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  • From the old I travel to the new...

    Yesterday I had a lovely new washing machine installed at the manse, A+++ rated, it's very eco-friendly, has a massive load size and, being free standing rather than integrated can be properly aired, avoiding pong and mould!

    Today it was the arrival of a gleaming new induction hob and a double oven, both much 'greener' than what they are replacing.  Still a little way to go to complete the refurb of the kitchen (mostly tidying up of facias etc.) but definitely moving forward.

    I'm really looking forward to welcoming more visitors to share in food and friendship in the near future.

    Feeling very blessed, very content and very settled.

  • Catharsis...

    I've washed my kitchen floor four times in the last five days - and my estimate is twice more in the next two...  Having taken out the plinth fronts to gain access to the appliances that are to be change (well, more accurately, someone took them out for me) I have swept out dust and rubbish that has clearly been there since the place was built... including fag ends!  So, catharsis as literal cleansing is taking place, which is definitely no bad thing.

    Last night the teddy bears finally left the building on the last leg of their journey to support a charity, and although there was the teeniest sadness in letting them go, it also feels good that they will do what teddies are meant to do, be played with, be loved, get worn out.  Catharsis as letting go, which is definitely a good thing.

    Over the weekend, one of my dinner guests asked if I felt "lighter" for having shifted so much stuff - and it was such a good word, "oh golly, yes!" was my reply.  I still have lots of stuff, I haven't suddenly become minimalist, and I will need to be careful not to slip back into old ways of accumulating clutter, but it does feel good.  Catharsis as liberation, lightening, life-giving.

    Massive thanks to J, M and N for practical help, and to many others for non-threatening, non-judgemental encouragement along the way.

    Looking forward to my new kitchen appliances being fitted and to entertaining loads more folk in the future.

  • Now we are 8 - 20 - 134 - 262 - not out!

    Eight years ago this weekend, I was inducted as minister of the Gathering Place.  At the first Sunday service, we planted some hyacinth bulbs and I spoke about new beginnings (like you do!).  Since then we have shared in all sorts of adventures, joys and sorrows, disappointments and delights, experiments and innovations.  For me, it has been a great eight years, and I look forward to many more to come (were anyone in any doubt, my plans for redecorating and adding more fitted furniture to the manse hopefully demonstrate that)

    Twenty years ago, I was baptised as a believer in Warrington Baptist Church, a fellowship that has had its fair share of challenges and tragedies, as well as moments of joy and wonder.  It was a very special day, and I cherish the memories of the people who were there and the love we shared.  Within a few weeks I'd experienced an incredibly profound sense of calling to ordained ministry, and two years later moved to Manchester to start training.

    Both my previous church, at Dibley, and the Gathering Place have their church anniversaries (no longer marked) at the start of October.  Gathering Place is 134 years old, Dibley 262... That's a lot of Sundays, a lot of sermons and prayers, a lot of Church Meetings, a lot of laughter and tears, frustration, deliberation, innovation, congregation... And I am proud and privileged to be part of the story of these two church who, in life, share the same initials.

    Happy birthday, churches... and happy dunkiversary to me!


  • Sermon Free Service...

    This morning we had a service without a sermon - quite deliberately - and it seemed to work quite well.  The logic was that we had a church meeting to follow the service and the timing was important.

    We had all the essentials - call to worship, sung praise, prayers of approach and confession, scripture readings, intercessions and communion itself.  By careful (I was going to say skillful but that sounds self-congratulatory) choice of hymns and crafting of the liturgy, we were enabled to reflect privately on the theme, which had been tailored to fit with the main agenda item of the meeting.

    It all seemed to go well - both service and meeting - with a nice 'warm' atmosphere.  Lots of exciting little green shoots emerging... definite signs of God's activity.