Monday, November 28, 2011


Advent is now here! What we have been waiting for is just four weeks away! It's time to get the cards written, I have already done most of my present shopping and find the tree under piles of stuff in the loft/garage. There is a lot to do, from practising the prefect roast to writing talks.

At Christ Church we are very fortunate that we start advent by inviting the community for carols and story telling and that there are plenty of things going on for us to prepare properly for the birth of a very special baby. It's going to be a good few weeks for all of the things that are going on. Life doesn't stop at Christmas, it is really only beginning of life! I have several meetings, services and meals to attend, hoping that all are fruitful!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Youth work adventures!

This week has taken a much more relaxed view on work. I have started the only Christmas talk I am doing this year and it had come out of the idea of expectancy. There are a few young children at the moment who seem to be in the press a lot for what is expected of them in the future, same with Jesus really... and there's the obvious connection with expecting Santa to arrive as well. So that's well on it's way to happening. There are other things going on at the moment, a stronger connection with school, staff members and some of the pupils. I seem to have found myself with a PA at school of late, they are really so helpful and God seems to put people in the right place at the right time, and for that I am really grateful.

This weekend sees the annual pilgrimage for many of my colleagues to Eastbourne for Youthwork: The Conference. Gary and Ray are both blogging this weekend and you can follow the progress/thoughts on Twitter using #ywc2011 as well. It is worth it for the snippets of things you hear and see. I wish I was with them, but my training budget has been spent and I am feeling the need to spend a little more time with my friends.

As well as that I am with the young people on Sunday morning, helping them to lead worship, we also celebrated Children in Need a little bit differently for the first time... and it really did make a difference. We watched Black Lightning play (our 'local' band) - they were really good, and have a long road ahead of them. I haven't got the right permission for photos - but some might appear over on the church website. We raised £30 through subs and biscuit sales as well. The church do a lot during these times, it is so easy to raise money for a charity that helps British charities.

I have started to finish the process for buying my own place. I will fully tell that story when I am settled.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Evaluating this week

At the start of this week, I headed to Northampton, via Luton (thanks!), to spend time with a whole bunch of people I have never met before, for training in relationship and sex education. Very full on three days of a lot of serious stuff, a lot of listening, but a lot of fun as well. If you want to have a look at what evaluate do, why not have a look at their website. I can't really tell you a huge lot about it, other than it is an awesome teaching resource and worth the effort. I am hoping that there will be a team in Billericay or Essex in the future, it needs a lot of praying about and asking if this is the right thing for the area. It certainly has given me a lot to think about both professionally and personally.

I met some really wonderful people and did not stop laughing from the moment I met everyone, until I had to leave.

One of the things I can tell you about is the Australians that were sharing the conference centre with us. Being the outgoing person I am, I had to find out why there were in dreary England. Of course, if you don't know what King's Conference centre is near, the next sentence is going to be a shock to you. They are the Australian National Trampoline Team! Kings is next to a huge sports centre that also has a trampoline centre. It was amazing to chat to their coach about what sort of competition they face. Apparently China are the ones to watch. Have a look at their website - I've already spotted the people I 'know'!

For the last couple of days I have been thinking about women in leadership and rules in Leviticus. I have come to the very brief conclusion that there is a lot of context involved, particularly for the Jewish people and that God, who has the interests of His people in His heart, taught His people how to be a doctor, to stop disease spreading. As for women in leadership, I am called and equipped to lead in certain situations. My volunteers look to me and the young people as well, so it is difficult for me to say that women should not be allowed to lead. It is about heart, what God wants for those He loves. At the centre of my ministry is love, and that love comes from God. Those young people I pray for by name and those I can't even begin to imagine are all loved by God and they do need to see that in all that I do with them.

It has been good to be away, but also good to be back. I have seen Alice and Isaac again, both are doing really well! That little boy is going to bring a lot of joy to a lot of people.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

For your sweet tooth!

In Your Arms - Kina Grannis (Official Music Video) - YouTube

If you are like me and you like jelly beans, you will love this video!

The effort and attention to detail is amazing, the story board must've been immense and the patience involved just blows my mind! Both for the people creating the animation and the artist for waiting so long for a video! Real labour of love! :) Made me smile after a day of highs and lows.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

All Saint's Day

The world is getting darker, but there is a promise of hope and light in the future.

In just 7 weeks, we will have the shortest day of the year and then a few days after that, we will be celebrating the birth of the most important man to ever walk the earth.

In the run up to the season that is like Marmite for most, I have found myself heading into London, to celebrate in a church I have known about since I can remember, but have never, ever been inside of, though has recently found itself at the center of the financial world and the church's world for the last two weeks. Standing on the steps of St Paul's, looking out at the tents, that are almost piled high, I wondered what had brought the world to this place - where a sit-in protest is the way for the people's voice to be heard. Anyway, I was eavesdropping - it is hard not to when the people talking are sat under your feet - on a conversation between some tourists and a protester who was commuting to the site every day, the tourists were genuinely concerned and interested in what had been going on. There were reporters and policemen everywhere, including a men in suits with large groups of people around them.

The Tent City at St Paul's
The Church now recognise that they haven't handled this well, but later on, I watched the general meeting and saw that the church had asked for the campsite to provide a group of people to liaise with them on a regular bases - whatever you think or know about the church, let me tell you this - we do things by relationship and you can not have a liaison with a different person every day. The group discussed the idea of having just 4 people to talk to the church, which I think is a fair idea, but because of what they stand for, you can't allow people to feel as though they have more power than anyone else (because that's where the mess comes from as I understand it) though the lady leading the meeting clearly had more power than anyone else! I came away more confused and wondering why it felt like I'd been at a deanery synod meeting for 2 days straight, it is very difficult to listen to something and understand what might be going on, when you have no clue!

A lot of the protesters took the opportunity to video the meeting, a couple had laptops, some were eating, people were coming and going, and there was every opportunity for me to go up to the microphone and tell them all to go home!

Anyway, back to standing on the steps - 5pm arrived and it was time to go inside for the start of the Sung Eucharist, now walking into St Paul's was immense. I have been inside 3 cathedrals in my lifetime, that I can remember - my parents might correct that, but since being a youth worker, I have had the opportunity to stand in Ely, Chelmsford and Canterbury cathedrals - and I now realise that all of these buildings blow me away. I am by no means the most clever person on the earth, so that these buildings have been constructed, leave me in so much awe and wonder. St Paul's just has a majesty about it. It is clean and feels uncluttered, leaving all the glory to God. Even walking down the isle felt different from every other place I have ever been in and sitting under the dome, looking at the paintings, the carvings and the length of the building makes me feel insignificant, but it was All Saint's Day, so there was an overwhelming sense of love and hope too. The sound just carries so much in that place too. I came away feeling really pleased that I had spent time, doing what God has called me to do, in a place that has been a beacon for many, but also wondering about the relevance for the younger people in the church, of participating in a service like that. Who knows I might be bringing my young people into London for an All Saints Day service in the future!

I am off to find out about the benefits of an oyster card...