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  • Liturgy 101

    I am often surprised (and equally appalled) at the lack of basic knowledge that too many ministers have about ordering worship.  Directed by others to this link, I was encouraged and discouraged in equal measure.  Encouraged because it's good stuff.  Discouraged because I've known this since I was a child.  Thankfully I grew up in, and have served in, churches who understand what the work of worship is.  Too many, it seems, do not.

  • What does it say, how do you read it?

    This week, inspired by the JPIT session at the BUGB-BMS Assembly, I've been playing around with optical illusions (they will appear in my submission to our church magazine and I am using some this afternoon with our Friendship group).

    I've had fun, and been challenged to think about what I see, what I perceive, how I influence what others see, and how they influence what I see.

    So, a bit of a spoiler post really.  But what does it say, and how do you read it...? Perception as well as intention are factors here.  Enjoy the image, and be assured you are always welcome to my corner of Blogland!

  • Energising...

    In the last week or so, I've read four novels and a sort-of-theology book.

    I've also begun the 'Couch to 5k' exercise programme in an attempt to learn to run.  Two days in and so far so good, even if it is quite hard work to run for 60 seconds at a time when it's uphill!

    What I'm noticing, overall, is that I feel more energised, that my brain can process ideas more swiftly and (hopefully) more effectively.  I was tempted to describe it as being a bit like 'sleeping beauty' waking up, but perhaps that's a bit too far-fetched.

    All of this is very encouraging, and feels remarkably good after the better part of seven years with a brain like treacle. 

    I am loving reading again - and feel as if I have almost seven years worth of catching up to do, so maybe I will get on to those theology books that have lain unopened in the meantime!

    Exercise-wise, it's just a challenge to do something new, to stretch myself a bit and, if I'm totally honest, to burn the calories more swiftly so that I have more day to do other things!!

    Not everything is perfect by any means - my memory is still deficient and probably always will be now, but I feel much better in and about myself, which is what matters. 

    So, thank you to God, to the people who have borne with me all this time... and so glad that I stuck at it and did as I was told all these years, as it's finally paying off.

  • BUGB-BMS Assembly 2017

    On Friday I boarded a train from Hyndland (centre of the universe) en route to Harrogate for the annual BUGB-BMS Assembly.  I took with me two novels (both of which I had read by the time I got home again), some tattie scones for a friend (in exchange for 'interesting cheese') and a sense of anticipation.

    I was not disappointed.  Indeed, au contraire, I had a great time and returned home encouraged and inspired to carry on being and doing what God has called and equipped me to be and to do.

    One day Assemblies have to be tightly focussed, and gone is the razzamatazz to be replaced by crisp sessions with precise content.  The reintroduction of seminars was a real gift and I thoroughly enjoyed the two I chose to attend (on the upcoming election by Phil Jump and JPIT, and on Baptist identity and mission by David Kerrigan).  Yes, I thought, this is good stuff, honest stuff, handling that faith-deeds interplay humbly, thoughtfully and with integrity.  Baptist Inclusivity has a way to go, but these sessions explored and exemplified what it might look like.

    The In Memoriam and intercessions for the world were utterly beautiful, and skilflly facilitated by Geoff Colmar and the musical worship team.  Such a shame this was a 'minor' session with so few people present.  To remember with gratitude Rev Keith Hobbs, who helped me explore my initial call to ordination, and Rev Steve Mantle, who was a supportive Regional Minister as I explored my call to Scotland, was bitter-sweet, poignant and precious.  Please, please, please put this back in the same slot as the 'handshakes', this is where it most properly belongs.

    For me, the highlight was the 'optional extra' Sunday morning service wioth Communion.  The preacher, David Kerrigan, spoke eloquently, pastorally, challengingly and encouragingly about the cross a place of forgiveness, a place of healing and a place of inclusion.  Uncharacteristically, I was moved to go forward for prayer after the Communion, where God's angel, manifest in a lovely middle-aged black woman, prayed exactly the words I needed to refresh and encourage my soul.  Thank you also to David K, who spoke words to me that I will treasure, and which were so hugely affirming.

    I loved singing in Hindi, Xhosa, Hebrew, Spanish and more.  I loved singing hymns I haven't sung since school-days and hymns that were new.  I loved the variety of prayer (especially the body-centred prayers on Sunday).  I loved the sense of welcome, generosity and down-to-earth rootedness I experienced.

    Was it perfect?  Of course not.

    Did I have a great time?  You betcha!

    Some people complain that it isn't worth travelling such a distance for a one day Assembly.  That is, of course, their privilege and right.  I feel that such a decision risks missing out on things that are life-giving and important.  Next year back to Peterborough (and already an invitiation to stay with friends)... Looking forward to it!


  • Wandering Aramean...

    If this is Wednesday, then it must Glasgow...

    Lots of travelling around, most of it church-related this week.

    Just back from two days in Larbert, where I had the privilege of meeting people just setting out on the path to acredited ministry, and people who have just completed their pre-acrdecited (NAM-equivalent) period.

    Two days in Glasgow to catch up on the jobs that are now urgent

    Then to Harrogate for the BUGB-BMS Assembly, catching up with friends, listening, learning, reflecting

    Then my monthly day-trip to Irthlingborough

    I relish the diversity and cherish the opportunities; at the same time I know I need to pace myself in all this frenetic busy-ness.