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A Skinny Fairtrade Latte in the Food Court of Life - Page 8

  • The Sermon I Didn't Preach...

    Today was one of those where you metaphorically tear up the sermon you prepared and offer something else, and it's 100% the correct call.  However, as I had recorded today's inputs 'just in case' we were locked down, I thought I'd try to share them for anyone who is interested.  You will need to click the 'media' buttons to listen to each section.  I've added the relevant part of the PowerPoint file, which is helpful for the sermon (which I've broken into five chunks for upload purposes) though not essential.

    If/when we do become 'locked down' people who are way more tech savvy than I will help us find far better methods of recording (video and/or live streaming rather than just audio) and we'll also look at DVD/CD for those who don't have the tech for such things.

    Today's actual service will, in time appear on our recording website, here,  so do go there too!


    The Opening Words of Scripture


    The opening prayer


    The Bible Readings


    The PowerPoint (possibly best to open in a new tab so you can 'toggle' between audio and visual)

    For Blog 15 March.pptx

    Reflection Part 1


    Reflection Part 2


    Reflection Part 3

    Reflection Part 4


    Reflection Part 5




  • Keep Calm - and Stay Safe: Offering Baskets and Wrapped Biscuits


    Tomorrow we meet for public worship.  I don't know what we will do next week, that will depend on the latest advice from the Scottish Government and Baptist Unions (although aligned with different governments, both BUS and BUGB are, this far, giving virtually identical advice on practical, pastoral and prayerful responses to Covid-19;obviously being in Scotland, BUS is the one that we will follow most closely if they differ).

    This week, I recorded the prayers, Bible readings and sermon as a precaution in case we needed to 'lock down'.  I will continue to do so until/unless this possibility passes.  I am really grateful for the internet and for clever phones and laptops that allow such things to be done from the comfort of my living room.  There might be odd sounds of clocks and kitties in the background, but it's not bad!

    This morning, I sewed a washable liner for a basket that we will use for the offering tomorrow - collection bags passed hand to hand are a hygiene nightmare, so this week we are using a basket for people to drop in their offerings as they arrive.  The liner doubles as a draw string bag to hold the money without anyone needing to touch it, and it can simply be popped in the washing machine ready for next week. 

    Tomorrow, we are using wrapped biscuits. Other churches have stopped biscuits, and some have stopped tea and coffee.  We may revise this next week, if advice changes, but for now, this seems a reasonable and proprotionate response.

    Risk management isn't an exact science, there are always different, justifiable responses and arguments.  We are doing our best, based on the advice of official bodies to keep ourselves and others safe and well - which is both about physical health and emotional and spiritual well-being.

    In the meantime please remember...

    • Handwashing is the best defence
    • Self isolate if you have a cold, cough or anything that might be infectious
    • Avoid unecessary travel and consider alternatives to meetings/events that involve lots of people (currently over 500 is not allowed in Scotland)
    • Use technology where/when you can to keep in touch
    • Food banks, shelters and animal rescues still need donations
    • Check on elderly neighbours
    • Hoarding is selfish and leaves those who are most vulnerable or poor unable to obtain what they need
  • Being Prepared...

    This afternoon I've recorded my inputs for Sunday's service - it's amazing what you can do with a laptop these days!  OK, so you can hear Sophie's bell jingling, Sasha attacking something on the floor, and even the clock chiming, but overall it's 'not bad.'

    Should we need to 'lock down' I am ready.  Should we not, I've had a good rehearsal. Win-win.

    Always better to be prepared for something you don't need than not prepared for something you do.

  • #Flattenthecurve : Cats and Graphs

    Amidst the information and misinformation, gallows humour and common sense advice, I stumbled across this graphic.

    To minimise the overall impact of Corvid19, or any other nasty for that matter, we need to slow down the spread and reduce the number of people infected (at any one time and, ideally, overall)

    I like the kitties (obviously) but the message is unchanged from before...

    • wash your paws
    • don't expose yourself unecessarily to risk of exposure by going to large public events (defined currently as > 5000 people) or travelling if you don't need to.  Be like a cat - avoid crowds
    • if you are, or might be, infected, or have had contact with someone who is, then be a house-cat for a couple of weeks
    • don't forget to check on neighbours and friends who may be trapped at home - phone, text, email
    • don't forget foodbanks still need donations
    • Don't hoard

    At the moment there is no advice to close church services, but we are checking daily to keep up to date and in the process of determniing what protcols we may need to implement going forward.

  • Keep Calm - and Wash Your Hands (UPDATED)


    If you don't want to read my ramblings (and even if you do) please check out the latest information such as BUGB advice here which includes practical and pastoral/theological matters and has a link to official government advice.


    I've been fighting the urge to post something about Corona Virus for some time now.

    It is, for vulnerable people, very serious.  There is, as yet, no vaccine for Covid19, so no way of protecting oneself against it, and that is a significant difference from, say, seasonal flu; vulnerable people cannot protect themselves by any means other than distance/isolation, and therefore the rest of us need to be sensible to keep them safe.

    I say this as a person who is eligible for flu vaccination because I am 'at risk', who has a background in risk assessment but no medical training, and as someone who is advocating a 'keep calm and use common sense' approach.

    The data to date show that, if we 'do nothing' the number of cases of corona virus increases by 15-20% per day, or, to put it another way, it doubles about every 4-5 days.  This means, inevitably, that each day the number of new cases goes up - this is just simple maths!  Even so, at the moment there are (according to data I checked 11th March) 456 cases in the UK, which out of a population of roughly 68 million is 'vanishingly small'.  Also, in the UK 27,476 people have been tested (11March) - and, so far, the vast majority of these don't have the virus. 

    In real terms, these numbers - so far - are tiny.  That isn't cause for complacency, it's cause to take a measured, sensible approach to stopping the increase and in time bring it down.  I now understand that the NHS is seriously concerned about managing this and putting in place plans to try to ‘flatten the curve’.

    The best way to reduce the rate of increase - and in time turn it round to a decrease - is to reduce the spread.  And the best way to do this is hand hygiene - something I was taught in infant school!

    Stockpiling toilet rolls (why? this doesn't cause diarrhorea and the two week self-isolation isn't going to need that many trips to the loo) pasta or hand gel (which doesn't kill viruses anyway) isn't going to help.  Indeed, all that stock-piling does, is mean that those with the time and money to do so fill their homes with ludicrous quantities of things that they won't use, leaving the poorest and most vulnerbale unable to obtain them. Also, notionally at least, trekking round supermarkets to stockpile actually increases the risk by bringing them into contact with even more people.

    It's really not rocket science...

    • wash your hands.  Soap and water, buble bath and water, shower gel and water, washing up liquid and water, if all else fails, even just salt and water...
    • if you feel unwell stay at home - you should anyway, but somewhere we forgot this bit of common sense
    • catch your coughs and sneezes and bin your tissues... and wash your hands again
    • if you have an underlying health condition or are immuno-compromised, get advice from your own medical professionals
    • avoid unecessary travel especially by air or trains with air-con.  If you can't walk or cycle, then a car (but not a taxi) is the least bad...
    • at the moment, no-one is telling us to avoid small gatherings (which include most church services) but be sensible here too, stay away if you are unwell, keep hand to hand contact to a minimum.
    • If you need to self-isolate either order groceries on line, or ask a friend to shop for you, and get them to leave the bags on your doorstop (think Eyam, plague village, in the 1600s, that's how not rocket science this is)
    • Don't forget foodbanks still need donations
    • If someone you know is stuck at home give them a phone call, send a text or email
    • Keep calm - oh, and did I say it: wash your hands.