Monday, 31 December 2007

Waiting for a good wind

Waiting for a good wind
We went for a walk on the Dunstable Downs this morning. There were a couple of men who were trying to through themselves off the hills - with paragliders.
I found myself thinking of all kinds of New Year analogies - launching yourself into the blue, with faith that you'll be held up, etc...
Unfortunatley, they seemed to be having some difficulty. We had a chat with one of them - a sureal experience when someone is tied to a twenty foot kite.
It turned out, they had been chasing winds all week. They'd been in Wales the previous day, The wind on the downs was really too weak, but they were desperate to get into the air.
We watched them try again and again while we walked along the downs and back again. Finnally just as we were getting in the car, the blue paraglider got into the air and stayed there - for at least a minute. It was good to know that they managed something, and great to see their persistance.
Which made me think of the way so much that we do is dependent on having the right cicumstances - the right time, the right conditions, the right wind in our sails... We can get frustrated because we think we should be able to do what we know we need to achieve, but the time just isn't right. We need to keep chacing the wind (of the Spirit) until he lifts us up - and then we fly!
I've seen it happen again and again, and yet I keep expecting instant results...
Moving into a New Year my resolution is to remember that I can't do things by myself and I can't tell the Spirit when and where to act... "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord..."
Let's be like the paragliders and keep chacing that perfect wind...

P.S. Had a good evening with Dave and James who turned up out of the blue. Dave's just back from Russia with stories to tell. We stayed up far too late! Super!

Review of the Year

It's traditional at this time of year to look back at the year gone by and reflect on what has taken place. I've been doing that a bit over the last few day. Here are some of the big stories that I think have been important for the church in Milton Keynes (at least from my perspective):

Implementing the Deanery Plan
The Anglicans in Milton Keynes adopted a Deanery Plan in 2006, but this has been the year when the rubber hit the road - so to speak. Key questions have been about sustainability; in particular, finance and deployment - which are related of course... We've had difficult conversations about deployment in Woughton and Water Eaton and a clear conscensus about future clergy numbers across the Deanery is beginning to emerge. The Deanery Finance Committee have been working very hard to tame the share and make it more transparent. We finish the year with a clear Transition Plan with projections up to 2018! Slowly, the process of share allocation is becoming a tool which will help us achieve our long term goals. I think we have achieved quite a lot as a Deanery during 2007 but they are still very fragile achievements. Many people would love to turn back the clock and return to a simpler time when they didn't have to worry about money and every church had their own vicar. The temptation to opt for a quick fix will remain for some time to come. We will need to be strong and determined if we're going to get through the next few years... If we have the courage to face some more difficult decisions and hold our course for a few more years there is quite a bit of light at the end of the tunnel...

The Strengthening of the Watling Valley Partnership
This has been another year during which the Partnership has continued to grow in unity, coherence and capability. Highlights have included Voices (the magazine), the Annual Report, the Special Category Minister application, the development of the Office, Christmas leafleting and the Strategic Plan... Many newer members take this unity for granted, but things have been changing at a phenomenal rate. A clear demonstation of this was the Christingle Project which resulted in fourteen school services led by a cross-partnership team. We are able to do things now which would have seemed impossible only a few years ago...
From one perspective this could be seen as overwhelmingly positive, but there are consequences to this development which I suspect will become more significant in the coming months. For example, a strong centre will inevitably have an effect on the life of the churches. This can be seen most clearly in the uncertainty felt at All Saints' and St Mary's over the role of their own church councils... A few years ago we agreed to work towards being a "Network of Communities". How much do we value the independence of those communities? What role should the "centre" play? These are questions that will need to be asked and I'm not yet sure what the answers will be...

