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  • Planning for Christmas.... Already!

    This week it seems that Christian Aid held a meeting to work on their 2012 Christmas material, a meeting that was disrupted by adverse weather conditions which prevented people from reaching Scotland, where it was being held.  Like the greeting card designers and confectionery makers, we are already thinking at least one, if not more, festivals ahead.

    Among my post this week was a little book, just published, called Messy Nativity by Jane Leadbetter which includes three different, but potentially integrated, activities for Advent and Christmas.  Whilst I lament the 'branding' of Messy Church, which has the potential to reduce to a formula that which many have done for decades, the resources it is producing offer some new and creative outreach ideas.

    I am really taken with the knitted sheep trail idea, whereby you persuade local shops to host a hand-knitted sheep, which they can name, and then be part of a 'sheep trail' aimed at families who visit the shops to collect the names of all the sheep (good increase in footfall for participating shops) and maybe offer a prize for the 'grand draw' of completed trail sheets which coincides with the event to be held at church (e.g. crib service, christingle, etc.).

    Other ideas are the 'messy nativity set journey' and the 'messy street nativity' (the latter not too disimilar from 'Get In The Picture').

    Gatherers beware... I am enthused by these ideas, not least as we are so near to 'Sheepfold Street', whose shops attract loads of people during Advent... a sheep trail, getting in the picture, free gift wrapping and a few other ideas are all bubbling away in my mind!

  • BUGB Restructuring

    Today Baptist Times reports the agreement of Council to some significant restructuring of BUGB.  The decisions have been made carefully and prayerfully and the implications will be determined over many, many years into the future.  Reading the report is only one level of the story though.  Many people will lose their jobs.  One major challenge for all of us in Baptist churches affiliated to this union (or any other union or convention) is to play our part in making the process as God-honouring as possible.

    Behind the story are real people, with real lives and real feelings.  Some will be sad.  Some will be angry.  Some will feel guilty.  Some will feel relieved.  Some will be various combinations of these and other emotions.  Baptist House won't be a comfortable place to be in the coming months; people will work hard to keep the show on the road knowing that their own futures are uncertain.  It behoves us to pray for everyone who works there and to generous and gracious in our dealings with those with whom we have contact.

     

    Mysterious God,

    We thank you for the people called Baptist

    And specifically for those who covenasnt together within the BUGB

     

    In this time of pruning

    Comfort those who are sad

    Shelter those who who are afraid

    Be a safe space for those who need to vent rage

     

    In the tasks of restructuring

    Grant wisdom to decision makers

    Compassion to line managers

    And hope to those who see no way forward

     

    Hear our prayers...

    ... and show us how we may live the answers

    AMEN

     

  • Beside the Seaside

    Yesterday I was at the seaside with our Coffee Club folks.  It rained quite a lot, but most still had a walk along the front.

    Here are some hints of what else we got up to...

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