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- Page 5

  • A wandering, travelling race...

    ... called Dibley BC.

    So, yesterday's church meeting looked at upcoming services/events and a change to service times beginning in January. For a church that, five years ago, expected 10:30 to 11:30 morning and 6 - 7 evening exactly with no loitering and no variation to routine we must have undergone something of a Copernican revolution to where we are now!

    Here's the autumn programme....

    7 Sept - joint service at D+1

    14 Sept - cluster service and tea at D+2

    21 Sept - own service, probably at Dibley Meths as school not available

    28 Sept - B2C service at school, with tea

    5 Oct - Harvest service, collection of non-perishables for homeless and women's refuge

    12 Oct - Songs of praise in sheltered housing complex and tea

    19 Oct - One World Week at D-2 Anglicans (on the basis south needs to be minus if north is plus!)

    26 Oct - Baptismal service and tea at D+2

    2 Nov - joint service at D+1

    9 Nov - Remembrance service at school

    After that it settles down for a few weeks!!

    From January we begin a trial of a new approach where we'll meet at 10a.m. on Sundays 1 and 2 and 3 p.m. on Sundays 3 and 4.  This is an attempt to balance the needs of the more  frail, elderly folk (for whom afternoons are better) with those of the middle-aged folk for whom Sunday is their day for family.  We'll see how it goes!  Oh, Sunday 5, when it occurs will be 10 a.m. though in a flippant moment we did wonder if we could all take the day off...!

    So every Sunday, we're on our way, for we're a wandering, flexible church here at DBC!


  • Enough Already!

    Tonight was our bi-monthly Church Meeting.  It was fine: good-natured, the service time review went through virtually on the nod, we decided what to do for harvest which is being squeezed in on 5th October (apparently it's correct Sunday!) and all was hunky dory.

    One of the big parts of our meetings is always pastoral news, it gets long and laborious, sometimes being a list of sniffles and broken finger nails.  At the moment it is very important; almost everyone has some tough challenges to face, lots of serious illness, several bereavements, complex family problems and so on.  We spent quite a bit of time sharing and then had a time of prayer when each person was asked to pray for the person on their left, then their right (we sit in a horseshoe), then one of those we'd mentioned (which extended to friends and neighbours).  At the end of the meeting we had ten minutes open prayer on 'any topic people felt they wished to pray for' which included those in the USA commemorating 9/11.  This is when I love my people - they understand something of the import of prayer for others.

    Got home and within ten minutes the phone rang - one of my members to let me know that my predecessor but 4 (I think!) a minister still in pastoral ministry had had a heart attack and died this morning.  He had certainly been a great encourager to some of my folk, a regular decent guy who enjoyed a pint and a chat, and was now serving a church 0.5 miles from Heathrow airport.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his widow and his church tonight.

    But this is getting a little too often for my already fragile congregation, so, if you're listening God - Enough Already!

  • On categories for grading work...

    Today I had my research panel meeting at Manchester, which went fine and was helpful.  I also got my feedback on last year's work - which ranged from one sentence comments to short essays.  What always amuses and bemuses me though, is not the comments, or the variation in grades awarded by different markers, but the set of headings adopted by the university to 'grade' work.  These are:

    • Excellently met
    • Fully met
    • Partially Met
    • Inadequately met

    At risk of mild pedantry here, surely 'fully met' is a 'met' as one can get?  Indeed, it could be argued that the category could be called 'met' with 'excellently met' replaced by 'exceeded.'

    In my undergrad, days the categories used were

    • Excellent
    • Good
    • Fair
    • Poor

    I think that these categories did the same job as the first set, but avoided adjectival nonsense.

    Still, whatever set of headings they choose to use, the most important word of the whole process was 'Yes' - permission to progress to the next year's work.  Which is as well really, as the university has already relieved me of £1.6k for the privilege!

  • Baptism Questions

    I have just been looking through Patterns and Prayers and Gathering for Worship at the questions that are suggested for Baptismal candidates -and they all seem different from what I recall being asked!  As I have a tape recording of the service where I was done I can easily check out my recollection.

    As I recall it, the three questions I was asked were along the lines of

    • Do you believe in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit?
    • Do you accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord?
    • Is it of your own free choice that you come to Baptism?

    The last of these is, in my experience widely used - and I intend to use it with our candidate - but not in any of the liturgies I've seen, many of which look remarkably as if they were lifted from BCP or RCIA.

    So, what do others ask of their candidates?

    Does everyone still have 'greeters' with towels?

    Do people still give their testimonies?

    Do candidates still get to choose a hymn?

    Is now normal for ministers to have a co-dunker with them (an idea I quite like) and how is that person selected?

    So many things they don't teach you at college!!!


    I am hoping we can get this service done on 5th October, for one totally unspiritual reason - it is the 11th anniversary of my own dunking, hot on the heels of which came my sense of call to ordained ministry.  I probably ought to warn my 70-something of this, but at least the BU would see her as too old for ordination!!

  • Normal Services...

    This morning I have sat down with a sheet of paper to try to plan out a preaching scheme for the autumn.  You all know the joke: tell God your plans and s/he laughs.  Well, our preaching plan is certainly funny, but in a good way.  It looks like we will be very busy with 'specials', so much so that I can't see how we will fit in a harvest festival - unless it's in December!

    In September we have an invitation service (Back to Church Sunday done Dibley style).  In October we will (hopefully) have a Baptismal service one week, go to some sheltered housing the next and to the Anglicans for a One World Week service the next.  In November there is a week at D+1, then Remembrance before we start to think about Advent.  December includes carols in the pub, then our big annual ecumenical outreach event, a Christingle, a home-based evening communion and a united Christmas Day service.  On top of that I already have a guest preach at a church whose secretary used to work for me which will combine GB/BB enrolment (some churches do still do that, it seems) and an infant blessing and another at a small church in Leicestershire who insist on inviting speakers from far away when it is dark, wet and foggy!  Lastly, somewhere in all this I still have to fit in two 'off' Sundays - hmm.

    Normal services might be resumed in January - by which time our service time review will mean that normal is not what is is now!

    Oh, and in case you wonder, I think I can see a hint of some themes for preaching from the Lectionary, as a lot of superb Matthean parables are coming up and some of the readings for 9 November are very appropriate for my context.