Monday, October 31, 2005

Sermon 30th October evensong


Old Testament Reading Daniel 7.1-18

In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion, and had eagles wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a mans heart was given to it. And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things. These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.

New Testament Reading Luke 6.17-31

And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all. And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of mans sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

The first reading we heard this evening came from the book of Daniel. This is a book which has a mixed history. Children know well the story of Daniel in the lion’s den and of the three young men in the fiery furnace, Shadrach Meschach and Abednego and yet it is also a text with elaborate dreams and visions such as the passage we heard this evening. So what is this book about?

The book of Daniel falls into two distinct sections. It tells first of Daniel and his companions in the first 6 chapters then there are six chapters dedicated to Daniel’s dreams.

The book as a whole, scholars agree, was written after the desecration of the temple in 168 and before its restoration in 165 under Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The second section dates from that time whereas chapters 1-6 are collected from the diaspora era. This was probably based on an oral tradition from the time of Alexander. Daniel is not perhaps so much an historic figure as a figure of legend reinterpreted by the author. The way that the character Daniel appears in other apocryphal texts like Susannah and Bel and the Dragon is reminiscent of the retelling of legends of Hercules and other heroes in secular literature.

Chapter 7 from which our passage comes takes cardinal place uniting the two sections of the book. Chapters one to six establish the life and character of Daniel and Chapters 8-12 are essentially a commentary on chapter 7. It’s also worthy of note that Chapter 7 is curiously a chapter written in partly in Hebrew and partly in Aramaic. Chapter 7 is also connected to chapter 2 which retells the king’s dream of four kingdoms.

So this is the history of the composition of the text but what of its meaning?

The passage paints a vivid picture such as to fire the imagination of great painters into painstaking recreation of the images involved:

The great storm churning up the waters of the sea and from that chaotic action the coming fourth of four huge beasts:
The first like a lion with eagle’s wings
The second a bear ravaging three ribs in its mouth
The third a four-headed beast like a leopard with four black birdlike wings
The fourth beast, the most terrifying of them all, with 10 horns and human eyes. Portrayed by some artists like a triceratops

Then we see the ancient of days on a fiery throne with wheels of fire sending out a river of fire which destroys the four beasts.

Then in contrast to the chaotic arrival of the four beasts, a man comes from heaven amidst clouds. This man is led to the figure on the throne and:
Verse 14 quote.
And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
The passage then continues to explain the significance of the four beasts as four kingdoms

These are generally agreed to be the four great kingdoms: Babylonians, Medes with the Persians, Hellenists or Greeks and the Roman empire.

And the last figure of course is associated with Christ

The beasts in the vision emerge from chaos whereas the son of man emerges from glory.

These great kingdoms will fall away but the kingdom led by the one who comes from heaven will not fade.

Yet many have gone further than the basics of this interpretation. For example in the medieval period the book of Daniel was the source for a book giving guidance on interpreting dreams and one man, named Joachim of Fiore used the book to describe the end not just of these kingdoms but of all kingdoms. His apocalyptic interpretation was picked up by the English Chronicler at St Alban’s. Matthew Paris’ used Joachim’s interpretation of this passage which described “a time two times and half a time” (verse 25) to predict the world’s end in 1250 (though he revised this somewhat dramatically in 1251).

Joachim and Matthew among many others treated the book of Daniel as a puzzle which required solving. The modern world is buzzing with all that lies within The Da Vinci Code, seeking desperately for a deeper mystery, but the Book of Daniel has been inspiring such reflection and puzzlement for many more years. Yet this passage of Daniel and similar passages in other books are more than puzzles and it is wrong to treat them as that as it devalues them. As Br John of Taize has said

“There is a love of the arcane and the convoluted, and the mystery of God is in danger of being reduced to a riddle or puzzle to be solved.”

The book of Daniel portrays the end times as this world outside attacking the kingdom until one comes to destroy the kingdoms of the earth yet as our second reading demonstrates Jesus is the one who comes and declares the kingdom is HERE the kingdom is NOW.

Our bible study should be informed by study and by history but it should not spiral into a fascination with the curious and the mysterious world of visions. It is important to understand the meaning of passages such as those in Daniel yet it is far more important for us to turn to the Good News such as the words of Jesus in our second reading.

The importance of the kingdom of God does not lie in the understanding of the complexities of Daniel’s vision but in the outliving of Jesus’ desire for his people. God’s kingdom is not built upon the destruction of the earthly kingdoms but in the transformation of the hearts of his people.

