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  • A little bit of nonsense

    I don't know why. but for some reason yesterday I found myself recalling a rather daft game we used to play at work about 10 yeasr ago, and wondering if it could be applied to churches...

    It was the Native American Name Game - probably totally non-PC but it kept us amused in the more boring moments of daily life.  I suspect it emerged fromthe title of the film Dances with Wolves becuase it involved identfying a verb and an object associated with individuls.

    For example, one of my colleagues was a bit of an exercise junkie and went to the gym every lunchtime.  He also brought a carrot in his packed lunch every day.  So he became Exercises with a Carrot.

    Another colleague was a heavy smoker and had an inflatable Mr Blobby as a kind of mascot, so he was Smokes with Mr Blobby.

    They never told me what they named me, but perhaps these days it'd be Blogs with a Mug of Tea (since despite the title of this blog I'm more of a tea drinker and there's usually a half drunk mug sitting in my office).

    For another, unexplained, reason I found myself thinking about churches mission statements and one I came across several years backthat said 'we seek to be purpose driven in a balance fashion.'  Sounds impressive but I'm not sure what it means!

    Sohow about combining the name game with the church's statements?  What one verb and one object sum up a congregation?

    "Recalls glory days with a green hymnbook?"

    "Talks about mission with Powerpoint?"

    "Prays with a cup of tea?"

    "Seeks trade justice with kitkats?"


    I'm not letting on which churches these might relate to but they are not totally imaginary.  As for dear old Dibley... "Keeps on keeping on with a mad woman minister" I suspect.

  • Only in America...

    Check this out... where else could you have a degree in the things you surely ought to have learned at home?  And is there a parallel programme for men?  A degree in being a vicar's wife - now there's an idea (not)!

    PS You may need to follow the threads on the Sheri Klouda situation to make full sense of this.

  • Galadriel Moltmann?

    It seems to be the season of Quiz Farm quizzes again.  Which LOR character are youWhich theologian are you?  Seemingly I am Galadriel and Moltmann - I'm happy with these.  So if I ever need an alias, this could make a rather impressive sounding name, don't you think?

  • Getting the Rites Right

    Saturday's wedding is still being talked about, it seems, all positive, all we we dared to dream of.  The key word seems to be 'inclusivity' - not compromise to some kind of lowest common denominator mush, but authentic and inclusive.  If you fancy taking a peek at some of the photos, then check out the photographer's blog here .

    Today's funeral went well too.  The family were happy with what was offered (and someone told me I have a nice singing voice - wish my old music teachers could hear that one!!  Useful for singing funeral solos, I find) and it felt a 'together' kind of service - as in no great big gaps between the family and the other people who came.  So often funerals see a handful of mourners then several empty rows, which to me seems to say something about fear and isolation.

    As my week nears its end - and weekend brings its own challenges of politics over which special services to attend - I have a sense that this week some things have been got right, that we have shown people a glimpse of the God who is Love, Mercy and Grace.  In the midst of all the pain and suffering that news reports announce hourly, it is good to catch a glimpse of God's glory, to trace the rainbow through the rain, to know that there is a hope for all eternity.

  • Undertaking

    Still thinking about funerals!

    Is it me, or do undertakers see ministers as a nuisance in the whole proceedings?  Of the three local undertakers, two will phone me up having already booked a crematorium slot and if I'm not free will move on to the next person on their list.  They seem to assume crem. funerals as normative even for church people, and arrange timings without any consulation, so that they can, in my cynical view, get more funerals into a day.

    Today's is a fairly typical example - service 11 a.m. interrment 11:30.  It takes around 10 minutes at hearse speed to get from the church to the cemetry, not counting the time to get everyone out of church and the hearse and cars loaded up.  Counting back, that means 15 minutes for the service, 20 if I'm lucky.  But they won't arrive until exactly 11 a.m. and it'll take at least 5 minutes to get them in...

    If I get a church and crem funeral, they usually fix the two an hour apart.  This is tight as, at hearse speed, it's around 20 minutes to the nearest crem.  Granted, the committal only takes a few minutes, so arriving a little late is not a big issue, but even so, there is no room for error.

    Probably the least bad - the undertakers preferred option - is crem only.  No room for overrun, clear start and end times... easy.

    It really annoys and saddens me that the business of death has become so clinical and cynical.  On the one hand, many families want it all over as quickly as possible because it isn't very nice having to face up to the loss.  On the other, for undertakers the bottom line drives the proceedings.  A good funeral is one that gives space to grieve and time to reflect, that isn't on a conveyor belt (beyond the inevitability at the crem) and is an authentic response to bereavement.

    Remind me, when I update my will, to include some very precise funeral arrangements, which will not fit into 20 minutes at church with a scramble to the crem as dictiated by some firm of undertakers.


    PS I must write out a hundred lines 'It is crematorium not crem' as I recently got into trouble at church for saying crem