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We are an active, inclusive Christian community based in the heart of Edinburgh city centre. At AUC we celebrate the Christian Story, welcome and affirm people of all races, genders, sexualities, ages, faiths and abilities and work to promote justice and wellbeing locally and globally. We come together to worship and to make a difference.

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AUC Book & Film Recommendations. I hope over weeks ahead we can share books, films and other art forms which have inspired us and broadened our vision in some way.
Rev Leslie Morrison starts us off sharing about "The Pianist of Yarmouk". Many thanks Leslie for letting us know about such a thoughful ad inspiration story.
From Leslie:
The Story of ‘The Pianist of Yarmouk’.
Several months ago travelling in the car to Glasgow I was listening to Book of the Week on Radio 4. I was transfixed. Rather than listening to an excerpt from a book, I was listening to an interview with Aehem Ahmad, a young Syrian who had fled from war torn Syria and arrived in Germany with his young family following him later. I recognised immediately the difficult and complicated life Aehem must have been living. You see
Yarmouk where Aehem was born and had spent his early years was until it was destroyed by ISIS fighters in 2013 the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Syria and lies on the southerly outskirts of Damascus, the capital city of Syria.
I bought Aehem’s book - ‘The pianist of Yarmouk’ shortly after hearing the first radio interview. Reading it has given me a greater insight into the horrors of the ghastly genocidal war in Syria. It has too given me much thought about the drive, the will power, the sheer passion and energy of human beings when all around in familiar places, life is broken and lost where despair and fear are the order of the day. Aehem had returned to Yarmouk from Homs in northern Syria where he studied music to find his home town desecrated and wrecked
by war and violence. He feared for his family, his friends, his community and himself. In utter despair he turned to the only thing he knew that would give him solace, comfort and perhaps even joy in all the misery surrounding him. He dragged his upright piano out into the street and played music and sang in the knowledge that he could be killed for this act of defiance.
The time came when Aehem had to make a terrible choice - either he stayed in Yarmouk and be killed or flee Syria without his family, hopefully for a better life away from war and violence. His book however does not tell about his new life in Germany with his family. Rather the book relates the ups and downs of his life; the barriers put in his way as he tried to be as good a musician and, it must be said, a good citizen. In a telling phrase, Aehem, when arguing with authority about what day of the week he would be allowed to go to a school and play music for the children says -’Hunger makes you moody’. One senses that hunger was not only a physical fact of life for Aehem and millions of other Syrians - it is metaphorical too in that he realises that there must be more to life than this ‘hell on earth’ which is present day Syria. Why have the gift of music if it cannot be expressed for the betterment of others.
This book is not only compelling reading, it is an uplifting story. Whilst the tone of the book is biographical there is a belief that it has a moral to tell us and so it can be viewed in deeply religious terms as it will evoke all sorts of emotions in you. It made me angry, sad, horrified and yet thankful that the human spirit can prevail for good. This is of God, and one can, even in the darkest moments of the human predicament discern the
hand of God at work in humankind. I commend this book to you.
The Pianist of Yarmouk - Aehem Ahmad as told to Sandra Hetzl and Arial Hauptmeier. Translated by
Emanuel Bergmann. Published by Michael Joseph.
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I have been slowly reading Rowan Williams' latest book The Way of St Benedict. It is challenging me to think about my feelings and percpetion in healthy ways. Very pertinent (for me at least!) as crisis mellows into the long haul of lock down. Here is a challenging (abridged) quote from Chp 1, in how to apply St Benedict's Rule for today:
"In the 21st C we have been rightly told that it is bad to repress emotion; equally righty, that it is poisonous to be passive under injustice. The problem (which 30 mins on the street, or 5 mins of a reality TV show, confirms) is that we so readily take this reasonable corrective to an atmosphere of unreality and oppression as an excuse for promoting the dramas of the will. The denial of emotion is a terrible thing; what takes time is learning that the positive path is the education of emotion, not it uncritical indulgence, which actually locks us far more firmly in our mutual isolation. Likewise, the denial of rights is a terrible thing; and what takes time to learn is that the opposite of oppression is not a wilderness of litigation and reparation but the nurture of concrete, shared respect. The Rule suggests that if concern with right and reparation fills our horizon, the one thing that we shall not attain is unselfconsciousness - respect as another of those worn-smooth tools that are simply and extenrion of the body".
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