Thursday, September 30, 2004

It's a blog world after all

I know I am relatively new to this blogging business and so this may be news to some of you old hands but I am CONSTANTLY amazed at the fact that I get comments! I suppose it's because I don't really think anybody reads this.

Now I know that Coz (currently in Oz) reads regularly and I was told this morning that KT checks in each day (bless u KT!). Ian certainly pays the old blog a visit on a regular basis which is only fair seeing as I read his youthblog with devoted regularity. Yet these are people who know me and have reason to check in. It's the people who I don't know that add comment that I'm really surprised (and certainly thrilled) to read. Of course there might be other people who read without comment and I have no idea who those people might be.

The strange thing about the blog business is that you don't know your audience. Maybe this is something that I'm especially conscious of because I've moved from Medieval and Latin lecturing to youth work. You really CAN'T get those two audiences mixed up for long and survive.

Whenever I prepare a talk or sermon I ALWAYS prepare quite specifically to my audience (By that term I mean the classical Latin sense of those listening not specifically NOT congregation!) Even if my audience is our mixed age family service, as it often is, I still keep that particular mix of people in mind.

This idea of considering your audience is something we covered when we were learning about preaching at the SAOMC last year. We had to compose a series of two minute sermons on one of two set texts and we had to specify what the audience for the sermon was. This was a rather revealing exercise as it showed each of us in our natural habitat as far as churchmanship goes and then challenged us to try something a little bit different.

The strangest thing was delivering a sermon intended for all-age worship to a group of four Anglican ordinands, a Methodist minister in training and a Church History lecturer. Yet the most daunting experience however was deciding to preach to that VERY specific audience. I knew every person in that room well and although it was an exercise, it was still preaching. I was trying to help people explore the bible and deepen their faith - even if I only had two minutes! That was 20 seconds for each member of my audience!

Yet here in blog world, I know some of my audience, others I am getting to know and yet the majority (I flatter myself!) are people I don't know so do how do I address things to my audience? Well as always I don't worry about it TOO much as I know there is Someone decidedly older and wiser than me guiding my thoughts.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

All's Fair in Love and Trade

I feel I really have to blog a bit about the unfair game which I used in my sermon for Harvest on Sunday if only in homage to Dave the wibmeister who inspired me with the idea.

I have to say that I was finding the task of preaching on Trade Justice quite tricky as getting a handle on WHAT some of the organisations were actually campaigning for proved rather difficult. Thank heaven for the Trade Justice Movement which had an excellent site with clear information and stories of real people. Having finally grasped at least a few of the barest basics of international trade economics and the World Trade Organisation, I then endeavoured to make this even VAGUELY appealing to the children from ARK (our Sunday School), the young people from Scouts and Explorers let alone endeavouring to impress my new boss at least a little bit!

Well the unfair game seemed to please a least a reasonably wide section of the assembled populace. The game involved two tables with soft drink bottle skittles (one with cheapo value bottles and one with brand labels for that extra message enhancement!) and two teams of children representing, on one side, the Western World and, on the other side, the Developing World. Each team had a blue ball and a green ball. The difference was that the Western World team had sponge footballs to knock over their skittles whereas the Developing World had two small ballpool balls to represent their more limited resources.

I got some good feedback about the whole service and my contribution but I think the thing that really pleased me was the fact that, according to our Coffee Shop Manager Cindy who is also our Traidcraft co-ordinator, the sales of Fairly Traded goods at our monthly Traidcraft stall were far in excess of our average sales. People must have understood what I was getting at. How often do preachers get that kind of confirmation that their message has been heard?

Inside Out

Day off today again and I spent the middle part of it visiting a National Trust property with my dad. Claydon House is near Buckingham and was the sometime summer residence of Florence Nightingale because her sister Frances was married to a member of the Verney family who owned it. That's not especially relevant but a little lesson in history ;o)

What struck me was that the interior of the house especially one room was of the Chinoiserie school. Now I love Chinese food and I think their written language looks amazing. However... I really can't STAND the chinoiserie style of interior design. It freaks me out. All twiddly bits and scary little men with beards looking out at you. Now because I didn't like the inside, I spent a lot of time in some rooms looking outside and the view was ABSOLUTLEY GORGEOUS!

It made me think.... If we make our homes too comfortable don't we just stay in them? Also by that argument if we make our churches that comfortable... do we lose the impetus to look out? Furthermore, thinking of Brighton on Sunday... if we make our country really comfortable... do we fail to look out at the world?

