Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Birthday Girl

It was my eldest daughters birthday today so the perfect excuse to go to the Punjab for lunch. Home then as three of her friends were coming to sleep. Last night we had eight of H's friends for a 'just left year 6 party' at 2.30am I reminded them now might be a good time to go and sleep, hopefully tonights group of fourteen year olds may be more sensible.

And then again.................

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Aggregation, Congregation, Conversation

Went with Liz to Blah Manchester tonight and listened to Andrew Jones aka Tall Skinny Kiwi. The night was entitled "Aggregation: The Emerging Church According to Manchester.” Again the welcome was pleasant red wine, white wine and various juice, however the olives previously experienced had been replaced with more common snacks like bacon nibbles. Perhaps my previous comments had been noted and this was an attempt to reach a wider range of clientele and stop being as middle classed or perhaps they fancied a change.

Anyway found the whole thing rather good tonight, thought provoking and stimulating. I have to say I actually disagreed with some of what was being said. My concern with the emerging church movement has and sadly after tonight still is, that it only reaches a specific group and is to focussed on the discussions around post modernity and the churches response to this western phenomenon.

Andrew tonight was talking about new media and its impact on the way societies now interact with each other and with information. He made the point that his children were more likely to enter a google search when researching for school than pick up a book. This I do not disagree with and have experienced with my own children.

He went on to relate this to society and church, society becoming more of a get culture (how post modern) and the church being able to advocate a giving culture (at least I think that is what he meant).

He went on to talk about aggregation and congregation. Congregation being the way we have always done church, gathered together in one place to be church. Aggregation was a more dispersed way of doing church, making links connecting from one to another going off in unexpected directions, looping, linking a new way of doing church.

Some of what he said is good probably for some people a true way of ‘doing church’ but I have to admit left me a bit cold. I recognise that the aggregated community he talks about has much to offer, this blog is part of such a community, my informal conversations with friends, meals shared and so on are also part of aggregation however no substitute for the church which I feel is important.

Now I realise that many would disagree and I am not looking for an argument these are just my thoughts and what I believe works for me and I suspect some others. A big part of church for me has to be the aspect of community, a community that meets face to face, a community that cares and supports, struggles and strives, gives and receives.

I feel that when Andrew uses the word 'get' he puts upon it many negative connotations. The word get makes me immediately think of self centeredness, the me,me,me attitude. Yet surely church is a place where people can come when they need to receive. Receive is a word that for me suggests safety, refuge and need rather than individualism. The church is a community where these things should be at the heart of its community. A place of community, refuge, safety, hope, incarnation and yet I recognise that so often this is not the case. I am reminded however of the words of Jesus in Matthew 11 "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."

I don’t intend this blog to give any definitive answers or suggest I alone know the way it should be done they are simply my thoughts as another who continues to wonder and struggle with how we will be church in years to come. I am though becoming more sure of the need for us, whichever way we decide to be church, to be more of an incarnational people. For as we are reminded in the Message bible "the word became flesh and moved into the neighbourhood"

Monday, July 25, 2005

The day after the day before

Back to work today, in the prison this morning and visiting a member of the congregation suffering from lukemia this afternoon. Sometimes the job reminds you that being there is sometimes enough.

Came home tired and grouchy think an early night is in order.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Liturgy, Festivity and Monkey Business

It has been two years now since I first started my training for ministry within the URC. Three years since I first started the candidating procedure in earnest and every now and again I have rare glimpses that I am in fact training in the denomination that is right for me.

Today was the christening service where K and myself had been asked to be Godparents. The service was held in the parish church local to R an V. I already felt a sense of unease as neither R and V attend this church but in fact attend the URC in Altrincham. They had however decided to have little R christened here as this was 'the church the family always used'. The vicar was great his sermon challenging yet not condeming which sadly is so often the case when some clergy sense a congregation of none church goers. His relaxed informal style at times shone through, however this was all too often hidden by the ridgid liturgical style that the service followed.

Kathryn I apologise if this offends but how do you cope with this, I cringed as the congregation struggled to follow the order despite reasonably clear guidance and struggled equally with the sung responses we were expected to follow. Still I suppose it wouldn't do if we were all the same and I do acknowledge that lots of people enjoy this and feel a sense of tradition and continuity i just know its not for me, anyway here is a pic of the christening party.

After the service it was back to R and V's to join in the festivities and partake of the mountain of food that K had made. Wow it was fantastic and there was enough for three consecutive days of festivities. The last guests left at about 6.30 and we helped R and V to clear up. By 8.30 we had cleared the house and the last bottle of red wine so we sat down as R and V unwrapped the presents. We had bought them a Bible (predictable or what) and there were the usual array of clothes and silver trinkets.

R's brother had told R and V earlier in the day that he was pleased with the present he had bought as it was a little unusual. We couldn't wait to see what it was, V unwrapped it with anticipation. When we saw it we could not stop laughing, inside was the scariest monkey you have ever seen (see picture below for proof).

The laughter continued right up until the phone rang, it was R's brother, "have you opened my present" he asked. Quite frankly V at this point would have found it hard enough to answer anyway, but when K and myself started doing monkey impressions any kind of response was going to be impossible.

