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  • Tempus Fugit...

    This week it is eleven years since I arrived in Glasgow.  The weather then was absoltuely glorious, and there followed a truly beautiful October.  Today it is dreich - grey, damp and cold, yet it is still beautiful in its way.

    By dint of various quirks, that also means it is 32 years (eek!) since I moved to Warrington, where I also lived for eleven years, and 21 since my house there finally sold, after I moved to Manchester.

    So, I have now reached the stage where Glasgow is the place-name I have lived longest, but The Gathering Place not yet the place I have worked/served longest, that has a few months to go.

    Roughly, then, I have spent 20% of my life in Northamptonshire (two dsitinct places, totalling about 12 years), 20% in Warrington, 20% in Glasgow and 40% scattered between London, Buckinghamshire, Derby, Manchester and Leicestershire.

    Time certainly flies by.  Today I am very grateful to be where I am, and to be doing what I am doing.

  • Today I awake, and God is before me...

    This morning I awoke, wide awake, very early.  So, having fed the kitties, I donned my walking shoes and headed off to greet the dawn.  And it did not disappoint! Street walking until it was light and then riverside home... and what stunning views over the city.

    As the hymn puts it...

    Today I awake and God is before me.

    At night, as I dreamt, he summoned the day;

    for God never sleeps but patterns the morning

    with slithers of gold or glory in grey.

    John Bell & Graham Maule (c) WGRG

  • The Rev I M Amused...

    Every Saturday evening, I transform my office into 'church' by hanging up various pieces of fabric, and then setting up a focus.  I enjoy doing this, it makes the space feel different and helps me get into the 'zone.' But it also causes me to chuckle - no bad thing.  You see, I always wonder if it looks like a throw back to 'Stars in Sunday' or even Ricky Fullton's 'Rev I M Jolley'.

    Making me smile, and maybe making others smile, is a good thing.

    Enabling me, and maybe others,  to have a greater sense of 'church', as in being more consciously aware of being in God's presence, is even better.

  • My Lockdown Words...

    This morning I had my regular meeting (virtual of course) with my Pastoral Supervisor, as part of which we completed my annual CMD review as required by the BUS as well as some more general reflection.  One of the things I came away with was a desire to note down words (or phrases) that have emerged as important for me during lockdown.

    So here's where I've got to!

    • Authenticity - being real, not always easy, especially when you have a public role, and also doing my best to enable/empower other people to be real.
    • Creativity - we have all had to be creative, adapting to new virtual platforms for services, and finding new ways to connect with each other.  Re-engaging with aspects of my own creativity.
    • Intentionality - the need to not so much to be organised (though it helps) but to be meaningful in what I do.
    • Positivity - there is so much that seems negative, destructive and death-dealing, so I have chosen to focus on positives.  For sure, sometimes I get fed up, annoyed even angry, but I try avoid being drawn into spirals of negativity and intentionally seek out positives, however small or trivial.
    • Immediacy - being present in the moment, allowing myself to feel what I feel, not parking it for future, rational reflection! This helps avoid the positivity becoming forced or fake.
    • Noticing - more than just being aware of what's around me, but spending time to savour it... I must have taken thousands of photos over the last six months, capturing beauty and humour, natural and humanly created.
    • Slowing down - I can't find one word to encapsulate this, but it's very much tied up with immediacy, intentionality and noticing.  It's not so much that I race through life and so miss out on living, as about making more of the wonder, beauty and even 'being' of life.  Pausing to take photos, sitting and watching the world go by... And also not driving myself to achieve, which is, at times, a very real challenge.

    I wonder what words or phrases, themes or ideas are emerging for others?

  • 400,000 Steps and 100,000 More...

    Events conspired to thwart Plan A for fundraising in gratitude for being ten years on from my cancer diagnosis, so instead, I signed up to walk 400,000 steps during October for the charity Breast Cancer Now.  Once we get there, I will post a link, but not yet.
    The challenge will mean walking on average about two hours a day every day of October, so it's a good challenge to fit in around work and shortening days.
    It struck me there are many ways of looking at this...
    Firstly, if, as the www suggests, a mile is roughly 2000 steps then this is roughly 200 miles or about 320 km, the challenge could be expressed as something like...
    Thirty 10k events
    Ten Pink Ribbon Walks
    Eight marathons
    Or, in terms of trails I have walked in the past...
    Once across the Trans Pennine Trail, Liverpool to Hull
    A little over the length of Offa's Dyke
    Twice along the West Highland Way
    Two and a half times along Hadrian's Wall
    Almost four times along the St Magnus Way
    It it could also be expressed in other units...
    Every year around 55,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer - so since my diagnosis in 2010, that's around half a million, or a large UK city. That it is less than one step per person diagnosed in that time (indeed, I am intending on walking an additional 100,00 steps in the second half of September to bring my total up to half a million).
    Over the last decade, roughly forty women I have known personally have died of breast cancer... so that is a mere 10 thousand steps, or half a mile, for each one of them. So once we get into October, for every ten thousand steps I walk, I will recall and honour the name of one of these women.
    If you are able to, and would like to, donate, when the time comes, that's great. But more importantly, do the checks, take the screening and report any concerns.