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  • Don't say the 'Q' word...

    It's my own silly fault - last week I made the mistake of noting that this week was quiet, a largely empty diary and time to fit in some tasks that need a bit more time to do them justice.

    Bad move... the evil dwarves (or whatever they are) that lurk in the recesses of reality heard my use of the Q-word and 'bam' I've just spent I don't know how much time - certainly the equivalent of a full working day - sorting out my new email account which wasn't working due to assorted glitches, some mine, some theirs.

    So, now it is close to lunchtime on Thursday and the first draft of the sermon is only half written.  The one good thing, I guess, is that when I was searching for images for my PowerPoint early this morning, I found one that had a bit of a 'hmm' factor about it... so at least that's been mulling away in the background.

    Maybe it's time for an early lunch break and then some serious sermonising!  Oh, and don't say the 'Q' word!

  • In Which Spoon Whittling Seems Strangely Attractive

    There is a TV ad campaign for a certain internet provider that uses spoon whittling as the occupation of choice for those who don't employ their services.  A few weeks back said ISP, having a few years ago bought the one I've used hassle free for 16 years, told me it was stopping my service and I'd need to transfer to their branded provision.  This seemed easy enough as they assured me I could keep my old email address.

    Then today, with no warning, my email stopped working - I can still get webmail, so can pick up messages via a very creaky old facility, but no way of getting messages onto my computer.

    Once upon a time, the ISP that was bought out (twice) had lovely people at the end of phones in Sheffield to whom I could speak with a very short wait.  Now, with a minimum wait time of thirty minutes to speak to a real person, I opted for the 'live chat' method where a pseudonymous (?) person worked out that they'd muffed my transfer and not set up a new email on their server, and yes, my old email address was now webmail only, they'd misled me (inavertently I assume, let's be gracious here).

    So, now I am in the midst of a four hour wait for them to activate my new email address and it is strangely quiet here!

    For those who have emailed me today on my old clickety-whir address, I will get your messages... and once the new address is active I'll let you know so that you can switch over.

    In the meantime, I might go and whittle a few spoons whilst seeking the last bit of inspriation for my sermon.

  • Nothing is Wasted...

    I've always trusted this to be so.  Today, as I started to research the 'I AM' sayings in the fourth gospel ready for Sunday's service, I dug out my notes from a course I took on this 14 years ago (yikes!).  Two things struck me.  Firstly,  I had remembered more than I realised, so I guess we had a good teacher back then.  Secondly, there's quite a lot of unsubstantiated stuff in the handouts!

    Not at all sure where I might end up going with this on Sunday - but like last week it will lean more to 'didactic' than 'kerygmatic'.  Hopefully it will be of some value to those who hear it, as together we ponder these mysterious sayings that may, or may not, all be based on Old Testament imagery (where the heck is that 'gate' or 'portal' for the sheep??!)

  • Smaller is Good

    From time to time, I hear/read/see ministers bemoaning the level of attendance at their Church Meetings and wondering how to increase this from around 10%, usually 10% of a large number. 

    Having always been in smaller churches, and usually having been in those whose meetings have a regular pattern and a reaosnable sense of purpose, I have never experienced this.  In "Dibley" as membership shrank in absolute terms, attendance actually increased, with people gaining a greater sense of ownership, that their voice mattered.  I think the same is true at the Gathering Place - our total membership is stable, and more than double that of Dibley, and we too have good to excellent attendance at church meetings.

    In some bigger churches, a cycle is perpetuated in which 10% of the people make 100% of the decisions, leaving the Trustees with limited confidence in the quality of the decisions made.  In smaller churches where attendance rarely falls below 50% and can easily be more than 70% even for 'routine' matters, everyone has a greater sense that their voice matters, that their vote (when votes are used) counts, that this affects them... and the Trustees can be confident that decisions are made on a demonstrably sound basis.

    We had a good little meeting today - somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes long- with some good questions asked and an important decision made.  I feel very proud of my church, and very reassured as a sort-of-trustee!

  • Busy

    I think this photo serves as a reasonable illustration of my week - varied colours, designs and textures all within an overall scheme and a clear purpose.

    This week has been pretty relentless one way and another, nothing unexpected (though I did gain at least one extra meeting) just a lot of stuff even before my brain had caught up with the fact that it was back from its holidays.

    Some long days (today by far the shortest, though there is still stuff I ought to do) filled with important, enjoyable and interesting activity.  A bit of a scamper to get a sermon written but things are now just about under control.

    Tomorrow I hope to start stitching the knitted squares together to make a blanket for a small cancer charity... in between times, is the metaphorical knitting and joining of the squares that make up the patchwork of ministerial life.