The Growth of Lay Ministry
The development of Lay Ministry has been at the heart of the development of the Watling Valley over the past few years and this has continued during 2007. During the Autumn we have been working on a more coherent strategy for Local Worship Leaders and have begun to work with potential Local Preachers. People who visit us sometimes get quite excited about the level of lay ministry in the Partnership, but...
...there are still some high expectations placed upon stipendiary ministers - who are working hard to fulfill them and support the development of lay ministry in an area with a rapidly growing population and a relatively low number of full time ministers... It reminds me of the familiar comment that if you wanted to get to ... you wouldn't want to start from here...
We are working at the limit of our capacity and we need to change the way we function, and we need to have done it yesterday in order to meet the challenge we're already facing today...
Which brings me to my next point...

Local Shared Ministry
We've been looking at Local Shared Ministry since 2005, but this year we launched a Project Group to seriously explore how it may work in Milton Keynes. This Project Group was requested by the Anglican Deanery Plan and authorised by the Mission Partnership Exec in January. It met frequently through the first half of the year and finnally reported in December. This is an approach to ministry that could really help us deal with our big challenges, but...
Will we have the courage to do it? Will we simply absorb some of the ideas and carry on as usual, or will we find the collective will to actually implement LSM in Milton Keynes? I think this may be one of the big questions for 2008 and I'm not sure which way it will go...

Alongside these "big stories" there have been a number of other significant strands in the past year. Here are a few:

Oakhill STC: There has been a lot going on concerning chaplaincy at Oakhill. It was good to have Peter with us earlier in the year, and sad to see him go. But good to welcome Yvonne in the Autumn...
Christ the Sower: We've managed to put together an application for a new Special Category Minister post which has been accepted. We're very positive about the potential of this post, but the next task is to find a suitable candidate... In the meantime there's been a lot going on with the school - not least the launch of Taste and See, which has become a significant project... How will this develop in the New Year?
Work and Weariness: I've had another year with familiar ups and downs of stress and exaustion. Low points have been (as always) just after Christmas, the Summer and the second half of Autumn term. I rejoice to have survived another year but question whether I can do it again! I thank God that a sabatical is drawing near, but recognise this won't really change anything long term. We need to learn how to do ministry differently! Can I do what needs to be done?
Youth and Children's Work: In Watling Valley we appointed a Youth and Children's Work Steering Group in January. This group has slowly been woking towards plans for a Youth Worker and some new ideas for how we will do things. What lies in store for 2008?

There's a lot more I could add, and I may return to this Blog entry over the next few days...

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Sunday after Christmas

Today was a significant day in the life of the Watling Valley Partnership. Richard Davis took his final services before starting his period of sick leave, leading to retirement. This morning, he was with Holy Cross and St Mary's where he has been minister with oversight for 8 and 6 years respectively.
Richard's departure begins a second URC vacancy in the partnership - and we could be waiting 18 months plus before a new minister is appointed. In the meantime, Mike and I will be working with three churches each, and "emergency plan B" will come into effect... This involves each congregation having two sundays per month with "their" minister, one with a member of the team and one locally led...
One of the side effects of "plan B" is that Mike and I will inevitably be spending less time with particular congregations, so today was a day of mini goodbyes as well...

9:30am at St Giles
I took the service at St Giles, which is one of the congregations I expect to see less often in the next few months. There were a number of people away, but some old friends in the congregation so it was a good occassion.

11:00am at Servant King
Servant King is another congregation I expect to see less of and I felt particularly sorry to say goodbye to them this morning. I've quite enjoyed my monthly visit to Furzton. Here they are wishing a Happy New Year to you... A New Year will soon begin and it's going to be an interesting one...

Esther and Jason

Congratulations to Esther and Jason who got married at St Mary's on Saturday. They were both teahers at Christ the Sower, so it was great to do this wedding - even if it was on the Saturday between Christmas and New Year...
Iona came with me because Esther had been her teacher in year 2 and Esther's mum had been the TA when she was in Foundation at Glastonbury Thorn.
Unfortunatley this meant that I couldn't get to Catherine's wedding in Essex - which is a really big shame. Catherine, Andrew and I were the Edinburgh Root Group in 1989-90 and this was the last of our weddings. It would have been good to have been there, so many apologies to Cartherine. We'll need a reunion at some point...
Good News: The organ's reconnected at St Mary's! Sounds great!

