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  • The Book of Numbers

    I used to find the book of Numbers boring until the day I actually sat down and read it.  Today I have been reviewing the inventory of church stuff sorted in various garages, spare rooms and sheds so that I can hand it over to the "working group on chucking stuff away."

    I have learned a profound lesson in the last week or so about how to travel with people in the wilderness.  When we closed the building people wanted to keep everything 'for when we get a new place.'  Doing my best impression of a kind minister, I let them keep whatever they were willing to store (and put a whole load in the manse).  Last week one of the 'storers' asked at the church meeting if we could review and then get rid of some of this stuff that has not been used in four years plus, and/or is actually very shabby.  So now the working group on chucking stuff away will review the inventory and bring recommendations to the church meeting.  And I have learned the power of waiting.

    Forty years in the wilderness was a necessary experience for the Israelites to adjust their thinking and living in the light of their new found freedom.  Four years is as nothing by comparison, but it has been necessary for us to understand what our own new status means for us.

    So my list of numbers of green hymnbooks, red hymnbooks, offertory bowls (why did we ever need 13 for goodness sake?!) chairs, table cloths, pencil sharpeners and the like forms part of our own Book of Numbers.  Not merely an inventory of what we own, but an expression of who we are and where our thinking and growing has taken us.  The revised eidtion will be far shorter I am sure, but it will be owned by the community, and that's what matters.

  • HMF Visiting

    So, BUGB has altered the title, but the role is largely the same.  The "Home Mission Fund" grant visit is a big thing for small churches, and one of the hats I currently wear is as HMF visitor for a small church.  This morning I am reading their paperwork and trying to formulate questions to ask them when we meet in a little over a week's time.

    It is always intriguing to see what isn't in the reports as well as what is, what the church chooses to explain and what it assumes you already know.  The little church I visit is doing some great stuff in its local community and its minister is working very hard and very creatively.  Yet there are tough questions we need to ask because this about spending other people's money in a way that best serves the needs of the Kingdom.

    I claim that I take the 'bad cop' role and ask the tough questions leaving my colleague (we always take a church member as an equal partner in this) to play good cop.  But I always endeavour to balance the tough questions with some of our own vulnerability as another little church (... I notice x seems to be the case, it would be so for us too, can you tell me more about it... that kind of thing).

    HMF Grants - or BUGB Mission Grants as the rose is now known - are a really good thing but there is also a real challenge to employ scant resources responsibly.  So it is a privilege to take part in this, but also it behoves me to ask the tough questions about giving, about commitment, about risk taking, abut mission.  I am looking forward to meeting the good folk at 'Oriental Drip' Baptist Church and hearing their news and working together to discern how financial support can be best employed.

  • Connections?

    This weekend I saw a street sign that reminded me of this place:

    torness-nuclear-power-station.jpgIt is an unusal power station - here are no above ground cables or pylons within (I think) two miles, and it was designed to nearly-but-not-quite blend into the sky when seen from a distance (I think they architect picked the wrong day to check the colour palette!)

    I have a soft spot for this place, not least as I put a lot of energy and enthusiasm into ensuring its safe operation over almost a decade.  Not everyone's chosen means of making electricity I know, and questions should go on being asked, but it's a precious place for me.

    Happy memories!

  • Field of vision

    So, I went to the opticians this morning, bright and early, for my annual eye test.  Becuase I have a hereditary likelihood of developing glaucoma this includes the dreaded puff of air and field vision tests.  Whilst the latter are decidely uncomfortable, it is the latter which proved problematic today.  For some inexplicable reason the equipment used does not allow you to wear your glasses nor does it account for my fairly severe myopia; as a result I literally could some some of the 'squiggles' crossing the screen not becuase my eyes are bad but becuase they were too faint.  Evidently there is machine that does account for prescription, but you have to book an appointment separately for that, so I have to go back.

    Seems a tad daft to me to give you a test you can't pass because you can't see it in the first place but there you go.

    Makes me wonder what other areas of (metaphorical) myopia I have that impact my field of vision...

  • Compliments

    At the end of today's service someone said to me 'I enjoyed that: I could hear every word and I could understand what you were saying.'  Given my ongoing reflections on communication and accessibility I took that as a great compliment.