Quote first beatitude.
Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.

Translated so much more clearly, for me in the modern translation:

God blesses those who realize their need for him; for the kingdom of Heaven is given to them

These beatitudes speak of God’s way for us to live and God’s rewards in opposition to the world’s way and the world’s rewards:

The kingdom of God does not lie in the overpowering of humanity. It is given to us. Yet we must be ready to receive it.

But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

How can we be ready? Well it is not great mystery. It is not something that needs deep demystification and explanation. It is there clear for us:

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.

The Mystery of God does not lie in the mysterious nature of of the details of visions like those of Daniel. The Mystery of God is that in spite of all we do to destroy God’s kingdom, God still welcomes each one of us and calls us to the kingdom.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Shake ripple and roll...

Glorious day in Brighton yesterday.

Met up with some people from Taize who I haven't seen in a while and as predictable Chris, Eleanor and Jo were lovely and Ben was teasing me within three minutes!

The House on the Rock which is their base for their community project is looking great. They're still working on the website but I promise a link to it when they finish that!

Anyway after tea and chat Chris and I wandered into town (FABULOUS SHOPS :oD) and stopped off for a milkshake at Shakeaway (which even has a funky game on the website!). Chris had Pineapple and Jamaican ginger cake shake while I had Chocolate and cherry with snowball - deLIcious. I can't believe this is the place that they have in Reading and I've still not got there yet!!!! Next time DEFINITELY. There's also one in Southampton (certain readers might know more about this than others!!!)

Then I had Tunch (like Brunch but later - so I'm told - tea and lunch) at Momma Cherri's with James. Really cool music and a great atmosphere. It's a friendly but slightly disorganised place. While we were there someone answered the phone and put it down then left the poor person on hold for like ten minutes because she forgot!

Then we had a lovely walk along the sea front with a beautiful sunset and a further wander round the shops before a pint and back to see Chris and drive him to his SPEAK meeting

Friday, October 28, 2005

Rock-a-bye baby

Ok this has been up on several sites and I don't always nick posts from elsewhere but it's a Friday and I'm on leave so...

Check these out!

I particularly like Baby Bumble Bee in the style of Sum 41 which is number 2 on the previews.

Question is should I buy this for the youth group. I think they might love it!!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Great Scot!

Fabulous few days in Edinburgh visiting my friends Mike and Sue and also Wayne who’s been up there buried in some archives.

It was gloomy and moody my first full day there and then today it was bathed in brilliant sunshine and was simply stunning. I tried haggis with neeps and tatties and then today had a somewhat more delectable fish kebab at an Italian restaurant which battles with the chocolate soup I had at the emporium of that name as top nosh for my time here.

I did do things other than eat of course! In fact I have hardly stopped walking round the amazing city , eyes open wide and drinking in all the delights Edinburgh presents. The juxtaposition of Arthur’s seat with the city really is incredible. There’s a bustling city right slap bang next to a huge craggy hill – it’s just stunning! There was the fabulous trip up Calton hill today with splendid views of the city and of Arthur’s Seat and the Salisbury Crags. Wayne and I also had a pleasant stroll around the National Gallery of Scotland including the delights of Vermeer’s Jesus at the house ofMary and Martha and some other spectacular landscapes. There was also some absolutely wonderful modern stained glass at the castle and both cathedrals (of Episcopal church and church of Scotland).

I’m now travelling down the east coast with absolutely spectacular views of the sea and rolling hills with glorious blue skies. It is true what they say; on a clear day you can see forever! I’ve had the delights of seeing Newcastle upon tyne and Durham cathedral as well as sheep in curiously precarious places and lots of fabulous coastline. Seeing the sea today makes me even more keen to go to Brighton on Saturday (if it is at ALL possible for me to be more keen!) and meet some friends and even get to eat at Momma Cherri’s soul food shack.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Being paid peanuts!

Thanks to Ian C from our Taize group for this one. It's a real encouragement to me in my youth ministry. I hope it is for you too.

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schultz, the creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip. You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just read them straight through, and you'll get the point.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winner for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remembers the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.


The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.

"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia." (Charles Schultz)

(SLH: what if you're IN Australia, though? ah well....)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Wallace and Grommit

Just seen Wallace and Grommit and the Curse of the Were Rabbit... FANCHEESYTASTIC

Oh seriously it was hysterical!