Celebrating Christmas

During the last few days we've been to Kent and Nottingham. This included twelve hours of motorway driving(!) a couple of Christmas meals and a pantomime - with 3D goggles...

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas to you all. I'm taking a break from the blog until New Year. Have a good Christmas. See you soon...

Happy Christmas

Christmas proper began with midnight mass at St Giles. This was Liz's first midnight sermon, and I'm afraid I missed most of it. A lady fainted soon after Liz started. We took her outside and I returned as the sermon was ending. Apparently it was very good... Well done Liz!

Monday, 24 December 2007

Christmas Eve

This was a fairly full Christmas Eve.
I had a funeral this morning - which is unusual for Christmas Eve - although I wasn't the only vicar at the crem this morning...
On the way to the crem I dropped off the six giant crackers at All Saints'. I was suprised to find two white vans, a pair of ladders and a dozen men on the roof. I nearly phoned the police (assuming I had interupted the gang of desperate lead theives) - it turned out to be a team off roof repairers who were doing some work for us...
The 2:30pm service was busy and a bit wild, but the band were great! Best yet! The girls decided to be stars this year...

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Giving up Power

This week, two stories caught my eye.
The first was the letter the Castro sent to the Cuban people announcing that he was thinking of stepping down. Whatever you think about Castro, it's clearly a big thing for someone in his position to lay down power...
The second was the sale of one of the seventeen surviving copies of the Magna Carta - for 19 million dollars! The Magna Carta is the first legal document that limited the power of kings...
The issue of power is one of the central ones in our society. Some are trying to hold on to it - others are trying to get it. It is useful because it enables us to get things done - but it has a tendency to currupt...
The Christmas story has a lot to say about power. It's about God choosing not to be powerful, but to be powerless. Not to stop being God, but to be a different kind of God from the one we expect. It's about the lifting up of the humble and the pulling down of the mighty. It's about God with us - and our response.
We all have power - even if it is only power to effect the lives of those who love us. In relationships you loose if you try to win...
Love is only worth anything if we give it away. So is power...

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Church for the Facebook Generation

At the recent meeting of Area Deans and Lay Chairs, Bishop John possed a serious of questions. One of the last was about the internet. He mentioned the existing diocesan site and asked how we engage with the Facebook Generation....
Facebook is an interesting phenomena. A product of web 2.0 as the internet becomes more interactive and less static; Facebook is only one of many social networking sites, but it's become enormously popular - largley, I suspect, because of the huge number of silly widgets and aps that you can play with.
There's a group of people at All Saints' who've been using it over the last few months. It's become an interesting extension of the church community as people have poked, bombed, raided and quized each other.
One of the most interesting element of this has been the status reports - "Tim is awake". On occassion these have started conversations and created a sense of continuing community. Facebook has created the possibility of a 24/7 church community which would otherwise be impossible in twenty first century MK...
Which is not to say it's totally wonderful. I have to say I'm logging on less frequently and the gadgets are less appealing as time goes by... The Money Programme did a super special on Facebook last night which raised the thorny issue of advertising and misuse of personal information. Perhaps Facebook will fade away and be replaced by something else...
The interesting thing is to observe how the internet is generating new methods of creating community. Perhaps it would be good for us to be a bit more proactive and theologically reflective - positively using and developing social networking...
Perhaps this should be on our agenda for 2008: Facebook, ichurch, Google Groups, etc...

Nearly Christmas

Iona and Izzy discuss presents with a man in a red suit...

Friday, 21 December 2007


The last friday before Christmas...
"The Great Christmas Get - away begins" - apparently you'ld be mad to travel at 3:00pm this afternoon....

