Sunday, September 30, 2007

Why do so many people find church irrelevant and boring,(and the pub soo much more interesting)? This is a question which has been asked in Christian circles a lot lately and with good reason. It appears that congregations are depleting as the older generation die and the younger generations (who used to replace the church going population), no longer see Christianity as relevant to them. In our visual, excitement and pleasure driven culture, church is hardly the kind of experience modern people would enjoy....or is it?

One of the things which I think most people mourn the loss of is true community. They like the trappings of modern life provided by wealth and material possessions, but dislike the insularity of a day to day existence which focusses on working long hours and caring for the immediate family. Gone are the days when the community knew one another and helped one another. This is why 'feel-good' drama on TV is so popular aand also why 'not so feel-good drama' such as soaps are so important to so many. They provide the gossip (albeit rather dramatic and over exaggerated) and community feel which used to be a part of real life.

It is my opinion that churches can and should be providing this sense of community which is so lacking. It is a community which is clustered around the person of Jesus. He is to be worshipped by us and we should want to deepen our faith whilst we study the Bible, but we are also a church 'family' and should behave like one. All too often we focus on the worship and teaching which is such a central part of our faith but neglect the social contact which is so important to human beings and is a necessary part of their humanity. How many functional and loving families do you know who don't have fun together? But so often we see having fun as Christ's family as an irrelevance, not getiing on with living for Christ etc..Little wonder people don't find Christianity attractive.

Meeting together, sharing a coffee or a pizza, dropping into the pub, having an evening out at the snooker club, organising a girls night in or a bottle of wine around a good film may seem 'secular' but they provide much needed chill out time. They can also open doors to deeper conversations. Community is about caring and spending time with one another. If we don't, then we'll never get to a point when we can work effectively as a team when it really matters. Mission and evangelism is something that works best when meaningful relationships have been created.

Let's try being s REAL Christ lead community. One who cares for one another, one who reaches out to others and one who enjoys being together whether what we are doing is meaningful theologically or just being happy with one another. Be hospitable, love others for themselves and not what they can bring to the church and don't be surprised when they begin to ask what it is that is different about the church because they want to be part of it..

Rant over!

Friday, September 28, 2007

I started my training at the beginning of September and have so far been on one weekend away and one evening session. Everyone seems pretty friendly and the group has a good sense of humour...always a good sign in my opinion!

We have also started rehearsing the latest church play, a pantomime version of Moses no less!! As usual I get to write and direct it, so I've cast myself as narrator so that I don't have to add line learning to the many other jobs it will create! Rehearsals have so far been great fun and as ever, bring people together in a unique way...can't beat a bit of dramatic bonding!!!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Tom's Baptism pictures as promised....a wonderful occasion!
Down he goes!

And up!!

Family meal afterwards:

Thursday, August 02, 2007

My son dressed as a Tudor at his recent Walker Art Gallery trip...yes he is the one dressed as Queen Elizabeth...

Friday, July 13, 2007

We are all off on our Parish Weekend away soon. The speaker is none other than Adrian Plass of whom I am a MASSIVE fan!!! I hope the rest of the church get his jokes and therefore the point of what he is saying as he is actually very astute indeed.

I have always gained a huge amount from his writing because it really exposes the stuff in the church which is unecessary (that which is of our own making and not of Gods). Sadly, there are alot of aspects of the wider church which fall into this category. Why? I have observed that many are only there because congregations feels safe and secure with them in place and not because they actually help anyone to grow spiritually. In fact, I think some of the traditions and practices which we hang on to so dearly can get in the way of spiritual growth.

I am not just talking about 'Traditional Anglicanism' or traditional practices in an old fashioned sense, but am equally concerned about the reliance I have seen by more modern forms of church on a particular way of worship, version of the Bible or type of musical expression to be allowed or encouraged.

I for one believe that it is not 'how' we worship God which counts, (each of us are individuals and will express ourselves differently,) but why. Each of us must be focussing on God amd our relationship with him when we worship. In simple terms it is what goes on on the inside that really matters.

Hopefully the spiritual experience of our chuch this weekend will be edifying to God, meaningful to each individual and tangible evidence of true communion with one another.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Is there anybody there???

It appears from my cluster map at the bottom of the page that a small but select (?)group of people out there in cyberspace are reading this blog! This surprised me and spooks me just a little.
Who are they?
Are they human? (Sorry I've been watching too much Dr. Who!)
Do I already know them?
Will they ever leave a comment????