Some of the puns were SHOCKINGLY bad (I think they must have all sat down and said "right, what rabbit words can we get to mean something else????!!!" and used ALL of 'em) but I ended up clapping some bits they were so good (as did the guy next to me!).

The rabbits are just PERFECT (and a little ewok like in places!) the gadgets are as stupendous as ever and I could watch it al over again right now.

Before it was a little short based on the penguins from Madagascar which seemed really good until the main feature outshone it SO categorically.

I was particularly thrilled to see some lovely little Latin jokes tucked away in there (will need to watch again to catch a few others) as well as some grate (!) works of literature.

Anyone who had any doubts that Nick Park could pull off a full length feature must be eating there words by now.


Saturday, October 22, 2005

Mural high ground

Fabulous day painting the mural at High Wycombe CofE school. We watched it "nearly" rain all day though fortunately never really make it while we were there.

This painting day follows a scarily long process of design with the children of the school and with our
teenagers and it's still not entirely finalised but it was wonderful to see that white wall getting less white and I'm thrilled that we're going to have made a mark on
the place for many years to come.

All we have to do now is work out which two miracle stories to put in the boxes! We've got the Nativity, the Last Supper and Easter in three and two blank for the moment. We want a miracle story that is easily understood from a single picture.

Then when we're done there it's over to the adjacent wall for what had been planned to be the parables of Jesus but we're not so sure now! The wall has been refaced to create a completely different shape with a sep and a shelf which just cries out for something on split levels. I'm repressing the medievalist in me who wants to design a doom!

All exciting stuff

Then this evening we had a cool session picking tracks for our new youth band to start learning. Some of the tracks had to come with a warning

***Sarah WILL dance to this track - You have been warned!!!***

It is a sad truth that I have reached that age when at least SOME people think I'm not cool enough to boogey on down and strut my funky stuff and it isn't even my OWN children telling me - I thought I'd have at least until then to shake it on down!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Lend a hand

Some fabulous little sketches from Lejo which Ian flagged up.

I particulalry love this one and this one is a close second!

Fans of fingerbobs... welcome to the 21st century :D

Lad's day out

The first proper post has gone up on Fem in YM....

Check it out.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Blogging is essentially selfish?

At the panel discussion on blogging at Greenbelt 05 somebody posed the question:
"Aren't bloggers essentially arrogant" and in many ways blogging can be a fairly self-centred "Look at me! Look at me! Look at me!" activity. However as with all failings, I think an awareness of the failing is the beginning of combatting it.

Well some of us see a blog as not only a place for individuals but for communities. I know I certainly network much more effectively with some people through reading their blogs and commenting and welcoming comments from others on my musings. Yet some take this a step further.

There are already some blogs out there which have more than one author but Ben over at Reluctant Soul (d3parture as was!) is inviting people to join his blogging community. I feel ever so pleased to have been asked to contribute to this first. Anyone else interested in exploring how this community could work in a blog please do leave a comment. Some of you may even have had an invite already.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

old enough to be in a Museum!

Just popped into Wycombe Museum where my picture (with one of our young people) is forming part of an exhibition about places of worship in the town. How exciting!

Will upload pic at some point!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Pumpkin Time

Eaton centre
Originally uploaded by Sarah Hamilton.
This time last year I was in Canada and was reminded of that fact today by the most ridiculous thing. I was sitting in Blackwell's in Oxford with a view of the Sheldonian and the Bodleian and yet I was looking at a coffee and a butternut squash panino (yum!) and it reminded me of the spiced pumpkin latte I grew somewhat fond of at the Starbucks in the Indigo bookshop in the Eaton Centre where I waited to meet Kerry from work so we good catch the streetcar home together (sigh!).

Actually I think I should be banned from book shops as I was "just popping in" to purhase A Short Introduction to Theology whih is on my CYM students' reading list but which I've not read (not that I don't KNOW some... but you know!) so as I was in the theology section at Blackwells...

FAR too many books later I sat in Caffe Nero with said coffee and panino (there were caramelised onions too - hmmm) about to read the book I had atually carried WITH me. Which is only fair Isuppose as it was one of my main reasons for being there. I was having a BIG VISION and planning session. I've found myself rather caught up with (very necessary) minutiae recently and felt the need to step back and reassess the programme and all that jazz. The book in question, Kenda Creasey Dean's, Praticing Passion has particular relevance for two reasons. Firstly it is a book which is all about foussing our efforts on the theology or "why? factor" of our ministry rather than the programme. Secondly I needed to find a passage I wanted to slip inot the first blog post of Fem in YM which is going up at the end of this week one it has final editorial approval from the both of us!

