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  • Sharing and Learning

    One of the roles I share in at vicar school is helping our students to learn about, and reflect on, important skills, practices and characteristics.  This term we are focusing on weddings, and on Wednesday were thinking about symbols, rituals, liturgies and ceremonies.  My colleague and I pooled some resources, including stoles, candles, ribbons, and a quaich.  It was lovely to overhear the 'oohs' of participants walking into the chapel and seeing the visual centre-piece.... which I guess is a little of what you aspire to in creating the space for an actual wedding ceremony.

    I am enjoying starting to share in this aspect of 'formation'  alongside some of the more strategic and administrative work.

    Definitely still needing my L-plates, but having fun learning. 

  • Stew done right!

    After the service today, we had a delicious lunch of stew 'done right' with pickled red cabbage and pickled beetroot.   It prompted some interesting sharing of other local customs such as 'ham with parsley sauce' (West Midlands) a 'ham tea' (in a former mining town - a throw back to a time when meat was expensive and having ham with your bread and butter was a treat).

    About 30 people sat down to share food, including a visitor from Belarus, who was passing through with an over-night stay.

  • The Great Cloud/Crowd of Witnesses

    This morning we didn't have a sermon at all, instead we listened to a very large chunk of scripture (Hebrews 11 into 12) and began our collage by adding the names we heard mentioned, before widening it out to include other people - named and unnamed - from the scriptures whose stories encourage and inspire us. (The white rectangles)

    Next, I invited people to think of people from history they wanted to add on - this was more tricky and mostly we got the names I had 'prepared earlier' (green rectangles).

    Lastly, having handed out slips of blue paper, people were invited to add names of people who had encouraged or inspired them - and what a lovely selection we got!

    'Since we are surrounded by such a great crowd/cloud of witnesses...' the saints we can imagine sitting in the balcony of the church, looking down and urging us onward...

    I have done similar exercises in other churches, in other places, and it always encourages me, as we locate ourselves in a much bigger and more wonderful story, alongside the great and the good.


  • Reverse Advent Calendar

    Many food-banks, and also some animal rescues, do this, or something similar, each year.  Our local food-bank is running a 'reverse Advent calendar' during November with the idea that you add one item each day, and drop off the box at the end of the month so that it can reach people in good time for Christmas.  The suggestions are just that - the full post also mentions hygiene products and festive treats.

    Wherever you live, I am sure there's something similar you could support, if you are able.

    Looking forward to starting filling my box!

  • All Saints, All Souls and a whole lot more!

    Tomorrow I lead my first All-Age service at Railway Town BC.  It is the Church Anniversary weekend, something this church still marks, it is just after All saints and All Souls, it is Guy Fawkes night, and it's just before Remembrance.  In Roman catholic tradition it is the month of the dead.  So tomorrow we are going to create our own 'great Cloud of Witnesses' beginning with Hebrews 11-12 and then using our imaginations.

    As a starter, I have listed out the names of the those recorded in Hebrews 11 and 12, added more Biblical characters, and then made a starter list of small-s and larger-S saints from history.

    People will be invited to add to a collage...

    • Someone from the Bible (but they aren't allowed to add Jesus)
    • Someone from history
    • Someone(s) they have known personally

    It's hardly new, I have done similar before in other places, but I leave you to ponder, dear reader... who would you add from each of these categories?