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  • Rhyme and Reason?

    This afternoon I have been invited to act as a judge for Poetry Slam under the banner of "Faith and Unbelief".  My credentials are, I assume, being a minister type person and quite liking poetry.  I do feel a bit of a fraud though... last year someone announced they had written a sonnet, and specifically such-and-such a type of sonnet... all I knew was that sonnets had 14 lines.  Likewise I know that a Haiku is three lines of 5, 7, 5 syllables, but not a lot else. Grade A for 'O' level English literature back in 1979 is a pretty poor qualification for this, I fear!

    But what strikes me is that, whilst I remember almost nothing of their content, I still recall the themes and 'feel' of the pair of poems we awarded the prize to last year.  A reflection on standing in a cliff top chapel and another on the birth of a first child.

    I think that has to be my basis for judging... does the poem move in such a way that I will remember why I liked it in a year's time?

    I will enjoy being there; I will still feel a fraud; I look forward to hearing people's work.

  • A Friday Chuckle....

    Well it made me smile, anyway.

    I'm not at church this Sunday so it will be very careful exegesis that underpins the sermon (especially as it's someone whose research area is something like philosophical hermeneutics, whatever that is!!).

  • Be careful what you wish for...

    Twelve years ago I left college to start ministry.  I still remember my tutor asking, at the start of that final year, what sort of church context I was sensing might be my call.  I was clear on two things: not sub-urban and no building projects.  His response was, 'be careful what you wish for'

    So I got rural and an (unexpected) building project.  Then I got urban and an (ongoing) building project.

    Twelve years of building projects which have loomed large in the background of twelve years of, mostly, positive and productive ministry.

    And of course it isn't just me affected by this - it has, and continues to be, a factor in the lives of each congregation.  Endless hours of volunteer energy devoted to plans and architects and solicitors and developers and funders and estate agents and OSCR/Charities Commission/BU Corporation and insurers.  Lots of meetings, lots of praying, lots of heart-searching, lots of letters, emails and phone calls...

    So I'm just pausing for a moment to say 'thank you' to those who have served, and still serve, on the relevant committees of each of these churches.  It's not a glamorous task, and it's one that brings with it a huge emotional investment, trying to carry the hopes and dreams, disappointments and frustrations of a whole community.  And also to those who have served, and do serve as Charity Trustees, carrying the huge legal responsibility of enacting the will of the Church Meeting.

    Assuming I am able to work until my 'normal' pensionable age, I have around 15 years of ministry left... so, if I include the four years I was at college, roughly as long to go as I've already done.  I hope all of that won't be taken up with building projects, but given my track record and God's weird sense of humour, it quite possibly will!

  • "A Strange Time"

    My copy of this arrived today - encouraging and refreshing to find another minister speaking honestly and openly about living with cancer.  A very different story from mine, and a very different perspective on life after death, but a good read and a great legacy from a man whose life was characterised by thoughtfulness and integrity.

  • Well, I'm Excited...

    My first batch of craft materials for summer worship has arrived :-)