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  • Journalling with the French Pantoum!

    Whatever exercises we do on the GPRL course, we are invited to journal about it - to write about the process, what it felt like, what we experienced, how we might have heard God in any of it.

    Last night, after journalling about the prayer as art exercise, we were invited to created what was called a 'French Pantoum' from it.  The process was roughly thus...

    Read through the journal emtry and underline six phrases/sentences that stood out for us.  These would become the pantoum.

    Step 1 - write out sequentially the first four phrases





    This is the first stanza

    Step 2 - write out, sequentially the phrases





    This is the second stanza

    Step 3 - write out, sequentially, the phrases





    This is the third stanza

    The mathematics and symmetry is attractive to me, the  resultant 'poem', if such it be, surprising.

    So, here is what I wrote (with a few small tweks, which are permitted apparently!)

    Maybe this is God, glittering in the background:

    I am pleased with what I have made,

    Delight in creating

    A little seed, trampled underfoot.


    I am pleased with what I have made:

    Defiantly bursting out of the earth, season by season

    A little seed, trampled underfoot.

    I feel proud of what I am.


    Defiantly bursting out of the earth, season by season,

    To delight in creating.

    I feel proud of what I am:

    Maybe this is God, glittering in the background


  • GPRL Six Sessions Already!

    Growth in Prayer and Reflective Living (GPRL) is an acadmeic year course in Ignatian Spirituality which I am taking as part of a (academic) year-long sabbatical process - not a massive chunk of time 'out of harness' to spend in splendid isolation, but a 'portfolio' (as the trendy word has it) of shorter sabbatical spaces.

    Although I missed two sessions (on the 'Examen' and 'Lectio Divina', each of which I am already quite familiar with) we have now completed six out of thirty-four and have a 'pause week' next week.

    Last night was a marmite session, I guess - praying with art. Some will loathe it, and they did.  Some will fear it, and they did.  Some will love it, and I did!

    The image is my meditation on the parable of the mustard seed (the set text for the evening) and is the result of 45 minutes industrious endeavour, thought, prayer, reflection, feeling and being.

    There is good scientific evidence that humans think/process/pray differently if their hands are occupied, whether doodling, 'telling' beads, making things with lego, sewing or knitting.  It's why people can knit (even complex patterns) whilst watching television or reading.  It's why some people think by writing.  It's why people use fidget toys.

    I am really enjoying the course so far.  The articles we are given to read are interesting, the exercises wide ranging, the sharing meaningful, the 'space' helpful.

    Most people probably won't ever get into art (or craft) as prayer, and that's fine.  But for those of us who do, it is a real gift of God.

  • Happy Birthday to Us!

    That was a very lovely morning.

    Celebrating, commemorating, covenanting...

    A truly wonderful sermon from my good friend Revd Dr Ruth Gouldbourne, a joy to co-preside at Communion with her and Revd Dr Jim Gordon.  Wonderful to have visitors, new students and established friends.  The 'ubiquitous' yummy cake hand made by N, amazing music from P, L S F and E and of course the choir.  A card and flowers from the Sunday School... It just felt ful of love and life, hope and happiness - what more could a girl wish for?

    In the meantime - it's back to being "bothersome small things" in the Kingdom of God.

    Thank you everyone, I am blessed beyond measure.


  • More Anniversaries...

    Today I am involved in a Glasgow-wide service which will mark two important anniversaries - the 150th of the Baptist Union of Scotland and the 125th of the Scottish Baptist College.  Should be good - report, and possibly photo, to follow.

  • Now We are Ten!

    3rd October - the date on which I was Inducted at The Gathering Place ten years ago today.

    It was then  as it is now - a truly glorious, golden autumn day.

    I had spent a few days settling in, setting up my office and trying to get my bearings, and I was a mix of excited and terrified.

    The church was packed to bursting - between guests I had invited and guests the church had invited - and we enjoyed a great time of worship and promise making.

    Ten years later, and on Sunday we will renew those same promises.  We have the same guest preacher.  And I look forward to a time of worship and fellowship.

    Happy Birthday (?) to us Gatherers - thank you for putting up with me and my weird and wonderful ideas all this time.  With God's grace, may our journey together continue for a long time yet.