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Quiet Thursday

Have finished six giant crackers - now sleeping in our spare room - they fill a double bed!

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Planning Christmas Eve

Big tasks of today:
Planning the Nativities for Wigglies
and a Christmas Eve Funeral...

So far I've made one giant cracker - five to go...
Still feeling a bit under the weather, so may give the prison carol service a skip...
Iona has another Vocalis concert this evening...
(They didn't get back till quarter to 11! - but apparently it was great)

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Two Funerals and a Wedding

This evening we had a rehersal for Esther and Jason's wedding which will take place after Christmas. As a pair of teachers they're too busy with the last week of term to concentrate on the wedding yet... not long to go...

I also had two bookings for funerals today - one for Christmas Eve... so much for the quiet week... Took kids into town after school to buy shoes. They had a go on the carolsel.

A Sore Head

I was awake half the night with a sore head, a bit of a feaver and a severely congested head - not pleasant...
Of course, this is the kind of job that you can't really take a day off from. I still need to get the kids to school and I can't really cancel my appointments for the day...
In the past, I have taken a funeral between bouts of dioreah... and a wedding while waiting to hurl... There are just some things you can't get out of... (Although I'm sure this comes under the category of too much information...)
Fortunately, my 11am appointment has just cancelled (because he has a cold) so I can take things reasonably easily this morning. I've got a reference to write and some papers to finish...
Finished Scripture Union themes for December 2008! So now I know what the reading will be next Christmas...
Another Christ the Sower Carol Service this afternoon... Year five and six...

Happy Birthday Bloggers

Monday was the tenth anniversary of the first use of the word "blog" created on the 17th December 1997 by Jorn Barger to describe what he was doing with his pioneering Robot Wisdom web page.
So happy birthday to the bolgosphere!

Monday, 17 December 2007

Christ the Sower Carols

I usually spend Monday mornings working on admin - if I can. I've been working on a memo about a potential archdeaconry post this morning, and a couple of letters that need to be written.

Today is also the day of the Christ the Sower Carol Service at St Mary's Church. They sang very well! Today is the turn of years three and four. Tomorrow it's years five and six. Iona is in the Singing Club, so she'll be there both afternoons.
The man was suposed to come and do the floor in the vestries today. No sign of him when I was there. Perhaps he'll come tomorrow...

Sunday, 16 December 2007

To blog or not to blog?

I have kept blogs in the past - largely for my own benefit. During 2006 I kept one up for a number of months, largley as a record of running times, but with some occassional reflections thrown in...
I set this one up in June with a view to recording what I'm doing as a minister in Milton Keynes. It struck me it might be useful to keep a record of what I do so that the various people I work with get some idea of what I get up to these days - life being a bit more complicated than it used to be...
Adding photos has been an interesting thing to do. I tell people I'm doing it for the blog - and they go and have look... A picture tells a thousand words...
This blog is therefore serving a number of purposes:
1. It gives me a chance to record my thoughts when I have a spare five minutes... this is good for my own mental processing...
2. It's a public record of what I'm getting up to - which must be a good thing in a mutually accountable church... I feel much better knowing that other people know what I'm doing...
3. It's a way of communicating with people in the churches that doesn't require physical presence on a Sunday morning - which isn't always possible...
At the moment it doesn't feel like a waste of time, so I'll probably keep it up...

Third Sunday of Advent

Doing Nothing to Save Christmas
I preached roughly the same sermon at both All Saints' and St Mary's this morning. Those who have been following the blog over the past week will have recognised some of the references I made to Christmas Stress...
I retold the story of rats on amphetimines and spoke about "Party Friday" and the predicted rise in domestic violence during the Christmas period... This provided an opportunity to talk about the need to create space during the business of Christmas to connect with eternity - particularly for those who will be visiting our churches during the next week or so...
At All Saints' Rozi bravely decided to follow the sermon by dropping her planned intercessions and inviting us to keep five minutes of silence. It worked incredibly well - top quality silence!
It is really interesting how significant this felt, although it's hard to put it into words. The challenge is to create a similar sense of stillness for visitors. Can we find ways of allowing the "still small voice of God" to be felt in the bustle of Christmas services?....

