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  • Connecting and Disconnecting

    Been an odd kind of a week.  Positive but mildly odd, and reaching its inevitable conclusion this morning when the post brought my transfer letter from BUGB to BUS proclaiming in black and white the change that occurs at midnight Wednesday/Thursday.

    The BUGB refresher conference was, for me, extremely good, perhaps because I opted out of a lot of the bits others found less helpful.  It was good to find among the 'five' year olds several other foot-stamping six-year-olds who had settled slightly later than their peers - a group within a group perhaps - and to realise that actually, who really cares anyway, it's more fun to feign the foot-stamping than actually to do it.  Steve Finamore's studies in Jeremiah were excellent and thought provoking, Rachel Haig's sharing of her experiences and Richard Kidd's session on art and prayer were superb.

    The EMBA conference was its usual self.  Ruth Gouldbourne's interactive studies on Baptist identity using Matthew 18 as a starting point were especially welcome, enjoyable and helpful.  It was good to meet up with friends and colleagues, to learn, to listen, to grumble, to be, to pray.  Some entertaining late night chats.  The last hymn we sang in the closing worship was my Dad's funeral hymn, which gave the ending a slightly odd feel!!  Almost twenty years on there is no sting in singing it, but there was some kind of irony somewhere along the line.

    So, now a weekend in which I must send the last few essential emails, visit the tip a few last times, disconnect the computer (which seems to be enjoying its resurrected status!) and go to the new thing that God is doing.

    It all feels slightly scary right now - which is probably as it should be - but the affirmation and encouragement I have received this last week, along with the assurance of the prayers of people in Baptist high places (and not so high!) reassure me that all will be well and all will be well and all manner of things shall be well.

  • Leave taking

    There really, really will be no more posting for a while as in theory I am on leave this week and at a couple of conferences next.

    Leave is theoretical, not because I don't think it's important to take it - it sure as heck is and I'm allegedly the first DBC minister in many a long year who has insisted on taking all their leave - but because there are a few important pastoral things still to be done.  I need to say goodbye to a person with a terminal illness and to check his choice of hymns so I'm ready for the phone call when it comes... I need to do a couple of hospital visits to say farewell to folk who were absent over the weekend.  I also have a BMF meeting in Didcot - the last before I undergo Union Reassignment, something I'm told is painless!!

    Next week I spend 2.5 days being 'refreshed' by BUGB - so I will be chilled and ready when they hand me over to BUS on 1st October and then 2.5 days at the EMBA ministers' conference, which I have helped organise these last four years.

    Betwist and between I have to finalise some sort of phone/broadband arrangements to tide me over at D+300 (big thanks and a 'shout out' to Will who has been advising on this) visit Dibley municipal tip a few times, register with some university or other for the coming academic year (don't ask!  Really.  Do not) and enjoy not having to set the alarm clock for a while!

    I will see some of you at D+300 on 3rd October and others in blogland in the near future.  Until then, then...

     

  • Letting Go

    So, the last service at Dibley.  Very well attended - a good smattering of lunch club folk and a few ex-members of the church as well as the interim moderator joined us for our last service together.  I was especially touched that someone on the fringe of the church who has a terminal illness was able to be with us.

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    As you can see, we are in a school hall, surrounded by PE equipment and have had to block out the sunlight so that the projector wil be effective given where the screen is currently located.

    Unusually it took two photos to fit everyone on.

    The photos were taken after the final blessing, as I have a thing about photos being taken during worship!

    At the end of the service we had a lovely cake to share and, porkine pandemic influenza or not, we had lots of hugs!

     

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    In a service of four mini-sermonettes, we focussed on

    • John 3:30 'he must increase and I must decrease'
    • Luke 4: 16 - 21 the Nazareth manifesto
    • James 2:26 'faith without deeds is dead'
    • John 20:17a 'do not cling to me'

    I think it worked.

    I leave Dibley job jobbed and, hopefully, God glorified.