Somewhat ironically I ended up working out the programme for the next eighteen months but, in many ways, that isn't ABOUT programme as about balance and finding the spaces to do training sessions which sometimes get squeezed out if I don't plan ahead.

Veni Video Vici

I can't believe I missed the fact that there's a new Roman drama coming onto BBC 1. Apparently they're having to defend it against accusations of explicit content. James Purefoy (humina humina) of Knight's Tale glory features in the trailer and as my hopes of him being the next James Bond have been disappointed it's good news to know that he'll be on our screens again soon.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Weekend Wedding

Apologies but I was a little too busy over the weekend to put anythng up o
n he
use I was at my friend's wedding. It was a fabulous time especially getting the chance to boogey on down with "me colleagues" and the inspired choice of bacon butties for the evening me
al was most welome indeed! The reception was at a local brewery and AMAZINGLY no-one made any jokes about organising anything there during the speeches! I think my choice moment has to be a little after the fact. One of my friends was given a table decoration to take home but she got a little worse for wear later on so I took charge of it and decided to return it to her the next day. She had only partial recollection of the night's events at that point and when I handed her the flowers saying, "Oh I believe this is yours" she responded, "Oh blimey I didn't nick it, did I????" Pure class!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Story time

WhichJo has flagged up a new progamme starting soon called The Story of God. It's going to be hosted by Robert Winston (he of fertility treatment fame) who has presented quite a few programmes on human beings' health and psychology. There's an article about it over at the Guardian.

Now is it just me or has the profile of religion in TV got a bit higher? All to the good I think.

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Taize community and MOTHER church

In contrast to the discussion at our FRESH network, I've been following various discussions about the Taize community on another site recently which have called into question the integrity of that community and its validity. I've found the comments some people have made about it rather shocking for their visciousness and negativity. People have questioned whether the community actually preaches the gospel, builds up the kingdom and leads people to faith or if instead it opens up paths to the occult. This was such a shocking accusation especially as it came from Christians. Then today I received the newsletter from Taize and there was a passage exploring a very similar issue. It reflects on the pasage in the Gospel of Mark which described Jesus' own family coming close to calling his ministry into question. It reminded me that even Jesus faced opposition from good people with good intentions but confused ideas about what God's will is for his creation:

"Being Christ's brother or sister or mother"
Mark 3:31-35: In this passage, Christ uses a small incident as a starting-point to express something important about what it means to be close to him. His family, worried by the unexpected course his life is taking, come looking for him. When their arrival is announced, he responds with a startling question: Who are my mother and my brothers? … "Doing God's will" or "putting God's will into practice" does not mean following an arbitrary set of rules or submitting to orders that first have to be deciphered and then carried out. It implies a dynamic of trust. If we come to understand, however tentatively, that God loves us, little by little it becomes clear that God's will for us is his love, and nothing else. Trust in this leads to a desire to do what pleases him, a desire that can take root spontaneously and naturally. And what pleases him is nothing other than to love in our turn. It is by entering this dynamic of trust, even if we understand it only a very little, that we find ourselves counted by Christ as his brothers, sisters, and mothers.

Why are "those who do God's will" more important to Christ even than his own family?
What does "doing God's will" mean for me?
What could it mean for me to be Christ's brother or sister or mother?

Monthly Bible meditation from Taize

FRESH expressions of Church

Our local network of youth workers (FRESH) met thi smorning for an AWESOME meeting. IT was fantastic as we all came to an agreement about the fundamentals of our work with young people and planned ways in which we can seek to focus not on events but on discipleship. This is something we've been moving towards for many months but it really came together today and it's all encapsualted in this pretty diagram!

We also looked at doing another 24/7 prayer event next year which should be fantastic!

After the meeting, over lunch, when some people had gone home we also got into a fundamental vs liberal debate about Christians dating non Christians, sex before marriage, women in leadership, whether all "good people" get to heaven, homosexuality and whether or not gay people can be priests, the culpability of Eve, the Great Commision, the value of studying the Scriptures in the original languages and gifts of the spirit. What was so wonderful about this discussion was the level of respect for people of different views. I was pretty much in a liberal minority on pretty much every topic going and I'm sure I shocked a few people but it was really good to be open about where our differences are.

The two passages which featured most prominently for me (with particular reference to who is saved) were both from Romans:

"But what does it say? "The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved." (Romans 10.8-10)


"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8.38-39

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Feminym ways

Great news! Fem in YM, our blog on women in youth ministry went live last night. Kathryn and I met up to finalise a few things and then ceremoniously pressed the post button with a tiny fanfare!