So today is the day to thank God for a little discomfort, now and then, as sometimes it's just what we need to get going!

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Harvest Jestival

Last night was the Harvest Barn dance at All Saints'.

We've normally had a supper and home grown talent but this year we had a band called Jubilation who were excellent and a pair of callers to help us with the dances.

We cleared all the chairs of our medieval parish church to the sides leaving marvellous open space in the middle with tables at the side. I love to see the church when it's cleared like that. I always think it looks like it's full of opportunities without the chairs in the way.

The congregation revelled with a bit of Dashing White Sergeant and much Stripping of the Willow (my own personal fave!) and feasted on some delicious jacket potatoes and fillings followed by ample shares of apple pie. Also the accompaniment of beer from our local brewery Rebellion which was kindly donated by a parishioner and a healthy portion of wine left over from our last event made the evening a really good time.

The Explorer scouts kept popping down from the church hall to check out my dancing but they never managed to see me which became more and more funny because it really WAS a serious of coincidences that I was doing something else each time they came! However many of them have seen me do the banana dance and I think that is probably my best work so they would only have been disappointed!

I really love it when the church community comes together like that and has fun. It really is a harvest of our community. This really is a great year! I think I can even cope with turning thirty when life's this good!

Friday, September 24, 2004

Mini me

Today I had a curious internet experience. A friend of mine recommended a place called the Habbo Hotel. This is a sophisticated kind of chat room designed mainly for teenagers tho the two people I got chatting to (and indeed chated up BY!!!) were 20 and 18.

You start by creating a little weemee kinda figure and then u can meet other weemees in the lobby or in a Pizza restaurant and other places

You can also create your own room and put in furniture and all sorts - even a picture of the Queen Mother if you want.

The interesting thing is that you can join a special club where you get cool clothes. The whole materialistic deal extends even to our alternate personalities!

Makes me think of quite a few bible passages:
Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds (Philippians)
"Now we see as through a glass darkly... then we shall see face to face." (Corinthians)
"Do not strive for the treasure that perishes" (ooh can't remember where)

We all KNOW that material things mean nothing and yet... and yet we still care about them. Why? We KNOW that God knows what we are like underneath without any flimflam (marvellous word!) and yet we hide ourselves in a world of clothes, cars, shoes and the rest.

Thursday, September 23, 2004


Having resisted the temptation of a "Creative box" of lego in Woolworths this morning I walked back to my office with the big bag of popcorn for our film night on Saturday. As I passed our local "pound" shop I saw lots of brightly coloured storage boxes. Normally this reminds me that I need to tidy my office but, as I am gazing at a clear desktop as I type, (YES REALLY!) that didn't occur to me this time. No what struck me was that amongst all the useful stacking shelves and whacky purple boxes with silver lids there was a CAT Carrier. I was struck with this image of my youth work resources neatly stacked along with a cat in a cat box staring out at me as I'm typing my blog!

It also reminded me of a story that, I think I'm right in saying, Canon Vincent Strudwick told when he preached at evensong at All Saints' once. He was talking about curious customs and how we should examine why we do things with reasonable regularity. There are indeed many intriguing practices (especially in a church like ours) that, when explored, actually open your eyes to a depth of spirituality that is sometimes surprising. There are also, however, things which we do that are inexplicable and occasionally ridiculous. It was these latter activities that Vincent (I really do think it was him but apologies if anyone else remembers it being them!) addressed his story to.

Community memory has it that there was a church in a certain town where the parishioners had gathered on a Sunday morning for their regular Eucharist and during the service a cat wandered in and sat in a pew. This struck them somewhat and after the service the people serving coffee gave it a little saucer of milk. It drank the milk and left.

The next week the same thing happened and one of the parishioners had brought the cat a little treat as well; some chicken. The weeks came and went and so did the cat. After a while the cat came more often than Sunday and spent most of its time in the church receiving titbits from devoted fans, young and old.

Then one Sunday, during the Eucharist the cat suddenly ran out in front of the priest and almost tripped him over as he was about to give people communion. Fortunately one of the servers caught the cat and, taking her girdle from round her waist, used the rope to secure the cat to the lady chapel screen.

The church council met later that week and the issue of the cat was raised in Any Other Business. It was agreed that, during services, the cat should be tied up as they had done on Sunday.

So it was that the next Sunday, one of the servers was sent to catch the rather reluctant cat and tie it with one of the girdles to the screen by the lady chapel. At the end of the service, the cat was released and given its usual treats by devoted fans, young and old.