Candlit Carol Services
My plan was to visit all three of our candlit carol services this afternoon. I failed - largely because I misread our own leaflet! - St Giles' had their service at 4:00pm not 6:30!
Although I didn't actually manage to sing carols in all three buildings, I did visit each of them in the course of an hour; starting at All Saints' passing by St Giles and finishing at St Mary's.
The music/singing group were on fine form at All Saints' with some well chosen readings and well rehersed songs... St Giles was shut - obviously... and St Mary's felt warm and welcoming - although the organ is still to be connected...
The best thing about this afternoon was the confidence of our local leaders. They are in charge, they're confident, they're creative, they're mission focussed and they're extremely good! A few years ago we limited the number of seasonal services according to the number of "ministers" we had. That's no longer the limiting factor... If we keep this up, the future will be extremely interesting...

Psalm 146

Tune: Aurelia 76 76 D

1. O praise the Lord, O praise him!
As long as I shall live
I will declare God’s praises
for blessings he shall give.
Do not rely on princes,
for humans cannot save;
for when their breath is ended,
their plans go to the grave.

2. Blessèd are those whose future
is found in Jacob's Lord,
Creator God is with them
and justice their reward.
He’s with them in oppression
and sets the pris’ner free.
God gives food to the hungry
and makes the blind ones see.

3. God lifts the poor in spirit
and those who are alone,
the broken and forgotten,
God calls them all his own.
Your God shall reign forever.
Rejoice, Jerusalem!
And let all generations
proclaim the great Amen!

(c) Tim Norwood. This text can be reproduced without charge but may not be printed comercially without the permission of the author.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

More Christmas Stress

Apparently there was an experiment in the 1960s which looked at the effect of amphetemines on rats...
A rat was given increasingly large doses until it dropped dead.
A group of rats were then given similar doses in a confined area. Remarkably it required a dose twenty times smaller to finish these rats off - "they went off like firecrackers".
I wonder if the average Christmas shopping trip has the same effect on us human rats?

Cards and Candles

Went to St Mary's this morning to see how they were getting on with the pre-Christmas clean-up. The new rooms are looking great, although there's still a lot to do. The floor's not down yet and the loo won't be connected until next year, but in general it is all nearly there!

They were busy decorating the church with candles for the first carols services tomorrow. All the older buildings have carols services tomorrow - I am contemplating a grand tour of all three... I took one of the remaining packs of leaflets - in the hope that I'll deliver them before the carol services start...

Spent most of the day working on Christmas cards. I'm going to give a big card to each of our five churches, and individual cards to ministers and team members in Milton Keynes. I've also decided to remember secretaries, administrators and PAs - since they do some much work - for so little thanks...
This afternoon the family were fairly sleepy, so I worked on SU Light for the Lectionary themes for October to December 2008 - talk about bilocation...

Friday, 14 December 2007

Local Shared Ministry Theology

Here's the note I sent to James Cassidy to explain my theology in relation to Local Share Ministry:

Local Shared Ministry
One Possible Underlying Theology of Church and Ministry

Ministry is the collective human expression of God’s Mission to the World, within which all God’s people contribute through individual gifts, responsibilities and callings that originate from God. Local Ministry is particularly significant because it is the means by which God serves a particular local community, using the gifts he has already given to that community. The wider Church has responsibility for the oversight of local Christian “ministry units” in terms of management, support, training and mediation.