This last question is the most interesting. So far I have had one viewer who has taken the plunge...anyone else???

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Tom's baptism was a lovely family occasion. I'm not talking in terms of biological family, but in terms of his spiritual family. There was a lovely sense of love, togetherness and belonging in the service this morning, which is just how it should be. Fantastic!
Pictures to follow....

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Tom is being baptised tomorrow and has opted for the full immersion rather than sprinkling. I have no problems either way (which is a good job considering my calling). We did decide when he was a baby to wait until he was old enough to make the decision himself. I don't have any problem with infant baptism and can see the arguments for it, we just wanted it to be something Tom would remember and relate to as a symbol of what God has done in his life and what he means to him.

He's really looking forward to it and has chosen the music which includes 'My God is a great big God' (to the point) and 'These are the days of Elijah' (a little more obscure).

Afterwards it's off to the pub with family and friends....

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Health and Safety!!!!! Grrrrrr.
I went to the Walker Art Gallery with Tom's school last week. I know that public places have to be VERY careful these days because of the risk of a member of the public suing them at any given opportunity, but think I've seen it all now! A sign was displayed in all rooms which said:

"Do not sit on the floor - splinter risk."

Well you can see what they're getting at... It would be so easy to ignore such a major risk to my health and wellbeing. I could settle myself down to admire a Monet or Titian and then without warning be attacked by a splinter and mortally wounded...disfigured for life by an innocuous looking piece of wood embedding itself in my behind!!!! I am so glad that I read the notice. It could have been really serious if I hadn't????!!!!

Grrrrrrr...hate health and safety....mumble....grrr...mumble, mumble.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

One of the things that I could happily consign to Room 101 is 'Health and Safety Regulations'. Whilst I can entirely see that some of these are necessary, more and more we seem to be plagued by all that is uneccessary. It adds to my frustration when this sort of thing comes up at PCC, because it reminds me that I will have to consider them even more as a Priest!

In the news today was the latest item to be under fire. Apparently pencil sharpeners were being banned from school premises because children are unscrewing them and taking out the blades to make weapons!!!! It seems to me that the problem is not with the pencil sharpeners but with the kids who see this as reasonable behaviour or the parents who exert little or no control over their offspring.

It is time we stopped tackling the symptoms and started looking at the disease. The trouble is the disease is something we mustn't talk's a politically incorrect term....hold on to your hats...shhhh...lest someone is offended....'sin is the word'

The church must stop being afraid to talk of 'sin' and needs to start telling the world what is wrong and why Jesus is the answer. Young kids who carry weapons are seriously mixed up...they are, to put it in old fashioned Christian language, 'Lost in Sin' and I as a christian know that only Christ can help.

We christians, as Jesus representatives, need us to preach the gospel and also to help tackle the social problems that so many experience. The church must be involved in social action AND spiritual action. One without the other is meaningless. Poverty needs action but so does sin. We all need to face up to our responsibilities...something society is VERY reluctant to do a the moment.

My blogging has been distinctly lacking recently...apologies but life seems to be pretty busy at the moment. I'm due to start on the local course in September. The whole thing is quite daunting from where I am at the moment as I won't know anyone before I start and it'll be harder to get to know other students because we're not residential. Still, God's got it all in hand, so I'll have to take advice from the curate at our church and 'rest in Him', though it's not always that easy....

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

This seemed like an appropriate description of the last 14 months, (since I started on the path towards ordination).
More tea Vicar???

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It's a little daunting to think that I will be studying Theology again soon. I first studied it when I was at Uni 20 years ago. I came away with a passable Biblical Studies degree, but haven't really gone out of my way to do much 'deep' stuff since. I have on occasions had the need to research some subjects in depth, in particular 'The Ordination of Women', and have been amazed at the amount written on the subject. The stuff I've read has ranged from the 'extremely well argued and researched' to the 'total hogwash' spewed forth by those who really don't have a clue what they are talking about. The perpetrators of such drivel usually begin from their own standpoint and seek to prove it without any regard to the opposing arguments. I have encountered good and bad on both sides of the divide, so please don't think I am taking a pot shot at the anti women priests brigade..I'm not.
The other subject I've had some interesting discussions about over the years is Calvinism and in particular Limited Atonement and Predestination. The Atonement has always been a subject I've found fascinating as there are so many different interpretations and explanations of it. Hopefully I'll get the opportunity to investigate it further.. if it is ordained that I should...hmm.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

I heard this week that I have been accepted for training for Ordained ministry!!!