The weeks passed and gradually the cat began to scratch less and in fact after a time the cat would go and sit by the lady chapel screen waiting to be tied up.

Years passed and the old vicar retired. A new vicar came and the cat continued to be tied up during the service each week. Then more years passed and the cat didn't drink as much milk and seemed less keen on the treats from its fans now somewhat older and some others still young.

When more years had passed, the cat continued to come in every Sunday and sit by the lady chapel screen, where it was duly tied up by one of the servers. The cat moved a little slower each week and eventually, sadly, one day the cat came in, sat by the lady chapel screen and when the server went to tie it up, she saw that the cat had died.

The church council met later that week and the issue of the tied-up cat was on the agenda. Though no-one could rememeber why they did it, or how it came about, they all agreed that they should by a new cat so that it coul dbe tied to the lady chapel screen during the Sunday service.

This wonderful story has led to a new phrase in our church. If a tradition is viewed as curious, spurious or lacking in reasonable motivation of any kind it is questioned wiht the phrase, "That's a bit tied-up-cat isn't it?"

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

From Brownies to Belly Dancing

It struck me this morning as I read a poster for some new users of our church hall that the Brownies would be followed on a Wednesday evening by the Belly dancers. How can people say that the church isn't connected with what's going on in the world when we have such a breadth of society within our church buildings?

In our church hall alone we have the various activities for my young people as well as the beavers, cubs, scouts, ventures/explorers, beekeepers, kickboxing, yoga (oooh contraVERsial!) two pentecostal churches, the national blood donors, our church coffee shop, a playgroup, our mother and toddler group, a support group for carers, a bereavement charity called Cruse, local music societies and orchestras, Brownies and now... belly-dancing! Not to mention the various private parties it's hired for (including my forthcoming 30th birthday!!).

If that's not 'life in all its fullness', what is?

Monday, September 20, 2004

Greater love

Sunday seemed to be the musical day this week. In the morning I was cantor for the psalm at our main Sunday service (first time before a full non-summer congregation!) which was a little nerve-racking and I was literally quaking in my boots [as I was wearing my "I love them so much" black suede boots! :0)] but it seemed to go well. Intriguingly a long-standing member of the congregation said to my friend, "Sarah should be in the choir!" which was lovely despite the fact that I AM in the choir and have been for YEARS but, since I became the youth worker, I sit with my young peopel in the congregation not with with young people in the choir at our Sunday morning service. Bizarre however as I STILL sing wiht the choir at choral evensongs and this kind woman comes to evensong quite often! Ah well!

Indeed it was choral evensong last night with some fantastic music. Murril in E, Clucas responses (scrunchy goodness!), Batten's "O Sing joyfully" and to crown it all Ireland's "Greater Love hath no man than this" It was all amazing. I find that singing music like that or listening to it really does help me connect to God. I don't know if it's about using a God given skill in singing or if it's something more fundamental and "in the bones" but I know that it's amazing. Sometimes it just clicks and there's nothing wrong with the world.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

zero to hero

We had the first Xp (chill out service) of the term this evening on the topic of CHANGE. The musical backdrop was provided by Zero7 which is amazingly hypnotic music - so hypnotic that I hadn't noticed there was a vocal section to track three. I had deliberately planned to miss out track five because it was mainly vocals. The amazing thing was, though, that not only did I come to a pause in my monologue for a short time of reflective personal prayer but also the words fitted with our theme. It talked about change and the singer expressed thanks for the support she got when she was low. It was brilliant.

I chose change as a theme because there are so many young people who have moved school or are leaving for uni or going to college or getting a new job and I wanted to remind them that God's there through all of life and understands the change but that God is unchanging. This means that NO MATTER WHAT God is there for us, loving us.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Thank Crunchie

Having finished the Harvest service sheet for our Harvest Festival (Sunday 26th September at All Saints' Parish Church High Wycombe 9.45am) and sent off the email reminders for next week's meeting of our Youth Council and a meeting for youth leaders the week after, I actually managed to leave the office behind today and on a Friday too! It is a strange thing when you do lots of hours in the evenings and weekends that you sometimes forget that this means you can have times when you don't work during the day and still do a full week of work.

So today after a quick coffee with my Dad who had just got back from Yorkshire and a few days at a festival (a classical music festival that is - he can do texting but he's not THAT trendy a 71yr old!) I set off for Milton Keynes to see my friend Claire from the SAOMC.