  1. Ministry is the Human Expression of God’s Mission: God is the originator, initiator, mover and end of the Missio Dei – “the Sending of God”. The Church is called to participate in God’s mission and does so by serving him in creation, both within the Church and in the World. In its broadest sense, Ministry is the service offered to fulfill this calling.(See Karl Hartenstein, Van Sanders, Jurgen Moltmann and David J. Bosch)
  2. The Church is the Continuing Expression of Christ’s Body: The Church is also called to embody Christ in the World. This is both a calling to “be” Christ to those who need to experience him, and to act on behalf of Christ in a World which still needs his love. This calling is collective and requires the whole body to function in unity, with each member playing a unique and necessary part.
  3. The Holy Spirit empowers God’s People for Service: The Spirit is given so that the Church can be empowered to serve God in the World and also be transformed into the likeness of Christ. Although “gifts” are given through individuals, they are always given for the good of the whole body and to enable the church collectively to participate in God’s mission through acts of service.
  4. Leadership is a Gift of God: Leadership is an expression of Christ’s Lordship and a gift to the church which enables the collective ministry of God’s people. Leadership could be defined using various terms including administration, influence, vision, organisation, coordination, teaching, wisdom, guidance, inspiration or management. Because the Spirit is active in each member of Christ’s Body, God could speak or lead through any individual at any time. One of the tasks of “stewards” or “administrators” is therefore to help members of the Church listen to one another, so that the authentic voice of God can be heard. A Local Shared Ministry Unit usually has “circular” or “collective” leadership to encourage mutuality and to discourage the tendency to focus on an individual multi-functional “leader”. Wes Frensdorf spoke of a church as a ministering community rather than a community gathered around a minister.
  5. Eucharistic Presidency is one Expression of Leadership: Those who preside at the Eucharist are called to lead God’s people in a particular way; by helping the whole congregation to celebrate Holy Communion. Eucharistic presidency need not be associated with over-all leadership, and it would be quite appropriate for more than one individual to be set aside for this task in any one community. Local Shared Ministry Units function best if there are a number of “sacramental ministers” who are part of the leadership or ministry team. The provision of such ministry must come through a denominationally appropriate route.
  6. The Local Church is Uniquely Equipped for Local Ministry: Local Christians are able to relate best to the communities within which they are set. Many would also affirm the belief that each church is given all the resources and gifts needed to fulfil the call that God places upon them. The Church is called to draw out the gifts given to local Christians and nurture them as disciples and ministers to those around them. This is why Local Shared Ministry emphasises local vision, discernment, training and authorisation. (See Roland Allen, Andrew Bowden, Stewart C Zabrinskie, etc…)
  7. The Local Church needs Relational Oversight: Local Shared Ministry is not a congregational model; it is a recognition that the Wider Church is called to enable each Local Church to function and flourish. This calling is best expressed through the terms “Oversight” or “Supervision”. One possible model of supervision speaks about Management, Support, Training and Mediation – or Stewardship, Shepherding, Teaching and Priesthood. These roles are best fulfilled through human relationships and require clearly identified people to act as links between each Local Church and the wider networks within which that church is set. This is why it is so important to have a “Ministry Enabler” or some other individual who can exercise “supervision” on behalf of the Wider Church. (See Alan Wilson, Andrew Bowden, etc…)

This is only a brief statement of theology from one individual. The development of an ecumenical theology of Local Shared Ministry in Milton Keynes will require more thought-out language and more careful consideration of wider theological issues – beyond my capability – particularly in relation to the different ecclesiologies represented by different denominations.

Everyone needs a day off...

It's Friday! Breakfast at Asda...
The Christmas Tree is up and decorated and cards are ready to be written...

Tried to rest but we're both over tired... The effects of too much adreneline are definitely being felt - busy lives combined with Christmas - a potent biochemical mix...
It's amazing how grumpy everyone is at the momment as they race around "getting ready" for Christmas. Fight or flight reactions are kicking in as human biology responds to the need for action...
Tonight is "Party Friday" according to the police, who are also expecting a big rise in domestic violence over the next couple of weeks... all in honour of the Prince of Peace...
In his recent book "Do Nothing to Change your Life" Stephen Cottrell speaks of the need for "a day off at last". Doing nothing for a while may be what we all need - and may be preferable to Christmas as many people will experience it this year. Is this the moment for the Church to campaign against Christmas? - or just point out the silliness of killing ourselves with activity...

