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  • Pride of Northampton

    This week I've spent three days in and around Northampton and Oxford.  Nipping into Northampton's Grosvenor shopping centre, I spotted an unusual sight - a pride of multi-coloured lion cubs decorated by children from local primary schools as well as some full sized lions sponsoered by businesses and/or decorated by community groups or professional artists.  They were/are wonderful and some great humour.  There was an Elvis lion - 'Are You Lionsome Tonight?' - there were 'Three Lions' with team England football tops... oh well, never mind, I'm sure the sponsor is pleased with this team who really are winners.  I loved the 'people's lion' covered in a patchwork of knitted and crocheted shapes by a community craft group.  The school's lions had diverse names - there were Roary and Rory and Lionel and then Llewys, not a Welsh lion but a local village name (Sywell) reversed and one apparently named after a Hebrew lion goddess (I didn't know there was one but hey...).  From montages of local photos to handprints to school mottos to the names of children the variety was lovely.

    Made me proud of the old place!  And hopefully will be a source of pleasure for the 200k or so people who live there.  More info here if you are interested (for photos follow the 'media' signpost)



  • Good Day in Prospect

    Today is the final day of the Glasgow West End festival, and this afternoon we are offering one of the final events, a chance to hear and interact with the BBC Scotland political editor Brian Taylor.

    Before that of course is the morning service - which may be a bit thin on the ground as Scottish schools are now on holiday until mid-August.  This may explain why the weather here is grey and overcast with a forecast of rain: hottest day of the the year, probably not so here.  Our theme will be 'life in all its fullness' and, as I never did get anywhere trying to track down anything on Johannine dualism in this respect, it will be more of a 'via negativa' approach - what it is not - and will use some poetry, prose and prayers from places where the questions are asked (disability, hospices, bereavement).  Hopefully it'll work... I may post some of the resources later.

    Then in the evening the second of a pair of services on themes in Matthew's gospel led by some of our C of S friends.

    All in all, then, a good day in prospect... and a completely football free zone, hurray!

  • A Bit of Fun: Today's Discovery

    Scots Wikipaedia (can't do an ae dipthong thingy in this editor, sorry) has existed for about five years is well worth a quick look see, whether or not you understand it.  I found it by googling the origin of 'watter' a word used widely in northern England as well as Scotland, though the latter claim it as their word.  It is quite a fun site, not taking itself overly seriously and I suspect making up a few words as it goes along to confound the sassenachs (and why not?).

    Check out the Scots entry on Baptists here and compare with the English one here.  Do have a play on the Scots' site, it's fun.


  • A Long, Summer day..


    Yesterday our Coffee Club had a day out on the Clyde.  Joining more than 700 other people, we boarded the PSV Waverley (the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world) to go 'doon the watter' from Glasgow to Rothsay calling in at Kilcreggan and Dunoon on the way.  It was a glorious day and  we had a great time - even if it ended up about two hours longer than scheduled.



    (Morning, high tide, Glasgow, (c) Ken Fisher)


    The main reason for the late running was the logistics of embarking and disembarking large numbers of very frail elderly people, many in wheel chairs, with walkers, sticks and other accoutrements, as well as a few who were blind or had other disabilities.  The ship's crew were simply amazing, patiently and good-humouredly carrying wheel chairs and their occupants down or up steep gang-planks (often needing four men to do this) and constantly apologising for the delays this inevitably causes.  It is great that nowadays being elderly or frail or both does not mean being consigned to a rocking chair by the fire and that these folk were able to enjoy sun, sea and seagulls along with younger, stronger folk.

    The delays had consequences... arrving very late at Rothsay, we were forced to circle while the Cal-Mac ferry took its timetabled slot and so landed over an hour late ourselves.  Told what time we would leave again, which meant there was just time to go ashore, visit the loos, grab a poke of chips or a cuppa, the 700+ rapidly dispersed onto Rothsay.  We actually sailed ten minutes late - and a group of four (none of ours) still managed to miss the boat! (They were told to take the Cal-Mac to Wemyss and the train back to Glasgow, and that they'd beat us back).  Reaching Dunoon an hour late it took half an hour to shuffle passengers off and on - during which time the tide had gone out so far that the gang-planks had to be re-pitched!  Sailing up the Clyde at low tide, and at full steam, we reached the Science Centre where we were told to move to the seaward side of the vessel to make it list and reduce the steepness of the gang-planks!

    Finally on shore once more, and with hot evening sun, weary, happy travellers wended their way home.

    (Coffee Club Gatherers; centre - one of our retired misisonaries* laughing her head off!)
    (c) Ken Fisher

    We had a great day out, as I'm sure did everyone else (expect maybe the four who thought 3:15 meant 3:30 and missed the boat).  The ship's crew were a great example to us all of how to be gracious, humorous and hardworking.  I dread to think what time they finally got home last night, but they'd certainly earned their pay.

    As we sailed along someone tried to recall the words of The Song of the Clyde, which I found here.  Lots of the images are places we passed yesterday - and the Waverley plays a starring role.  Enjoy.


    * Our party included three Baptist ministers and two former misisonaries (that I know of) so the ship was in good hands (or was it?!)

  • A Bible for Every Outfit?

    Every week (or more sometimes) I get emails from Christian retailers urging me to buy their latest must have Bible.

    The pink one with roses on, the purple one with 'soft touch cover,' the one with all the passages about justice highlighted, the one with Jesus' words in red, the one that's ultra slim, the one with a metal cover... you name it, there's a Bible for it.

    Somehow this feels wrong, a whole pernicious industry growing up to make money out of the Good News... you know, that thing about grace and hope and freedom, oh yes, and it's all for free.

    Do I really need a Bible to match my every preaching outfit?  Then one for hiking, one for reading in coffee shops, one for my coffee table and so on.  NO, NO and thrice NO!

    So here's the thought... maybe instead of buying the latest designer NIV (or whatever) we could give the money to the Bible Society or Open Doors or some other charity that espouses gospel values?