We had a splendid lunch together at the Swan near her church and then in the afternoon when her children (4 and 12) came home we had a splendid time with German homework, a sleeping bag FULL of cuddly dog toys, cups of tea made in her daughter's play kitchen, a salad carefully cooked in her play cooker, and all to the accompaniment of Daddy Day Care on DVD!

After a lovely family meal, Claire's husband let me read through the Panto The Three Little PYGs which he's written for their young people to perform. Some marvellous jokes and puns even if some of them were HAMMED up a bit too much!

After all that, Claire seemed worried that I might have wasted my time off.Personally I thought it was all WONDERFUL fun.

Then the newsletter from SAOMC came through with these observations on they joys of parenthood and I thought they were bit mixed but still worthy of note:

Grandchildren are God’s reward for not killing your own children.
Mothers of teens now know why some animals eat their young.
Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn’t have said.
The main purpose of holding children’s parties is to remind yourself that there are children more awful than your own.
We childproof our homes, but they are still getting in.
Be nice to your kids. They will choose your nursing home one day.
If you have a lot of tension and you get a headache, do what it says on the aspirin bottle: “take two aspirin” and “keep away from children”

A bit harsh in places but that comes from the single person who doesn't live with them. Nevertheless this was my favourite one:

You spend the first two years of their life teaching them to walk and talk. Then you spend the next sixteen telling them to sit down and shut up.

Think on!

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Seasons of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness

Today is the Feast of St Cyprian
An African convert to Christianity. In his first letter to A man called Donatus he fulfils his promise to tell Donatus about the difference God has made to his life. He begins with words rejoicing in the season of autumn. (Translation courtesy of CCEL)

Caecilius Cyprian to Donatus sends, greeting. You rightly remind me, dearest Donatus for I not only remember my promise, but I confess that this is the appropriate time for its fulfilment, when the vintage festival invites the mind to unbend in repose, and to enjoy the annual and appointed respite of the declining year. Moreover, the place is in accord with the season, and the pleasant aspect of the gardens harmonizes with the gentle breezes of a mild autumn in soothing and cheering the senses….

He goes on…

But if you keep the way of innocence, the way of righteousness, if you walk with a firm and steady step, if, depending on God with your whole strength and with your whole heart, you only be what you have begun to be, liberty and power to do is given you in proportion to the increase of your spiritual grace. For there is not, as is the case with earthly benefits, any measure or stint in the dispensing of the heavenly gift. The Spirit freely flowing forth is restrained by no limits, is checked by no closed barriers within certain bounded spaces; it flows perpetually, it is exuberant in its affluence. Let our heart only be athirst, and be ready to receive: in the degree in which we bring to it a capacious faith, in that measure we draw from it an overflowing grace.

Sun-a-rise Early in the morning!

Wednesday morning dawned ( I know because I saw it when the alarm went off AN HOUR EARLY by accident) with the return of the 7.15 am morning prayer and 7.30 am Eucharist. The year long vacancy had meant that we didn’t have morning prayer until 8am on a Wednesday which was early enough for me thank you VERY much. However a bleary-eyed youth worker wrapped in a massive coat (it’s so COLD when it’s early) set off at 6.55 this morning and won the yellow shirt of arriving before all the other early risers. Despite this good start I also won the “How many yawns can you get into one service of morning prayer” contest! There was also a certain amount of sniggering resulting from the reading from the last chapter of Job and the number of camels and donkeys which attested Job’s return to happiness!

The day continued with the bizarre trip out with the verger to buy a new loo seat for the gents’; toilet in the church hall. COULD we find one which was just normal not mahogany, silver effect or clear plastic with smarties, barbed wire or myriad oceania? Eventually Arguus came to the rescue but not before I had given in to the temptation of some new cushions on sale in Woolies!.

This evening is the PCC – oh joy oh rapture I hear you cry! – and I’m regaling the assembled company with some prayers and letters from St Cyprian of Carthage (being as it is his feast today!). I thought I would share them with you too as Cyprian seems to have been marvellously seasonal for his own feast date!

Monday, September 13, 2004

I don't hate Mondays

Monday and the glorious day off! A busy weekend past (hence blog silence) but a great one. On Saturday we had forty five young people at Pulse our monthly youth club. We had a new feature – the cool wall! This allowed everyone to decide what was cool or uncool or even subzero or “Oh please R U KIDDING me?”(very uncool). The wall featured George W. Bush among others as “Oh please R U KIDDING me?” and the subzero also included Bush but this was a place where some of the lads have been hanging out all summer. They were telling me that they picked up a sofa someone had thrown out and they’ve put it inside a large bush. They’ve also decorated it with hubcaps and all kinds of things. I was really pleased to hear that there are young people out there who do not need lots of expensive gadgets to keep themselves occupied and enthused.