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Nearly a Loo

Update on Work at St Mary's
I was up at St Mary's this afternoon for the interment of Don Dundas. This was a good opportunity to check on the work. The concrete is still not dry, so the floor's not down yet. The sound system is connected, but the organ isn't. I'm told it will be ready for the next wedding...

The signs of men at work...

One of the best looking church loos I've seen,
but somethings still missing...

...the toilet's in the cupboard...

...but the sink is nearly ready to go...

Coffee, Carols and Christmas

Coffee with Greatgrandma
Went in to town first thing this morning. Bought stamps for cards - I intend to send cards to clergy in the Deanery this year. My parents had popped down from Nottingham and had brought Greatgrandma (my nan) into town, so we all had coffee in Costa.

Kilkenny Carols
This morning was also the (now traditional) Kilkenny Carol Service, with Isla on keyboard, Linda on the organ and Colin on the recorder... (and me on guitar) - This year we had a Christams poem on the data projector that we all said together...
I have been doing a monthly service at Kilkenny since 2003. It's been a really super project whcich has had some ups and downs, but is really appreciated by the residents. It would be great to get more of our people involved... My ambitions for work with older people have never quite got off the ground in Watling Valley. The potential is enormous, and there's so much we could do, but it needs a bit of a push...
My link with Kilkenny House began almost by accident, but it has developed over the years. The high point was when they presented me with a copy of their new residents guide...

Coffee Plus Christmas Lunch
I managed to get back to All Saints (a bit late) for the Coffee Plus Christmas Lunch. Coffee plus is a wonderful little group that has become really significant over the years. It has become a partnership group with members from Servant King, All Saints', St Mary's and Holy Cross. About a dozen people had lunch today. Ricahrd and I both managed to get along.
I had some feedback about the Christingle project. It all seems to ne going extremely well...

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Planning Day

Today was a planning day - which I really needed.
I managed to go for a run after dropping the girls off at school. Ran round the wood on icy paths - not fast - and got back home by 9:15 ready to go (after a quick shower of course). I managed to finish off my work on the Kilkenny Carol Service, this Sunday coming and Christmas Day - plus a few other letters that needed writing - all before 10:30am.
Then it was off to Bletchley for another planning session with Veronica and Margaret. We finished planning hymns for March - Mothering Sunday proved to be a real pain - and then looked at Music for Compline during Holy Week. We think we've got some good psalms and a good Nunc, but we're probably going to ask for responses to be said...
Today was MOT on the C5 - passed - Alleluia!
More desk work in the afternoon, before it was time to go out to the Christ the Sower Nativity Play: "It's a Baby!" Always fun. Izzy sang with her mouth wide open - what a star!
We got home at half past seven and spent the rest of the evening working on our holiday dates for 2008. Ironically, we have both been asked to submit them today. Isla's hoiday dates are calculated on a complicated hourly system - I realise on closer inspection that I haven't been claiming enough holiday in the past - must remedy this! We managed to work through some dates, so at least we know when we can sleep...
Speaking of which, yet again there was no late evening meeting so I got to bed at a reasonable time - another Alleluia! If I keep this up I may begin to feel more human one day...

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Good as New

Good as New: A Radical Retelling of the Scriptures
by John Henson

I don't usually rave about "contemporary retellings" of the Bible - except for humour value. The Message didn't do anything for me - although I love the Bible in limerick Verse...
This ought to be in the humour section of my bookshelf - particularly with its wonderful modernised biblical names - Gus for Gaius, Ron for Aaron, etc... But it avoids parody through a combination of compelling language and theological depth. The inclussion of the Gospel of Thomas is a brave choice that pays off...
Well worth a look - and useable in public reading. It's as readable as Walt Wangerin's, Book of God, and as dramatic as the Street Bible - and yet it makes you feel you are also wrestling with the Scriptures themsleves... I just wish he had done an Old Testament as well as the New...