Over the next weeks and months, we'll be posting a variety of different blog posts and discussion starters about youth ministry with particular reference to the role of women.

We'd welcome your comments and contributions so do mosey on over to Fem in YM!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

School's out for autumn

The autumn term tends to be the time of year that I get quite a lot of schools visiting the church and this is a real delight. I made a load of worksheets last year (and have updated them too - though not uploaded those yet - oops!) and am constantly updating the things I say to groups that come round about the history of the building but most importantly about what the Church of All Saints really is... the people who make up its community.

I love seeing the wide-eyed faces of children coming into our church - it is pretty huge! - and leading the group round all the exciting things that we have (notably at the moment our chillout worship section in the north chapel which goes down well because of all the cushions!). It gives me a lot of pleasure and it's an absolute bonus to get a thank you like this one below from Chiltern Gate school who came round last week.

Monday, October 10, 2005

There's Methodism in't

Had a wonderful afternoon with Mark and Daniel (who is 2 and 2 months - awww!) playing on the swings, blowing bubbles round the garden, fun with the wheelbarrow and lots of throwing the ball!

Mark pointed me towards the latest Methodist resource on prayer over at Prayer without Ceasing. This includes an online prayer space (which wouldn't work in firefox for me) and some pics of a 24-7 prayer room. There's also a plae you can pick up some copies of Pilgrimage of Prayer the new booklet on prayer which is a pretty good introduction for people with questions like "how do I pray?"

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Box Doodle Project

Fabulous session creating art with the young people at Pulse yesterday. Thanks to Ben for the link to this fantastic online project to elevate the humble box to a piece of art and its inspiration for our craft session at the youth club.

Photos below which should hopefully soon appear on the project website too!


boxdoodle 011
Originally uploaded by Sarah Hamilton.


boxdoodle 010
Originally uploaded by Sarah Hamilton.


boxdoodle 017
Originally uploaded by Sarah Hamilton.


boxdoodle 021
Originally uploaded by Sarah Hamilton.


boxdoodle 024
Originally uploaded by Sarah Hamilton.


boxdoodle 026
Originally uploaded by Sarah Hamilton.


boxdoodle 028
Originally uploaded by Sarah Hamilton.


boxdoodle 030
Originally uploaded by Sarah Hamilton.


boxdoodle 032
Originally uploaded by Sarah Hamilton.


boxdoodle 034
Originally uploaded by Sarah Hamilton.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Second Aid

Can't believe I forgot to blog about what happened on Friday afternoon. I was just walking home from work around 4.30pm and as I was going along the high street a man crumpled and collapsed on the pavement ahead of me. The whole First Aid deal kicked in and as people gathered around and panicked in a communal fashion I checked that he was breathing (he had conveniently landed in an approximation of the reovery position) and as his colour was good I called for an ambulance and actually got to use FOR REAL (not just as practice at the St John's Ambulance training centre!) the phrase "I have an unconscious breathing casualty"! It is a terrible thing but I was so THRILLED to be able to use what I had learned and handle the situation calmly. The man came to within a minute and was up and talking and by the time the most speedy ambulance arrived he was pretty much fully communicative so I checked with the ambulance crew that I could leave them to it and went on my way! It felt really good!

Bloogle latest

Ok - quick one...

Someone found my blog through searching for the phrase "Bovine Novelties"!

I'm not sure what shocked me most; the fact that someone was searching for that or the fact that I even USED that phrase!! It was in the tale of Prayer Bear which was a bit of silliness I penned a while ago but I might well have sworn to you that I had never written such a phrase in my life!

Friday, October 07, 2005

News of Taize

Sorry the blog has been quiet but I've been a little hectic.

I have some things I want to post about William Tyndale's introduction to his first English translation of the New Testament, the disussion I had with a young person about animals having souls or not AND Thomas More's reflection on virtue.

However I haven't got time to think enough about all that so I was going to post up the report Paolo sent through about Br Alois who has followed Br Roger as leader at the Taize community. Then I saw that Phil has done it already. Darn his speedy typing! So head over there instead!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Staying power

Calling anyone who has ever run a residential with young people!

If you could, what would you say to the people running the residential centre?

