don’t have to stay as they are’.
 


The following article was John’s last published essay and is as poignant, insightful and as challenging as ever.
 
 “For the church, as for cancer, the key question is not how fast you are growing but what you are growing.” Rev. Dr. K. John Smith.

 
 https://www.eternitynews.com.au/in-depth/john-smith-prophet-teacher-evangelist-and-biker-takes-his-final-ride/

Book Launch – Swansea Date Announced

Sean will be doing a few dates on the road to support the publishing of his book on 20 Sep 2018.
 
 A particularly special night is planned at The Hyst in Swansea on Sun 30 Sep.
 
 Other dates will also include Sun 23 Luton, Mon 24 Leicester, Wed 26 West Bromwich and Reading on Thur 27 Sep. More info to follow.
 

The Beatitudes at The Grand

We are delighted to announce that our in house art commission inspired by The Beatitudes of Jesus, recorded in Matthew’s Gospel, will be exhibited on Level 2 at Swansea Grand Theatre from 21 Nov 2016 until 4 Feb 2017.
 
 Feel free to get the word out and encourage conversation around these stunning pieces of work.
 

Is politics still about people?

As politicians and the media argue about who should take part in a TV debate, I find myself wondering what matters I’d like to put across if any of them roll up at my front door looking for a vote…
 
 I want to vote for a politician that with tell the truth, be humble enough to admit mistakes and who loves people more than power.
 I want to vote for a party and believes in a system that looks beyond four year terms and sees its responsibility extending to future generations.
 I want to see the young, the old and the vulnerable given priority when it comes to a duty of care.
 
 How can I trust in a government and a plethora of tax payer funded institutions, that have routinely been found to withhold and manipulate the truth, whilst turning a blind eye to outrageous behaviour that heaps coals on the fires of the suffering of vulnerable people.
 
 I want to vote for a politician that holds to virtues of truth, of grace, of mercy, of justice, of integrity, of kindness, of self control, of self sacrifice and dare I say, of love.
 
 Is it too much to ask? Are there any such people left with a hunger for what is right, rather than what they will get out of it?
 
 I’m not interested in your empty promises, your policies that shift around like the sand on the shore. I’m not interested in your spin, your posturing, your temporary allegiances nor the cut of your suit or your persuasive words on a TV debate. I want to know what I see of your soul when I look in your eyes, what motivates you to play with the freedoms of people, to make choices that can cause immense good or immense pain & loss.
 
 When you ask me what I would like to see, let it begin with a sense of deep sorrow from the seat of power itself, for the selfishness, greed, selective blindness and manipulation of the truth at the expense of those most vulnerable in our community. Then let it continue with a renewed commitment to do what is right and just, to love people more than the pursuit of wealth, to look to the needs of others, to govern from a heart of service not privilege and power.
 
 Have you ever thought of leading by example? Just a thought, before you post your propaganda through my door.
 
 Sean Stillman
 
 

Public Notice – Brian ‘Pete’ Burford/Boswell

Photo courtesy of Lee Aspland

The funeral of the late Brian Boswell also known as Brian Burford and also known as ‘Pete’, of Castle Square, Swansea, will take place on Weds 25th February 2015 at Morriston Crematorium at 3.30pm. .

Friends are warmly invited to attend the service and afterwards at Zac’s Place in George Street, Swansea, SA1 4HH, to share hospitality. His ashes will be interred, in a family grave, in the days following, in a private ceremony.

Out of respect to Pete and believing that this would be his wish, we would kindly ask members of the press to be respectfully non-intrusive during the day. No more comment will be made prior to the funeral. A written statement will be available after the service however, giving details of the service contents.

If you wish to make a donation in memory, this can be done via Graham J. Sullivan funeral directors, 77 Ty-Hedd Funeral Home Mynydd Garnllwyd Rd, Morriston, Swansea SA6 7QG.

These donations will be distributed among charitable projects with an emphasis on literature and the arts. Those who knew him well, will know this is in keeping with his passions and interests.

John Smith Film Update

Work is due to begin again on the ‘Smithy’ film project heading towards the proposed release date of 1 July 2015. John Smith has had an important role in shaping many aspects of our ministry, this independent film is a unique opportunity to capture not just a man’s influential life, but also document one of the most significant voices on mission and what it means to truly follow Jesus.


To make the best possible job of production and distribution options, opportunity to donate remains open until 31 Jan to raise the remaining funds.

If you would like to support the ‘Smithy’ film, please go to the fundraising campaign at:
http://www.parham-media.com

For the latest news on the ‘Smithy’ production, go to: https://www.facebook.com/SomethingInEveryHue

Thanks for your interest and support.

Tribal Gathering

After a busy time at HQ in recent days, the next Tribal Gathering at Zac’s Place HQ will be on Tuesday eve 6th January.

We’ll spend some time looking back and sharing our stories of God’s mercy and grace over this past year.