By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.

- Page 2

  • Maundy Thursday... Table for Thirteen

    This evening, by fluke or divine inspiration or something, I have a dozen guests joining me for a 'Supper in the Shadows'.

    It's a sort of blend of a Passvoer Seder with a Tenebrae Service.

    I like that there will be thirteen of us - and of course a place for Elijah, if he shows up.

    I like that there will be adults and children.

    I like that there are people for whom this is not totally new, and others for whom it is absolutely new.

    I like that I get to exercise hospitality, cook new recipes, cheat and buy ready made things I only need to heat, and share with others on this night of nights.

    I am humbled that around my table will be people who have experienced the reality of clandestine meetings and the real fear of betrayal or arrest for their disicpleship of Christ.

    I am humbled that around my table will be people from different walks of life, different nationalities, different political opinions and so on.

    I am humbled that, in some measure, God will touch each and every one of us, whether through a word, a song, a symbol, or a spoonful of stawberries and cream!

  • Two weeks and counting...

    So, it's officially two weeks into my wean-off period and time to decide whether to stick at alternate days for another week, or move down to every third day.

    I've opted to stick for another week or two for a couple of reasons...

    • the transition effects are now wearing off, so there is little nausea, less intense nightmares and fewer (though no less intense) flushes.
    • it's Holy Week, and I don't want to risk the resurrection of the Monster in a busy and demanding season of the church year.

    Overall, I am fine, liking the non-drug days better than the drug ones, and, except where justified, not irritable.  So at least one more week of alternate days and then a further reduction in planned.

    Watch this space!! 

  • "Just another typical Palm Sunday..."

    Bit of a pause from posting, as I've been in Englandshire interviewing people who are exploring calls to ordained Baptist ministry.  So, late in the day, a post about our Palm Sunday service.

    Just before the service began, I commented to someone that things were a bit chaotic, to which they replied with title quote, 'just another typical Palm Sunday at the Gathering Place'.

    It made me smile, and it gave me pause.

    In the end it was a wonderful service.  One of our 20-somethings had written the script for the story-telling, and another sang 'I Don't Know how to Love Him' as the culmination of the 'anointing at Bethany' scene.

    The hotel room doesn't have a sufficiently high ceiling for us to erect a cross, so we used a horizontal one, around which emblems of the story were arranged.

    As the strains of John 19:42 died away, you could have heard a pin drop.


    Another typical Palm Sunday?  I looked back recently at the first Palm Sunday and Easter services I led here... straight forward preaching services, with children and YP going into Sunday School at the usual place; a cross was erected at the end of the Palm Sunday service, but otherwise nothing multi-sensory.  Somewhere along the line, an all age experiment morphed into a tradition, and now this is what we do on Palm Sunday.

    Thanks to E for her scripts, C for her solo, P for the music, K for the photo - and all who participated in making it what it was.

  • Controlled Withdrawal...

    Since it seems that updates are always welcome, here's where I've got to after week 1 of controlled withdrawal from sertraline.

    I think it can be summed up in the words of a Twitter post that said, "Nausea, nightsweats, nightmares. Nice. Not!"

    So far it seems to be all the 'transition effects' over again.  However, on the drug-free days I am cheerful and feel better than I do on the drugged ones!

    A long way to go with the withdrawal but overall, so far, so good. And if murderers would stop entering my dream world, that'd be good too!

  • 25 years ago today...

    Most of us have days/dates that are seared into our memories.  For me, 20th March 1993 is one of them.

    I was 30 years old, and had invited my godsons and their parents up for a weekend. We caught a bus into Warrington and then took the train to Manchester to vist the Granada Studios Tour, a great day out for boys then aged 5 and 3 along with the adults.

    It was also the day before Mother's Day (and my sister's birthday), so Warrington town centre was packed with families, children and teens buying flowers, gifts cards and so on.

    When we left Manchester, we discovered that trains to Warrington were stoppiong at Birchwood (one stop out from the town) due to an 'incident'.  We called a taxi and got home, having been told there'd been a bomb explosion in the town centre.  Turning on the TV there was nothing about it, something in Russia remained the top news story throughout.

    Two boys were killed by the explosion, Jonathan Ball, aged 3, who had been with his father to buy presents for his mother, and Tim Parry, aged 12, who was looking for a football top.  Another fifty people were injured, some seriously.

    Twenty five years later, Jonathan would be almost the age I was then, had he lived, and Tim would have been roughly the age I was when I began ministerial training.  I wonder how their lives might have emerged, had things been different.

    The long term impact of the Warrington bombing is quiet and significant.

    Tim Parry's parents devoted huge energy to trying to understand the Northern Irish situation, and I honestly believe this event was a key moment in the Peace Process, which is now so fragile in the face of possible border changes.

    There was a degree of outcry from the north of England that the south-centric media had barely mentioned events in Warrington, and again a shift in thinking meant that, subsequently, such events did receive extensive coverage.

    The photo above is part of the 'river of life' that runs down what used to be the main shopping street of Warrington.  Town centre planning has meant that the effective centre has shifted and this once buzzing street is painfully quiet.  But if you walk along it, you will see this water feature, around the rim of which are faces of real Warrington people, including Jonathan and Tim, and handprints of children who will now be in their thirties.

    At 12:25, the time the bombs exploded, I will pause to remember, and to let that remembering continue to impact my thinking and living.

    RIP Jonathan and Tim, hate stole your young lives; love inspired hope from tragedy.