It seems that quite a lot of folk listened to my home grown podcast service from Sunday... not just Gatherers, but others from Northants and North Wales; there may well have been others I don't know about.
The feedback has been very moving and very humbling - by the grace of God, it 'worked' as an act of worship, even (or especially) the communion 'in many kinds'.
It's snowing again this morning as sit down to start on this week's service - I really hope that I will get to deliver it in real life this time.
On the plus side, I feel a lot less nervous about voice recording than I did beforehand!
There have been ordained women on these islands for a century - at least among Congregationalists and Baptists. Despite this, and despite the fact that 'even' the Anglicans have now ordained women for many years, some of the same old comments still arise. This blog post and art work from Cuddesdon Anglican College is stunning and powerful. It is also very true - there are comments I recognise all too well.
God calls whomsoever God calls - and that is always going to be a bit controversial as sometimes it doesn't fit our systems or our prejudices. I am sad that a century on from when the first women were ordained, Baptists across these islands still have a need to consider how to support and encourage 'women in ministry'... we've come a long way and not very far at all.
Maybe blessings have to be unexpected in order to be such, but I am sure you know what I mean.
Listening to my own recorded service this morning, and knowing that at least some others would also be doing so, was very moving and beautiful. The fact that we could be 'together though apart' by the wonder of digital technology was surprisingly moving.
I enjoyed listening to the recordings of the three songs, each of which took me in my mind to other times and places, to other people and churches/colleges/conferences where they had been part of worship. A reminder of the mysterious interconnections that transcend time and space, which are so precious.
What I think surprised me most, was the sense of connectedness as I shared in the communion - lifting my mug and taking a slug of cold tea probably sounds a strange thing to do, but it was unexpectedly wonderful. My 'low' theology of communion makes tea a perfectly reasonable thing to use - even cold tea, from a mug with a slogan about cats on it! My strong theology of mystery means I am open to being surprised by such moments. The thought that other mugs, cups or glasses, filled with tea, coffee, juice, water etc. might be being lifted and supped was a powerful one - more so than I imagined when I recorded it yesterday.
My after service refreshments - another cup of tea (hot this time!) and a buttered crumpet - consumed as I watched, from my window, the snow falling again assured me that the correct call had been made not to meet today.
God's blessings are always amazing, surprising and, yes, unexpected. For that, I am truly grateful.
I spent Saturday morning recording the notices and then the service - only to discover the files were too big to upload! So I have uploaded such files as this platform will accept, and provided a temporary link for the spoken-word only service (which lasts roughly 30 mins). The quality isn't brilliant, but then it was my first attempt at such a 'thing'!
The words only service will be available CLICK HERE (and then click the file called 'service' to open it, and the little 'play' arrow to make it start) for a few weeks and then deleted
The songs that exist on the web as videos (other versions temporarily available via the link) ...
A cobbled together recorded service will appear on/via this blog tomorrow (4th March) at 11 a.m. Feel free to use any/all/none of it! Otherwise, have a lovely 'snow Sunday' and spare a thought for this minister who spent a whole morning recording, converting, uploading, discovering files were too big, uploading elsewhere and making available this stuff (it was actually quite fun, and I learned a lot on the way!).