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  • Count Down to Sabbatical - Seven

    Very odd knowing that after this week I will not cross the threshold of the Gathering Place (barring a planned wedding and any major pastoral crises) for three months after this week.  Even during my sick leave two years ago I came to church more Sundays than not, so the thought of not being here is incredibly odd.

    So, with one week to go, it is the final tidying up exercises, administratively, pastorally and practically.  Today is 'blitz the vestry day' - much needed as the remnants of Christmas and Easter, and assorted other events from Student Welcome to Flower arranging evening, are scattered around the place, having been abandoned in here for convenience (so, for example, I have the Sunday School nativity costumes!).

    De-cluttering a vestry is, of itself, an act of reflection - the spare copies of litrugies and Bible studies, discarded drafts of sermons or prayers, left over 'cut-outs' from some interactive act of worship, notes from random phone calls. outdated prayer guides and directories...

    So 'Seven' is not just a practical clearing out exercise, it is a reflection on the two and a half years since the last major de-clutter.  

    I had better get on with it then - the vestry won't declutter itself!!!

  • A Decade On...


    Scarily it is now just over a deacde since I emerged from the 'minister machine' or 'vicar school' or whatever name it may, or may not, have been known by (at least it wasn't the "evan-jelly-mould" a name given to another Baptist college).

    This book plate is pasted in to the front of the Bible I use most Sundays when preaching, a leather bound, gilt edged, NIV-inclusive language edition.  This Bible is held together with selloptape (other brands are available) having been dropped more than a few times.  The gilt is rubbed away ion many places, pages a creased and some are a bit ruckled (sp?) having come into contact with water somewhere along the line.

    I have a feeling that I am bit like my Bible - somewhat battered as a result of ten years in ministry, the shiny edges rubbed away with use, wrinkles, crinkles and lots of sellotape (other brands...) holding me together.  A lot of my understandings have changed along the way but at the core I am still the girl whom God called, unequivocally, to follow this path.

    Tomorrow is my last preach before my sabbatical starts (one more working Sunday but I'm not preaching) and I look forward to a time of smoothing out, re-gilding, re-taping, re-binding, re-freshing ready for another season of disicpleship and service.

    Thank you, God, for the past decade, for all it has shown me and taught me, for the countless privileges it has brought me, and the blessings I have received.

    Help me, please, to entrust myslef afresh to your guiding, transforming, challenging, so that I may walk in to the future, step by step, following Jesus


  • Make a Difference

    One of the unexpected bonuses of my protracted jounreys in the last week or two has been the opportuity to listen to more music on my MP3 player... I am lazy, I tend to switch it on and let it run through in its own order and (because it is a very cheap one it has no 'shuffle') tend to hear the same peices over and over again.

    The longer jounrney times meant I heard, for the first in ages, this by Paul Filed, and heard it almost anew... his songs always make me think.  Apologies if the language bothers you, but it has a good message...



    I don't wanna buy Jesus on a corporate CD

    I'm not looking for a lifestyle based on some kind of holy MTV

    And I don't want a new experience to take me deeper into myself

    I want faith that's going to make me

    Some good to someone else.


    It's got to make a difference from the cradle to the grave

    To the diamonds and the dirt we dig up along the way

    It's got to make a difference to our short attention span

    If a cross can be a crown and God can be a man.


    I don't wanna come to worship for a Sunday morning shine

    Just a pill you take for holiness

    Wash it down with bread and wine

    I won't kneel before an altar built on riches and success

    I want love to touch my heart, nothing more and nothing less


    It's got to make a difference…


    It's got to make a difference in this world of our mistakes

    To the lies that we won't swallow and the crap that we don't take

    It's got to make a difference, if we really understand

    It completely changes everything if God can be a man


    Every man and woman equal, let compassion draw the line

    From Baghdad into the White House, from Israel to Palestine

    It's got to make a difference from the bottom to the top

    Let the hope begun in Jesus be a passion we can't stop


    For the outcast and the broken abd the hungry and the poor

    For the Zealots and the Terrorists, who aree beating on our door

    Beyond the streets of Babylon let's find a prayer to pray

    To go beyond religion and let love have her way


    It's got to make a difference

    It's got to make a difference


    Beyond the streets of Babylon let's find a way to pray

    To go beyond religion, and let God's love have her way


    Beyond the streets of Babylon let's find a way to pray

    To go beyond religion, and let  love have her way



    Paul Field © Paul Field

  • Perspective

    Yesterday news reached me (via social networking) that a 'boy' in my year at school had died, by the sound of things unexpectedly, a couple of weeks back, and that another 'boy', who I knew better as we'd done A level sciences together, had had a fairly major stroke. 

    In the afternoon I went to visit a woman of roughly my own age who has advancing MND and now uses an iris controlled keyboard emulator to 'speak'.  She had prepared a welcome message for us, was genuinely interested in our news, smiled and laughed at the funny bits, and ensured that we had a pleasant time.  No one likes to be called 'inspirational' but she is.

    It lends a lot of perspective - were any needed - not just on the fragility of life but also the privilege of living in the twenty-first century in a wealthy western democracy where health care is free at the point of delivery.


    RIP D

    Hope you recover well, R

    God bless you and keep you, K

  • Sermon Block

    I have just finished writing a sermon for Sunday.  In the end it flowed reasonably well (I think) but it was hard work in the making, and the majority of yesterday's early draft was ditched.

    I am not entirely sure whether there is a relationship (causal or otherwise) between time constraints and difficulty getting sermons to coalesce, or if it just feels that way, but certainly not sitting down to start work until yesterday left me feeling pressured and with little time to mull over or listen for the prompting of God.

    Way back when, someone told me I wouldn't be able to produce a sermon every week - the greater part of fifteen years has proved him wrong, but sometimes only by the skin of my teeth (well by Friday night anyway!). 

    No-one ever tells you about sermon block when you are training, or about the times when you lead worship from a place of fatigue, exhaustion, frustration or confusion.  Somehow we preacher types collude with the myth that sermons arrive well crafted, engaging and relevant, and so we feel bad when they need to be wrestled into submission or extracted from an unyielding stone.  I can still say, hand on heart, I have never resorted to "desperate preacher" and very rarely read other sermons online, but sometimes the void between my ears feels enormous - the size of the universe probably.  At the very back of my mind if the fear that one day I will fail to deliver, that one day I will have to resort to a small group discussion... but should that day come, I am sure that somehow God will make it meaningful, and maybe teach me something along the way.

    I still need to write prayers for Sunday, still have to attend to the All Age bit, but I do feel I have a bit of control now on where it's all headed!!