Ian over at Youthblog is getting the chance to put the youth ministry side to a group running residential centres. He'd like your input into what he says to them. Mosey on over and give him some answers to these questions:

1. What makes a good/attractive residential centre?
2. What are your biggest gripes about places you've used?
3. What have centres done that made your visit better/easier?
4. What elements have made a stay more difficult?
5. What youthworkery piece(s) of advice would you give residential centres?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Those that teach can

When I was asked to be a fieldwork tutor for the CYM I was really flattered and excited as it meant I was heading bak to my academi roots but using the experience I've gained in youth ministry. It seemed a perfect combination of my skills in many ways. Furthermore, I was looking forward to engaging with active learners again as I found when I was teaching at Reading Uni that I learnt so much more by teaching than I had learnt when I myself was a student. Much has been written on the subject of learning styles though I've never picked up on teaching as a learning style itself. I've often heard other teachers and lecturers share that they too have experienced this accelerated learning through teaching. It is something about consolidating what you already know and crystallising it into a form that is understandable to other people. It speaks to you again afresh because of the refleaction.

I had my first three-way meeting with one of my CYM students today and discovered (as I rather suspected I might) that I know far more about youth work/ministry practice, theological reflection, time management and many other things than I would have given myself creidt for. It was a wonderful experience.

This was in some contrast to SAOMC this evening where I struggled to concentrate (this may well have been due to the returning headache :o( though I don't think this was all.) on the history of the church in the 17th century and then the Psalms - both things which interest me but somehow they just didn't click tonight well not as much as they should have.

Perhaps it is this learning through teaching style that draws me to ministry (youth or otherwise) as it means I can learn about my faith, about God and about the Church as I teach others about those things.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Youth Ministry, Youth Work or Youth Colonisation?

Unfortunately I've been laid up with a horrible lurgy all day but Ben M (of d3parture, RIP) drew my attention to this article by Pete Ward over at Youth Specialties. [This really is blogging by stealth, Ben!]

In all honesty I've only skimmed it barely through my horible headache but, as Ben sugested, I think it does speak to the Ministry/work debate. I'll read it when my head is less fuzzy and then comment.

Return of the Sith

Many moons ago I posted something about the final Star Wars film which I called the Sith Sense and ever since I have been getting hits to my site through people looking for the Sith Sense. Today (with the power of the broad band) I disovered why.

Darth Vader can read your mind. It's kinda freaky! Try it out.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

On a mission?

This weekend has been taken up with hen night activities for Lis and therefore much dancing (and now much aching feet!). Being out on a Saturday night is always a bit of a shock for me as I am usually working and being out at a comedy club with disco was a pleasantly different from the norm. However I didn't leave my ministry behind and being in that place made me think just how irrelevant Church, in the traditional sense, must be to most of the people I was dancing with (even thought there were at least 60 people out on hen or stag nights that might well be a preliminary to a church wedding).

Then today I saw on Lev's blog this link to a "news" story about a new style of church ministry. Much of what is described as "new" is the kind of thing I have heard of in various places over the past few years. I think this is in so many ways the way forward for us and is the way that many churches are already going. I don't have any answers to it but having attended our Harvest Festival service this morning, which closely resembled the Harvest Festival service when I was 6, I think there must be some way we can engage people in something new. This is a service which existing church-goers seem to find compelling yet I can imagine that somebody who had walked into our church today would have found it all rather strange and old fashioned.

I think the way we do youth ministry is often much more responsive to those we’re endeavouring to reach than our ministry with all ages.

I was talking about this with my friend and she pointed out that even though there were vast hordes of people strutting their funky stuff with us, it didn't mean that they wanted their whole lives to be like that and they might well want some space and reflection time which church could offer.

Would they KNOW that Church could offer them that though?

I don't think it's up to them to find out. It's up to us to show them. How? Now that is the question!

We are fortunate at All Saints' to have a new community missioner, Nicky, who's main task is to look outside our congregation to the community and work on engaging not with those who know church but with those who would never even have thought of it.

I know I’m pretty new at looking at all this and there are much more experienced and well-read outreach/mission people out there (I await comment!) but these are just the beginnings of my musings.

bloger dot OM

I'm slightly frustrated at the mo as the C button on my keyboard is playing up and often doesn't work. This means that chatting on msn turns into hatting on msn and so many words become ridiculous that i get annoyed. Ok so this is only a partial excuse for the lack of decent blogging lately.

I was tempted to follow Dave's example and just witter but as I am already guilty of slack blogging via lots of quiz postings I think I won't! (though maybe i already have!!!). Well... the next post wil be less wittering I promise!