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  • Having a Blast

    This afternoon was simply brilliant!  It was out third annual Freshers' tea and it was the best yet.  I'm sure it helped that it was a dry day and that our returning students all came and helped run it.  I'm sure it helped that a few overseas students had already found us and brought friends.  And I'm sure it helped that we made extensive use of social networking (Facebook, Twitter) as well as leaflets, posters, church website.  A big 'thank you' to BUS who posted it on their Facebook page.

    I think I counted 22 new students, as well as six returners, so it was a wonderful atmosphere.  The wolfed down my cakes, and the vegan ones, and the pancakes and tea bread.  They decorated cup cakes to take home.  They were blown away with the goody bags of silly gifts.  The grown-ups chomped the gorgeous sandwiches.

    At the end of a week that has not been so easy, it was just wonderful.  Gales of laughter.  Several different languages too, as we had people from... Kenya, China, Italy, Sweden, Catalonia (Spain), China... fan-tas-tic!

    Photos... one table with its 'afternoon tea' stand; my namesake with a group of Catalonian students; a view from 'on high'; some of the cakes the students decorated.




  • The Whole of Life

    This week has been rather crazy... and still has three days to go, if I assume Sunday as its end [discuss].  It has had plenty of good moments and plenty of anxious ones too.  It has been ministry in glorious technicolour, if by that we mean anything but grey (however many shades!) monotony.

    My blog.  My rules.  So, OK, it's been pretty stressful one way and another.

    It began with news of one friend being diagnosed with secondary cancer, another with a life limiting disease and a third dying, suddenly, of a heart attack.  The fragility of life and the seeming injustice of 'fate' have been writ pretty large.

    It has continued with my over-developed sense of responsiblity, and unhealthy enneagram mix of 'loyal' and 'perfectionst' meaning I have over-reflected and taken personally things that other people maybe wouldn't.  With a solid proddy work ethic and enough guilt to make a great catholic, I'm on a hiding to nothing!!

    There have been some really good bits - each of the Bible studies went really well, people engaged with the subject matter and we had great discussions.  Coffee Club was as ever good fun and all my many pastoral meetings seemed to go well.

    As I type this, I do have a draft sermon ready for final editing and tweaking, before I bake cupcakes and fill goody bags for the student welcome tea tomorrow.  These are all good.

    Being a minster-type person is a challenge - you simultaneously need the hide of a rhino with the softness of a kitten, strength with vulnerability, determination without domination.  I suspect that sometimes I try too hard, and that's why I end up stressed, stroppy, sleepless... But, I think I'd rather care too much than not enough.

  • Lyfe-Like

    So, today was the second 'launch' of the Big-hearted Lyfe stuff.  I took a very different tack with the group today, added a bit more of Matthew 13 and cross referenced a few other passages.  It was a very different discussion, but just as good as that on Monday.  There were six of us, including two new people, and two others were unable to attend.  We pondered the ambiguity of defining things as 'good' or 'bad' - be that music or food or science or television or whatever.  We set the scary separation parables alongside such verses as 'judge not lest you be judged' and 'mercy triumphs over justice' which was quite helpful, I think.  We then picked up the two middle parables (hidden treasure and pearl of great price) which are largely ignored in the Lyfe guide.  We asked ourselves just what (if anything) would prompt us to give up all we had.

    Of course we finished up with tea and cakes, it's the eleventh commandment.  It all seemed to go well, a happy afternoon to round off a productive and enjoyable day.

    This week has been a bit 'up and down' and I think that's more about my over-sensitivity than anything.  However, it seems to be improving steadily towards an action packed weekend of cupcakes and new students.  Yippee!

  • Productivity Boost!

    OK, so as of yesterday I was running ridiculously late on this week's deliverables and wondering how to get it all done without blowing a gasket.  This morning I sat down, at home, at 7 a.m. and worked through the Bible study for this afternoon (a massive rework from Monday) and now also have half a sermon, so am taking five for a cuppa.  Feels good.  In case anyone wonders, I am working from home as I have a meeting near home this morning - daft to work to and from church for that.

    Back in the day, when I had a 'real job' I used to start work at 7a.m. most days, which gave me a clear hour before most of my colleagues arrived in which I could get loads done.  Moving into full time ministry rather stymied that model of working - if I started at 07:00 I was often still working at 22:00 by the time I had evening meetings... over time my working patterns have changed, and in the last couple of years I have reduced my working week considerably (so it's now nearer the EU working hours directive, if that applied, which it doesn't) , and manage to keep 'stupid' length days down to one or two a week at most.

    Well, better continue the productiivty a little longer, as I have a busy day ahead of me with a few 'ministry as interruptions' no doubt.

  • The Interruptions Are The Ministry

    So it is Wednesday evening and I have not one word written for Sunday.  This is bad - if only in my book - as the rest of the week is full of good things to be done.  I will have to work harder and smarter for the rest of the week.  But, it's not the end of the world, because I have been doing ministry in other forms instead.  Someone once said, the interruptions are the ministry.  I do know that, if push came to shove, I could write a passable sermon in a couple of hours.  It's just the way I like to work... my perfectionist streak can be a right pain sometimes.  The reality is the rest of the stuff that has to be done is, inevitably, lived preaching, incarnated sermon writing... I am due to preach on James 3 and 'repsonsible speech in a digital age' or owrds to that effect.  Suffice to say I have had a heightened awareness of every word I've uttered or typed this week!