It was a great end to a great day, we were really honoured to be asked to be Godparents to little R and we just pray that she too may grow up to know laughter and happiness and God's presence in her life. Just remember though little R if you don't behave mummy will get the monkey!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Busy Busy Busy

Went to see some friends in Warrington last night, had a great time. Drank perhaps a wee bit too much red wine and eat way too much food. Consequently I rose slowly and late this morning.

K had already been at it for about an hour when I rose cooking enough food to supply a small village for a month. Our friends are having their little girl Christened tomorrow and K agreed to help make the food. gosh that girl knows how to cater.

I spent all afternoon trawling around Chorlton trying to find a 'nice' card. I eventually arrived home empty handed feeling a failure. It was at this point K younger reminded her Mum that she had already bought the card four weeks earlier, I wasn't impressed.

Anyway all the food is round at friends ready for the party, along with chairs and other bits and pieces from our house, I did tell K I thought it might have been easier had we have held the party at our house - she laughed.

Well time for bed now got to get up early in the morning so I can be first in the bathroom, four girls to get ready its a nightmare!!!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Trying to Make it Fit

Spent the day working on Greenbelt plans today, its all going well except for one small detail. I just don't have enough stewards at the moment, I've tried juggling the rota's and rearranged all the points we need to staff and still I can't get ir to fit. Currently however I'm not getting stressed about it, the op's team has a wonderful way of rallying around and I know that one way or another we will manage. However nearer to the time I reserve my right to panic, so if you are free the last weekend in August and have always fancied stewarding at an arts festival just click this link.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

A Funny Day In The End

Middle daughter had her leaving assembly at school today it was sad in one respect the end of her primary school education yet also marked the start of a new beginning. I went to meet my new placement supervisor today he seems great we share a passion (no not theology) in Man City really looking forward to the next two years and working in the churches. Sadly the day once again has been marred by the news of more attempts at causing devastation in London.

I reflected upon that as I sat in the school assembly. The children of year 6 hugged each other sad at the prospect of being parted next week. There were big and small, black and white, there were Christian, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu, there were those who would follow their faith and those who would not believe. Yet the children saw no differences all they saw were friends. The people who plant these bombs seek to destroy all this but it is our responsibility to ensure they do not succeed. This hatred will only be beaten when we no longer talk in terms of them but learn to be friends.

A muslim friend of mine only told me a few days ago that in times of trouble I must read my bible and remember to draw upon my faith. Doing that I am reminded to "love God with all my heart and my neighbour as myself" no matter who they are, what they look like or what they happen to believe!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Reasons To Be Proud

Today is a day for just a little gloat. That's GLOAT and not GOAT. Eldest daughter had graduation day at school. Something her school do to celebrate moving from year 9 to year 10. She won a platinum award the highest she could get. This award is based on attendance, punctuality, academic achievment, contribution to school life and contribution to the community. This combined with excellent SAT results and a good report made Mum and Dad very proud. Other two daughters have done us proud at school this year as well, middle daughter also getting excellent SAT'S (year 6) earlier in the month. Gloat ends!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Drive Safley

According to this report on Sky News the music you listen to in the car has an effect on the way you drive. But then I've always known that lifting your hands to praise God at the same time as driving was going to cause some problems ;-)

Monday, July 18, 2005

A Long Time Coming

I suppose I should have excuses, the truth sadly is that I don't. I kept meening to do it the fact is it just never happened. You see something else just kept getting in the way. Its not even as if I've not had anything to say. Lots of things have happened, there was the surprise U2 concert, the Wychwood Festival experience just to mention a couple, I just never seemed to get the thoughts in my head to make it as words on the screen.

Well today as they say is a new day, today I'm going to start talking about the ordinary things, not waiting for something special but just going to talk to my friends (and the others that stumble along). The good thing about having not blogged was realizing how many people have missed it, even some who I thought might not have noticed. So hopefully I'm back, perhaps not with war and peace every day but back in some small way.

K has gone away for a couple of days today, she needed the break and is probably living it up in some wine bar with her mate as I type, but I do miss her. Anyway enough of my soft cuddly side. It has been a black day in Manchester today, just in case you missed it Shaun Wright Phillips signed for Chelski.

For me he represented the beginning of something new for city and now it feels like its over before it really began. Football can't carry on like this, the big boys coming in waving some cash and getting whatever they want - what happened to loyalty. Chelskis chief exec said this was another example of Chelski investing in British youth. Well he's wrong running a succesful academy is investment this was just daylight robbery. Me bitter and twisted no never.

Well I think I'll make the lunches for tomorrow and then head off for bed. Oh yes weekend was good finished my assignment with a little help (proof reading) from my friends and a Punjab take away to cheer me and K up (thanks Liz). Saturday BBQ with friends. Sunday went to church at one of the churches I am doing my summer placement at. The service was pleasent perhaps a bit to tame and Presbyterian for my liking and I was doing fine until the sermon. "Today's sermon" the preacher announced "is entitled the human condition" within one second I was back with the first assignment I had just finished, oh well he could have preached 2 Kings 22 as well just to make things worse.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Next Instalment

Well as promised a blog. Had a really busy week this week writing assignments and stuff. So not much time to blog really, so the until later (is this a cop out, honestly I will write more tomorrow or the day after,trust me).

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Things to do!

1. Blog
2. Blog
3. Blog
4. You get the picture

This week I promise. I'll do it properley this week.