By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.

  • Balloons, bunting and blazing sunshine

    It must be Pentecost in Dibley!  And indeed it is.

    Yesterday's community fun day attracted far less people than usual - only about a hundred I'd guess - but those who came enjoyed themselves playing in the sunshine, munching scones and chatting to friends.  It transpired their was a councilled event in the town centre - a kind of talent fest though dubbed by one person who'd been there before coming to ours 'Carbonberg's Got No Talent'.  The some meagre sporting event also took place occupying afternoon television and managing to keep a lot of people safely in stuffy houses rather than enjoying he wonderdful weather.  It was hard work - a much smaller number of folk involved this year but it was fun.  As I staggered to the chip shop at 8 p.m. to get some tea, I did wonder momentarily what the Holy Spirit did about tea on the day of the first Pentecost - she must have been exhausted after prompting so many people to respond to the apostles! ;-)

    Today its our open air service, which I always enjoy.

    IMG_0224.JPGThis year we begin with party poppers (and I going to pinch part of  Jim's haiku as opening liturgy!) and individual birthday cakes (amazing what can be done with cheepy creepy supermarket cakes and a tube of icing).  We will allow various Biblical texts to guide us into some reflections on what it means for us to live as people who are indwelled by God's Holy Spirit - including how we make our election choices this coming Thursday. We will draw faces on balloons (to represent ourselves!) and then blow them up, symbolising our own filling with God's breath of life and will write our prayers on 'flames' to add to a collage of fire.

    It should be fun, and I hope it will be authentic too.

  • Making History - or why I want to throw my computer out of the window!

    Yesterday evening I sat down to start the process of creating a record of the demise of our erstwhile church building.  Demolition continues - and will do for a few weeks yet - but already I have lots of photos, so it seemed good to start putting together the narrative with the images.  All was going well, the document was looking good, complete with images of the building as it was, the various plans for redevelopment, photos of the process to date and accompanying text.  I was making some history for my congregation, recognising the need to combine facts with commentary, aware of my aims, aware of my target audience - it was good.  Then the computer decided not only to refuse to save the latest update to the document, it lost the whole thing.  I know I can type it all up again - and I will revert to my method of alternately saving to hard drive and data stick so that I don't lose the whole thing next time - but my computer very nearly joined the pile of roofing felt, broken glass and timber in the skip next door.

    Anyway, here's a recent photo of the back of the premises, now so open you can see the stained glass at the front (inside the large black square hole).  One particularly amusing aspect (for me) is that despite all the stripping and demolishing the pulpit (which I never used) still stands proud!

    IMG_0202.JPGWhilst chatting to the demolition crew yesterday, I discovered that the stained glass and front doors (massive oak "church" doors) are to be salvaged and sold on, probably into the American market.  The slates have already been salvaged and the roof tiles from the sanctuary will also be kept. Ironically the new bat-house will be built of reclaimed materials so that the three young bats feel at home when/should they return!

  • Eternal Trinity

    I am starting to outline the service for Trinity Sunday - that most unloved and avoided theme within the litrugical year.  Last year I focussed on relational trinity models and my 'divine reel of three leading to a missional grand chain' image.  This year, partly because I had a (semi-serious) request that we sit in a triangle, and partly because D+1 are with us, I have decided to go with something that I thought was more straight forward - until I tried to think of or find Bible texts to go with it!

    My flash of inspiration (?) was to build the sermon slot around the words from the Book of Hours (I think)

    Glory be to the Father

    And to the Son

    And to the Holy Spirit

    As it was in the beginning

    Is now

    And shall be forever

    So, there would be three shortish reflections around the co-equal, co-eternal Trinity.

    In the beginning - Genesis 1 and John 1

    Is now - John 14:15 - 22, Matthew 28:16 - 20

    Shall be forever.... er..... 2 Corinthians 13:14 sprang to mind but does not have the 'for evermore' we add when we use it as a blessing.  I can't seem to find an obvious trinitarian reference in Revelation.

    Anyone care to enlighten me?  I may well cheat and use the 2 Corinthians bit anyway but I'd like something else if possible.

    PS The dreaded green hymnbook actually came into its own as it actually has a section of hymns on the theme of Trinity - not something SOF or MP or even BPW seems so hot on!

  • Weird Baptist Connections...

    There was a time when the Baptist Times used to find the most tortuous connections between the stories they told and Baptist life - you know the kind of thing Mr X lived nextdoor to Mrs Y who just happened to have bought her pedigree dog from the same breeder as the former president of the Baptist Union.  So here's one that I spotted today... courtesy of Sainsbury's 140th birthday magazine supplement:

    During World War II "the East Grinstead store was so badly bombed it traded temporarily from the local Baptist church" (Sainsbury's Magazine, Souvenir Supplement, third page).  So that explains why so many Baptist ministers shop at Sainsbury's!!!  (Whether or not this was a BUGB church I cannot tell but, hey, it never seemed to worry the BT...)

    Whilst in there today I picked up a pack of Fry's Chocolate Cream bars for one of my ninety somethings who recalls the days when she used to buy them from vending machines on the railway station in Dibley (well the adjacent town anyway) when she went to Leicester with her husband to watch the races.  Ironic that having had a Stephenson built railway Mr Beeching stole it from us.

    Pastoral care, nostalgia and weird Baptist connections - not a bad afternoon's work!


  • Now and Then

    IMG_0191.JPGThe demolition crew dismantling our former chapel building are a friendly bunch and very graciously allow me on site pretty much whenever I want to in order to photograph the process.  Although due to my holiday I missed the "window" to get inside the shell and take pictures, there is still plenty to see despite the larger machinery having arrived on site to demolish what 134 years ago was a brand new Baptist day school backing onto a brand new church.  In the photo the school part is now almost gone leaving a big hole into the former sanctuary.  The vestry, complete with its evil 1950's wall paper is still (at the time of the photo) extant and just behind the arm of the digger.

    This afternoon I was visiting one of my ninety-somethings who has recently been in hospital and she was recalling how her grandfather had remembered the 'old' (wooden) chapel that stood on our grave yard and had attended the Baptist school when it was a shiny new - presumably state of the art - place.

    HugglescoteBaptistChurchDaySchool.jpgThis picture - downloaded from the web where it had been uploaded from some archives held my my folk - shows what school looked like in 1913 - hard to imagine how they fitted so many children in such a small space as it was, but they clearly did.  Hard, too, to imagine that in this photo are parents of some of my older people.  Seemingly, before free education exisited,  people paid 1d a week for reading and 1d a week for writing (no record of what they were charged for arithmetic!) so it was hardly a cheap option for miners with large families.  Running costs were subsidised by an annual 'Sermons' Sunday.

    The advent of free state education meant the Baptist school closed fairly soon after the opening of this shiny new building... and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.