We also unveiled our mural to the young people on Saturday. Last year we painted half of the wall depicting the Easter story and this summer we completed it with the other half showing the Christmas Story and the story of Creation from Genesis 1 in seven circles in the sky above the stable. The seventh day shows God resting. We had an interesting discussion about how we were going to draw God. In the end we have God, in front of a tropical sunset and palm tree, lying in a hammock with a hat over God’s face and just some long shaggy hair showing.

On Sunday David, our new rector and vicar, led his first Sunday morning service and preached on the subject of forgetfulness and of Grace. There was an amazingly warm and positive vibe about the whole service and everyone really bonded together in community then and at the shared lunch afterwards. I think this is going to be a really exciting time at All Saints’ and I can’t wait!

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Lessons in Life: Lesson #1

When picking herbs for your delicious supper... don't pick herbs in the dark. If you DO pick herbs in the dark check them carefully so that you don't end up with pork chops with mushrooms, thyme ... and three panicked woodlice!

Friday, September 10, 2004

Mistaken Identity

I had rather a strange experience this morning of being mistaken for a caterer. I went to the King's Church for a meeting with all the Christian Youth Workers in the town and I was carrying a tray of cake from the abundant spread that our congregation provided for the new vicar and his guests last night. It was amazing how the silver platter had people hypnotised. The people on reception and the lovely ladies in the church office invited me to "leave it over there" or said something like "Ok I'll take it, dear" no matter how much I kept saying "I'm coming to meet Stewart" or "NO I'm attending the meeting!" They seemed transfixed by the shiny silver platter which MUST mean I was delivering cake. Even when Adam (who's a youth worker in training and guitar dude) helped me out they were still confused. It made me think: maybe I should hang up the casual wear and start power dressing. When I'd finished laughing I tucked in to the splendid cakes. Bakers of All Saints' you are supreme!

Thursday, September 09, 2004

... and there was much rejoicing

Last night our new vicar was inducted, presented, licensed and installed. This was a wonderful service which involved some marvellous medieval traditions including the archdeacon leading David by the hand to his new chair and Cathy, David's wife, ringing the bell so that the town would know David had taken up his post. For me one of the best moments was one which many may well have found rather tiresome; the reading of the license. It is a sad fact that I find these documents exciting because the wording of them hasn't changed since medieval times. The only difference is that they are now in English, not Latin like the many charters I used to set my MA in Medieval Studies students. As the Bishop read "I Alan Lawrence, Bishop of Buckingham to David Antony, clerk in holy orders, greeting" and "The Bishop of Oxford sends greetings to all to whom these presents may come or may concern" my sad little Latin-loving heart leapt. All the more sad was the fact that I was translating it all back into Latin in my head. Isn't it a fortunate thing that I've moved into youthwork and therefore don't display the sadness of loving Latin quite so often? But oh dear! As I was discussing off-the-wall blogs with the Blogmeister Dave on Tuesday I suggested a Latin blog and in my even greater folly I have now begun one!

For those of you not skilled in Latin, the first entry (and indeed so far ONLY entry) is an explanation of the name. I have called it MEPHEMERIS because the words for web and log (well diary really) in Latin are araneam and ephemeris and if you run thes togetheryou get araneamephemeris and so like weblog to blog you get mephemeris. Yes I know. I need to get out more! I'm working on it!
Ave atque vale.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

A Brave New World

The church office is all abuzz this morning as our new rector is being inducted and installed tonight. This means that our year-long vacancy without vicar or any other clergy is finally coming to an end. This morning we shared Morning Prayer (without Eucharist) for the last time and tomorrow we will celebrate Morning Prayer followed by the Eucharist for the first time in fifty three weeks. It's rather an exciting time and as we wait expectantly for the future to begin it does rather feel like the air is pure caffeine as we're all quite hyper - well as hyper as the Church of England can get. I'm really looking forward to David starting as he's such a fun guy to be around and I really do think he's going to take the church in a wonderful new direction. However, for fifty three weeks I have been an autonomous youthworker with a "Licence to thrill". I've been able to do new things and come up with interesting ideas for our services and only had to tell people what I'm going to do... not ASK someone. Our youth holiday this summer involved some fantastic worship together and I'm planning on the group bringing some of that to the congregation but realisation dawned last week that I would have to ASK the rector if that was acceptable. I'll have to get used to being in that role again. Yet my time spent doing all kinds of parishy things that don't involve young people will also be much reduced so I might actually get time to read the stack of incredibly inspiring books I bought in Taize this summer. All in all it is a HOOBTASTIC day and the sunshine is helping a great deal. It's even making me forget the VAST to do list I have today in preparation for the youth events this week. Deo gratias!

