Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Celebrating Easter

This is a picture of a Seder table (stolen from here) which is the Jewish remembrance of Passover - this Easter I have done this twice - once with my course buddies and once with St John's school.

The importance of remembering the past is huge for the Jewish people and for Christians the world over, though opinons differ as to when it happened, but that's not my point. I said this time last year that I love tradition and I think that I can't really do without it in some respects.

It took 11 months for the work to be done so that I could make use of my DVD/CD holders, and now I'm heading back to Ikea to buy more furniture to replace the stuff that is falling apart after a long time of wear and tear.
A year down the line and I am moving forward... working towards another Eastingle and another week of busyness. I can't really comprehend how I got here, or where I will end up, but I know that I am loved fully by the Father and saved by the actions of his Son.

I also had the privilege of spending 4 days with 3 wonderful people and some guests - Mrs Barlow - actually Miss Deall and soon to be Mrs Campbell, is getting married in less than 4 weeks, so we spent the weekend at Elveden (again) celebrating.

I love this lady very much... and it's scary and wonderful to know that she will be getting married to a lovely man! There are still lots of hen things to do, but it's a secret!! Photos and a blog soon!

Here's to the end of March and the beginning of another busy month!

Friday, March 19, 2010

A day out

This week has been really unusual for me - it's been very long and it's not over yet.

The major event for this week was spending the day in Ely yesterday, with St John's school. A delightful bunch of year 8 students piled onto a coach and headed up north (yes I know it's not that far away...) with the Head of RE, the Deputy Head, a parent helper and me.

Ely is in Cambridgeshire and has a rather large cathedral off to one side. It's a very quiet village for a place that has such an amazing building... I can imagine that it's heaving in the summer... but on a mild spring day, there was only one other school there and we had the privilege of being shown the cathedral by the educational officer.

So here's a photo or two to whet your appetite and maybe get you to go to Ely...

Here's the sight that you're greeted with - to the left is the Lady Chapel (big clear windows) and the tall tower is the lantern. The rest is the main body of the church.

This is underneath the lantern - the Octagon, named because it has 8 sides (shocker). The higher structure is iron-clad wood and it rests on stone pillars. The head of RE said that I would get dizzy looking down, but when you're looking up 100 feet, it's not difficult to topple over backwards! This was built in the 1300's - it's impressive from the ground, but when you get to climb to see the angels, it becomes even more impressive.

It's hard to get the scale, but these angels were huge! I'm just over 5 foot tall - so these beautiful paintings must be 10 maybe 12 feet in height!

This is right at the very top of the Octagon and a picture of the West Tower and the countryside beyond... We were 100 foot up at this point, very cold and trying to imagine what it would be like to be 200 foot up at the top of the tower we were looking at.

If you want to visit Ely, have a look at their website for all the information. It is well worth the climb to get up to the top and have a look, especially if you've got a clear day!

Ely has an incredible history, not just at the cathedral, but in Oliver Cromwell's house too - which is a minutes walk from the front door of the cathedral and worth doing the tour.

I really enjoyed myself, getting to know the year 8 students, learning about a parish I hadn't been to before and acting like a tourist for a bit.

The week goes on though, I'm heading to Great Baddow tomorrow for some training and then to Chris' for a birthday celebration.

Time and space to gather myself together to head to youth group later on.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mothering Sunday

The middle of March has rolled around a little too quickly, but it's here and we're celebrating Mothering Sunday in our (un)usual ways.

For christ Church, it was a chance to try something new... we spent half an hour before the service started in seperate parts of the building, mothers and those without young children, chatting and having coffee and delicious cakes in the hall, and everyone else in the main church building, at various tables, making things for their mum.

Second Sunday for Christ Church is a communion service, so we thought of a creative way to allow families to come to communion together. We had four stations at four distinct points of the church and invited people to take communion in their own time.

It's an unusual way of doing things for us as a church, we normally have rows and more singing, but this time we had card making, pot painting and poem wirting, plus some sentence finishing. We had the normal things, like a talk and a welcome, but we praised God with everything we did and supported all of the families that joined us.

