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- Page 7

  • Cheese, Chocolate, Coffee and Nostalgia

    A typical week in Lent in Dibley.  In my kitchen two cauldrons (well, OK, slow cookers) are bubbling away with homemade vegetable broth for the Lent prayers and lunch, which this year is based on material from The Leprosy Mission, to which we will give the money raised.  We'll also eat a lot of cheese - I have folk who will put 4oz of stilton on one cracker and wonder why they have cholesterol problems, hmm!  I am looking forward to it - good fellowship and great fun as well as anticipated to raise over £100 for charity in the six weeks its runs.  I can look back with fondness to the little Methodist church near Warrington whose annual Christian Aid lunches were the inspiration for this.

    Tomorrow is the first Churches Together Lent Meeting on Christ and the Chocolaterie, which I am leading.  After Sunday's great turn out for the film, I am feeling quite optimistic about it.  I might even nip to the Co-op for some Fairtrade cookies for everyone to eat (just in case Andy J is checking!).  It is six years since I used this study at a Baptist church in south Manchester and have to confess that memories of how it went there encouraged me to offer it here.

    Saturday is Girls' Brigade Young Leaders training, and I am assigned 'communication skills.'  Working with each of the three levels (any one who has been out of GB for more than a few years will not realise that the days of Grades 1, 2, 3 and Warrant Officer are no more, replaced by Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced!).  With the youngest group I am doing 'story telling' and have found myself thinking back to those who taught me how to read and tell stories effectively.  Whilst recitation at primary school (it was still around in the late 60's and early 70's) was a chore, at least we learned how to be expressive, and I have fond memories of Sunday School teachers and GB leaders who encouraged me to read in church, to lead devotions and who taught me about voice and facial expression in story telling.  With the two older groups I'm doing stuff on non-verbal communication (for good and ill) and visual aids.  For some reason Girls' Brigade seem to think that people still need to know about flannelgraphs - something I never encountered until someone cleared out a cupboard here in Dibley.  Happy memories of GB training at Grendon Hall in Northamptonshire and Lake House Bexhill sit alongside recalling the girls I've trained in various counties over almost three decades (scary!)

    Sunday we mark the end of Fairtrade Fortnight with a dedicated service at church.  I am hoping that just maybe, after over five years of being a Fairtrade church, we might actually agree to register as one!  Recalling the awful apology for coffee we drank 20 years ago and looking at the amazing range of products available now, remembering Rachel preaching on Fairtrade at college almost a decade ago and even the struggles I had five years ago to convince people to try Fairtrade coffee which they'd 'tried once years ago and it was awful' - what a long way it has come from the Christian fringe to mainstream supermarket fayre.

    In between are the usual round of hospital and care home visits, funerals, the 'Lunch Club' and 'Thing in a Pub' to keep me from idleness.

    On Friday I am due to post at Hopeful Imagination on a book that has shaped my spiritual thinking.  This is interesting, because as I think back I realise it is memories of the books, not what they actually say, that has stayed with me.  And it may be this, among other things, that has prompted me to spot connections running through my life, memories which are uniquely mine, filtered through my 'eyes' and my understanding, whilst simultaneously shaping the person I am.

    Today's prayer meeting will begin with a recording of (part of) the Barber Adagio for Strings, the haunting strains of which always lead me to reflect on my life (maybe because it is used a lot at crems?).  Not sure I'd want 'Cheese, Chocolate and Coffee' on my tombstone (assuming of course that when the time comes I change my mind and get buried rather than burned and freed to the four winds) but it is good to look back in gratitude on the people and places, as well as the books, that have shaped me and, through me, shape others.

  • Angelic Aerobics?

    This is funny!  HT Baptist Bookworm

  • Popcorn at The Parish Church

    A good evening in Dibley!  As a run in to our Churches Together Lent studies using Christ and the Chocolaterie we showed the film at the parish church this evening.  The Anglicans supplied popcorn, lollipops, tea, coffee and soft drinks as well as virtual surround sound and a good sized screen.  I supplied the all important DVD!

    Excellent fun - about forty people present including a few who'd come with their church going spice (spouses) - yes!

    I was relieved when no-one was offended by the odd expletive or the slightly explicit bits.

    Pretty well everyone agreed it was worth doing again with another film to be followed by conversation - or even just for fun.

    A good night all in all.