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  • HMF prayers from the Church of No Flamin' Option

    Today was our HMF fundraiser during which I led two lots of prayers.  I used extracts from this year's DVD along with two prayers from Crumbs of Hope by Clare McBeath and Tim Presswood.

    The first extract - 'United in Mission,' the first of the 'extras' on the DVD - uses a montage of clips from past HMF videos including that wonderful moment when Ida said to David Coffey, in response to a question about how they'd coped over the years, 'we'd no flamin' option.'  If you don't (didn't, she died last year) know Ida, (or David Coffey who's just in the left hand side of the shot), she's the white haired lady with the lovely smile, who laughs.  The church at the close, behind the wire fence, is Mersey Street Tabernacle - Ida's church.

    Here are the prayers, in case you don't have access to Clare's and Tim's book and would like something that makes the connections ...

    Prayers from a Home Mission Church


    Everlasting One

    Come, let us gather before the faithful God

    The everlasting one who has travelled with her people

    Across the bounds of time and place

    Through birth, growth, and death

    Weaving in and out of the joy and pain of our lives.


    Come, let us gather before the faithful God

    The everlasting one who calls us to share our journey

    Through the decades, wherever we find ourselves

    From our beginning to our departing

    As we weave the joy and pains of our lives together. 


    Keep us Keeping On

    Faithful God We thank you that you don’t give up on us

    Keep us keeping on  

    Give us patience not to give up on you

    Keep us keeping on  

    When the time ahead is uncertain

    Keep us keeping on  

    When progress seems slow or non-existent

    Keep us keeping on  

    When we are weary of working within the system

    Keep us keeping on  

    When the challenges of our world seem too great

    Keep us keeping on  

    When the burden of caring gets us down

    Keep us keeping on  

    When we are tired and worn out

    Hold us in your love


    Prayers copyright Clare McBeath and Tim Presswood/Inspire publishing 



    PS If you have a problem with feminine language for God, you could use 'God's people' since God is neither male nor female.


    PPS We raised £125 for HMF, so all in all it was a worthwhile event

  • Fire Risk Assessment

    7c2b22661555f7903ea3d3db77ddf669.jpgOn Tuesday someone made a B_I_G mistake.  They told me I needed to carry out a 'fire risk assessment' for Girls' Brigade.  This is not a good thing to say to a former professional risk assesser because it meant I asked hard questions they couldn't answer, and then they asked what I meant by a 'designated assembly point' and the blue signage (as shown left) that ought to be in place advising fire action. Hmm.

    For any Baptists, the BUC guideline on Health and Safety, C.7 is helpful and has some useful websites to visit.  I'm sure other denominations have an equivalent.

    I also found a nice one page tick-box thing here which basically does the job for you.  Unless you are trained and know the HSE stuff, don't try getting all clever (and my professioanl opinion of some of the schools' risk assessment stuff is unprintable).  Also make sure you know the difference between a 'risk' and a 'hazard' and between a 'risk assessment' and an 'evacuation plan' or 'emergnecy plan.'  Otherwise I get unpastorally irritable!

    Alternatively, in exchange for some large quantities of fairtrade chocolate I can come and do it for you ...!


    Oh, and if you don't know, a fire assembly point sign, which should be located well clear of premises and with enough space to safely gather all your people, looks like this: -

    0143b948f7a1a1dceda32b3ab1167644.jpgThat said, I've never yet seen one at a church.

  • OT Commentaries?

    I am contemplating an autumn sermon series on Habakkuk on the basis I do not know this book at all and recently I have heard several people quote from it - including one person who felt the need, in their prayers, to remind God what Habakkuk said.  Anyway, as I don't know the book, I also don't have any commentaries on it, though I do have one or two more generally on the 'minor prophets' and a few of the ubiquitous whole Bible in a thousand pages variety.

    Anyone help?

  • A Small Island... A World of Difference

    Watching the news on TV last night was utterly demoralising.  On this 'small island' so much tragedy, largely eclipsed by the departure of one powerful man and the installation of another.  More interest in creating a (syndicated?  It was identical on BBC and ITV) montage of images accompanied by the 'bittersweet symphony of life' than the hearses carrying the coffins of young men, or the family whose uninsured home has been destroyed by the floods, or the mother of yet another teenage boy stabbed to death simply for looking at someone.

    As I mowed the lawn ready for Saturday's HMF coffee day, I was keenly aware that only an hour or so's drive away were people trapped by floods and others mourning tragedy, and pondered what a bewildering land this is.  I am truly puzzled by the idea of Mr Blair becoming a 'peace envoy' and I fail to see the need for the Diana concert on Saturday (but then as a friend told me recently, I'm an old cynic).  If we could put a fraction of the energy into really addressing issues that affect the lives of 'little people' - from flood defences, to affordable insurance, to knife and gun crime, to low self-esteem... - then we might have something to celebrate and commemorate with photo-montages and concerts.   And that's just on this small island.

  • Baptist Times, Congregational History ... and Doctoral Research

    Today's BT contains a little article about Bevin Boys and finds our very own Baptist Bevin-boy and former BUGB General Secretary, the Revd Bernard Green.  He worked, so the BT says in the "South Leicestershire Colliery in Coalville."  This would not be a good thing to say to people round here!  Coalville is not in South Leicestershire, check a map!  South was, so I am told by locals, the name given to the area, now a small village, some 2-3 miles from Coalville.  You call such places Coalville at your peril - I have the scars to prove it!  People here simply talk of 'South Colliery.'

    If Revd Green, then a 19 year-old lad, worked in South, then one of his nearest Baptist churhces, at merely mile or so away, was Dibley.  Did he worship here?  I don't know.  Maybe he worshipped at the one a couple of miles in another direction.  Do my people know?  Again, I don't, yet, know, but I suspect not.  Is it judged relevant?  I doubt it.

    I'm not really questioning whether or not we ought to know the answers to this (I think we probably should know if he worshipped in our congregation) or even if his presence was relevant (he wasn't the only Baptist Bevin-boy, plenty of my congregation, and others, were), I am just amused that the BT, in its inimitable way, and with a very different agenda from local congregational history, reports this.

    Our Congregational History offers the following on WWII:

    "... in 1938 the Rev C W Gregory came from Shore, but resigned three eyars later. The Rev C Walter Rose BA commenced his ministry in June 1942, during World War II, with its terrible upheavals and strain, leaving an aftermath of problems for Church and Nation.  Our own locality was more fortunate than many, and the Church at [Dibley] sustained its life with considerable vigour."


    I assume it was WWII, not Rev Rose's ministry, which left the aftermath...!  The "considerbale vigour" was matched by a reduction in membership of more than 30, so I now know how to descirbe my own ministry better.  And as for a whole World War summarised in three sentences, even I couldn't manage that!


    Also in this week's BT it says that Gildersome Baptist Church in Yorkshire was rebuilt in 2000 - not when I went there in 2003 it wasn't!!!  It has been refurbished, but that's not the same thing at all. 

    Can I really give any credence to anything I read?!  And what does all this mean for my research.  Hmm.