Yesterday was full of fun things for me personally - I got to see Alice, Andy, Alex, Stephen and Matilda, we were pre-planning Falcon Afloat, which included remembering last year and gathering thoughts for this year... some very exciting ideas and some increasingly funny memories, that always get better with time. I'm really looking forward to Falcon this year... I went with mild intrepidation last year (and I'd already been away for the weekend) but this year I'm going with a clearer idea of what to expect (at least from living on a boat for a couple of days) and how things work. However, God works in mysterious ways and I know that this year is going to be totally different from last year.

I finished the day with cooking dinner for 7 people, something that I am fully capable of, but I'm still learning about portions and how to make decent gravy! With help from Karen and Dominic (boyfriend of sister!) we put together a pretty decent roast dinner, with yorkshires and all the trimmings (no stuffing though - I really don't think we needed it) and finished with the giantic chocolate gateaux that my Nan brought. We needed more veg, but ate on time. I've realised that gravy takes it's own sweet time, there's no rushing it! Conversations after dinner were full of passion for things we love and things we hate, telling stories and humiliating each other in the only way we know how - when a family has been complete for 20 years getting together is easy and wonderful! Happy 79th birthday to my Nan - still going strong and not looking a day over 6o!!

Happy Mothering Sunday... here's to restful weeks and wonderful weekends.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Time for Focus

This week has been full of preparation for Mothering Sunday (not Mother's day as an advert for local radio keeps reminding me). We're celebrating both ideas of the festival - by inviting everyone to their Mother church and by making our own mothers feel really special by treating them to cake and drinks. (Did you know everyone who lives in England is a member of a parish? I bet that changes your perspective on community and church!)

I spent last weekend with Karen and the young people from St Hugh's - teaching them about Revelation and spending time sharing my wisdom about what it means to be a Christian.

Working on a Saturday means that I have the chance to have a day off in the week. This week it's Wednesday, next week it's Thursday and I'm not sure about the week after that. This week I got the opportunity to do something a little bit exciting - a chance to go to FOCUS - which is the annual Photography exhibition in Birmingham with Chris. It was a chance to spend the day - for me at least - going ooo and ahh, I know a tiny amount about photography - so to see that much stuff was impressive! I have been to Birmingham a couple of times, mainly for shopping and I think I've been to the NEC once, but I'm not entirely sure, so when Chris said 'it's big' I didn't quite believe him until we got inside. It's huge and the way they had it laid out meant that you couldn't really do it logically - so you just have to wander and hope you don't miss anything. They do try to fit everyone in but it makes it hard for punters when all the stalls are different sizes - there was even a UoG stand full of Pittville students! (Thank you Chris for doing all the driving)

I enjoyed my time and was grateful to get home. I didn't make it to Paul Gambling's induction(?) to the team ministry. I was really tired, but I'm looking forward to seeing the team grow and work together.

There's plenty of things going on in the next couple of weeks that mean I'm going to be working my socks off and with the event of the year only round the corner, there's some celebrating to be done as well.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Fairtrade Cafes

Al Fresco!

It went really well, for all the chocolate I had brought, it all disappeared over the three days and here's the video (play spot the youth worker) to prove that we did well!

I had a lot of fun, and I would like to say thank you to everyone who helped out (including the people at the Fairtrade offices) and everyone who ate the chocolate!

Time to sleep, and then discuss mission and the future of discipleship with those around a trip to see my sisters youth group and time to prepare for leading the 11-14's on Sunday... It's busy, somewhere in all that I have another coffee date to fit in and a boyfriend to see.

On Tuesday night, Chris and I headed to the Royal Albert Hall to see Ludovico Einaudi in concert with a fifteen strong string orchestra from 'Romeo and Juliet country' (their group name is - I have really got no idea - Chris, what are they called?). I loved it, I've seen live music before, but this was in an entirely different league, I'm not a classical music type person, that was, until Einaudi sat down and started playing. I've heard orchestras before, but nothing like what I heard on Tuesday... blown away is an understatement! I will be keeping an eye out for concerts in the future.