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Once upon a time

Once upon a time can happen anytime. This is the by-line of an advertisement for a new film called A Cinderella Story which I saw today when I was in town. It made me think about the whole romanticism deal; the idea of “Once upon a time” ; of the possibility that there might be a fairy tale out there waiting for each of us. Now this is mostly a female obsession: the idea that Prince Charming is out there somewhere waiting to sweep us off our feet. So many of us, particularly those who are single, (though perhaps the experience of people in a relationship is similar though not the same) spend our lives waiting for the fairy tale to begin and feeling depressed when it doesn’t happen when in fact the story of our life began at our birth and arguably before even then. Indeed, surely the story of our lives is better than a fairy tale? We dream of the Prince Charming deal but in fact would we want the rest of the fairy-tale?

I know that for me the Shrek films have helped debunk a lot of my childhood whimsy (though unicorns, flying horses and dragons are still cool!) and given me a heavy does of reality about what a real fairytale might be like. Cinderella ends up married to a guy she danced with three times? Likewise Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and most of the rest. Wouldn’t I far rather fall in love with a wonderful person whom I’ve grown to love for their foibles as well as their talents? Fantasising about the perfect man is foolishness surely? Much better to be down to earth, grounded and realistic?

In contrast with the fairy-tale I saw advertised, this evening I’ve been watching Equilibrium; a film which depicts a world where human emotion has been controlled like a disease because of all its negative effects such as anger, murder and war. It features a man, a cleric in fact whose job is too seek out and destroy those who give in to emotion. We first meet him burning the Mona Lisa and other priceless works of art as well as killing all those who indulge in “sensing”. As the story progresses he misses his daily dose of emotion suppressant and explores the simple pleasures of a snow globe, the rain falling, hearing music and holding a puppy. So although I might not want to live in a fairy-tale world, I certainly wouldn’t want a grey world entirely lacking in wonder.

Of course the ideal must be a balance somewhere in between, much as we have in our modern western world, in fact. Yet which is heaven going to be more like? The safe harmless grey world? Or the fairytale world of cats in elegant footwear with the voice of Antonio Banderas? I think heaven must be something entirely different from both but I’m not certain what.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Teenage angst

This morning in our youth group we discussed the "suicide pact" of teenagers Laura Rhodes and Rebecca Ling. It was a really emotional discussion as at least one member of the group had experience of a friend attempting suicide.

We talked about what might lead to that kind of desperation but mostly about what we would say to someone who felt so sad that they would want to end their life.

I linked it in with
Psalm 139 (which was conveniently set for today in the lectionary) and its message of God's unchanging and unchangeable presence with us and love for us no matter what we do, no matter how stupid we can be, no matter what anyone else thinks.

All sound very heavy... but in fact we also had a good laugh talking about the stupid things we've done as an example of how God knows everything that we do and loves us even if we're embarrassed by it. We talked about the times when we do or say something really silly and we should know better. Not stuff that's "bad" - just silly things that make us look foolish. I started giving examples and... well the session wasn't long enough! For those of you that might remember them they included:

Jam Night...
the Kew Gardens' Golf course...
and the latest... the youth holiday minibus that looked "just like ours!"

Finally, the challenge I set them and surely the challenge we all face is showing people that God loves them or helping them discover it for themselves.


The beginning of the blog news as according to me!

Ok so I've finally given in and started one of these things.

Chances are that I'll forget to do it for days or even weeks at a time but that never stopped me starting a diary!

Today we've continued painting the mural in our church hall and it is looking fantastic already even though it isn't finished yet. We hope to have it all done ready for our first youth group of term next Saturday and the Parish lunch on Sunday for our new vicar who is starting this week.

It is looking like it's going to be a good week already.

I've just (well nearly, almost, mostly) finished planning the session for our youth group tomorrow so should be off to do the exciting business of the food shop very soon.

You can see this is going to be an interesting blog. I have no worries about jumping from topic to topic. So if you can keep up, do. If not. Don't worry.

More thoughts soon.