Dibley here I come.....Applications are now open for 'Alice'...friends and realtives are very welcome to apply!

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Well I'm back from the BAP. It was at Shallowford House in Staffordshire and lasted from Monday Evening until Wednesday teatime. The whole thing was really exhausting but enjoyable nontheless. Shallowford is a lovely old house in the country, left to Lichfield diocese in the 30's I think. Had we been there in the summer we could have enjoyed a game of croquet on th lawn..not SO attractive in February however!!! My room was quite big and the bed comfy which is always good. I took my laptop with me which was VERY useful and kept me occupied in between interviews.

There were 12 candidates in total (6 men and 6 women) and 6 advisors, plus a selection secretary. We were split into two groups, the yellows and the pinky-lilacs (no-one could decide what the exact colour was!!!) I was a yellow.

Pretty much as soon as we got there we had the Personal Inventory which was a 40 minute 'exam' which asked questions about how you would react in certain situations you may come across in ordained ministry. It was just like being back at school..."You've had 17 mins and should be moving on to the next section now!" Tea was fantastic...YUM! Worship was after tea and is best described as 'contemplative'.

On Tuesday we had worship at 7.30, followed by breakfast and then the Presentations and Discussions fot the rest of the morning which seemed to go pretty well. Then in the afternoon the interviews started!!!! My first one was Educational which was generally OK although one or two of the questions threw me a little, but I answered as best as I could. I then had to wait until Wednesday for the other two. In our free time we had to write a letter in response to a complex pastoral situation. My second interview was Vocational. I was pleased with it as I felt I answered everything and said everything I wanted to which was good. My last was Pastoral. This went ok but again there were a few questions which were unexpected. This interviewer kept asking me about being 'Middle Class' which I found a little perplexing... Still it was generally a positive experience so whatever the decision I feel I did my best in what was a very strange sitiuation (much harder than any job interview). Add in the fact that you were expected to mingle with advisors during mealtimes etc and the whole thing was quite a 'Big Brother'...The candidates were all very supportive of each other which was lovely and the Selection Panel Secretary was very helpful.

Now I just have to could be a fortnight, and waiting has never been my strong point. Still, I'm being kept busy. I gave the sermon in the all age service this morning and people were very encouraging afterwards. I'm back at work tomorrow and there's plenty of things coming up in the next few months whether I get through or not. The BIG plus point is that come what may I won't have to say IF I'm training or IF I become ordained etc. etc. The uncertainty really is the worst part of this process and it'll be a relief to know what's happening at last....

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The whole family has been out church cleaning this morning. I must admit it is an event I've ducked out of at times in the past when I've had 'more important' things to do... However something I read on another blog essentially sums up how I now feel about prioritising the less glamorous jobs in church and this one in particular.

"When he became Bishop of Birmingham (or Bishop FOR Birmingham, as he preferred to call it)John Sentamu (now Archbishop of York) made a big deal of replacing the part of the service where he should have gone and sat on his "throne" with a ceremony in which he washed the feet of 12 local schoolchildren, gave each of them a rather splendid theatrical crown to wear, and got THEM to sit on the throne one by one. In his sermon, he said that he believed in servant leadership - and I can vouch for the fact that even when he wasa lowly Vicar he was to be seen just as often as anyone else mopping the floor or washing the dishes. He never allowed the music group or any other "profile" ministry group to escape their turn on the cleaning rota. If you won't clean for the Church, he said, you have no right to minister to them."

This ties in with an extract from one of my all time favourite bible passages: Philippians 2

" Have this in your mind, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, didn't consider it robbery to be equal with God but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant."

Cleaning may not be glamorous but it is a servant ministry and what could be better than emulating Jesus in a small way by taking the form of a servant? That said it was also great fun. We had a great laugh and some fabulous conversations whilst we got on and did the time I certainly won't seen it as a chore but as a privilege!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

You scored as Chalcedon compliant. You are Chalcedon compliant. Congratulations, you're not a heretic. You believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in every respect, apart from sin. Officially approved in 451.

Chalcedon compliant




























Are you a heretic?
created with

Well, that's a relief!!!! Burning at the stake isn't my preferred option for shuffling off this mortal coil!!!

Last weekend we had a fabulous time in Pisa. Weather gorgeous and restaurants fab. My waistline is still recovering!
Here's a picture of son and heir with a famous landmark behind.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild nations,
To bring peace among brothers and sisters,
To make music in the heart.
Howard Thurman.