Have a look

The Last Christmas Breakfast

Christmas Team Social at Dobbies
- and farewell to Richard....

We had a special team social to celebrate Christmas and say goodbye to Richard. He's on good form at the moment and had three pieces of good news to share... We began to reminice back to 1999 - when most of us had yet to arrive...

Liz is going to do her first solo funeral next Wednesday. She'll be fine.

Time to think...
Went to the dentist (a filling repair) and did some Christmas shopping. I parked at All Saints' and walked into town via the dentist. It was good to have some space to think. I spent some time thinking about the Christmas events I need to plan - and also about the work I want to do during my sabattical... following the meeting of the Fresh Expressions Oversight Group, and with an awareness to how the Local Shared Ministry Project seems to be developing, it would seem to be sensible to shift the emphasis of my work into the area of ministry - since that's my specialist area - rather than get too bogged down on finance... still thinking... "Emerging Ministry" is looking like a good working title... (must check the web address)

Deanery Finance Committee
The Deanery Finance Committee met in the evening and we finalised the share allocations for 2008 - Alleluiah! This has been a massive project. We started work in January - setting out our working principles in February...

1. Know what we’re paying for: Each parish/partnership needs to have a clear target to aim for. This should include all payments associated with their clergy (of all denominations), denominational costs and sector ministry.

2. Transition Plan: We want to have a clear plan, which enables us to reach 80% of these targets in five years and 100% by ten. This plan should start with what parishes/partnerships are actually paying at the moment, not with what they have been asked to pay.

3. Openness: We need to nurture a culture of openness and create opportunities for all parishes/partnerships to share their difficulties and expertise. This will help with planning and crisis management. Different methods of raising finance could also be explored and shared between parishes/partnerships.

4. Mutual Support: All parishes/partnerships should be meeting 80% of their responsibilities within five years. Variations will continue for various reasons (e.g. unexpected costs, major change, poverty, etc…). These will be agreed between the parishes/partnerships through a process of conversation and discussion. Factors like relative wealth will be used as an aid rather than made part of the calculation.

...the rest of the year has been taken up with making this happen. We now have a ten year transition plan, and some detailed notes for 2008, and the the Mission Partnership is working with our figures, and the Diocese is working with us...

Producing figures for 2009 should be much more straightforward. The next challenge is to visit the three parishes who are in the most precarious situations, and then the three parishes who are borderline. This is the challenge for 2008...

Monday, 10 December 2007

Total Ministry

Total Ministry
Stewart C Zabriskie

This is an light, thin (107 pages) and easily read book which tells the story of the "Nevada Experiment" and the implementation of this as "Total Ministry" in the Episcopal Church in the US.

It contains some real gems - particularly when (Bishop) Zabriskie shares some of his own hard earned learning, and it sets out a fairly good defense of Total Ministry which he makes clear is not a system or a model but a way of being church.

Worth a read if you want to get the feel for how Total Ministry might work. It's also particularly good in the exploration of leadership and priesthood. As we continue our investigation of Local Shared Ministry in Milton Keynes, it seems to me that the Nevada approach is very similar to that of Auckland Diocese - and therefore very "coordinated" or "top down". The LSM Project Group has come to the conclusion that this will not work in MK. Zabriskie's situation is very different to ours...

Christmas is coming....

Every year I think we should start a "Campaign for Real Advent"... but I think I'm just being grumpy!
It's head down and hope for New Year at this point. Finished delivering Christmas leaflets this morning (upper Medbourne). Vocalis concert this evening - and then concert after concert, service after service until it's time to drop. Lovely!

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Being Awake on the Second Sunday of Advent

I rarely sleep before an 8:00am service. It's partly because I'm worried about getting up in time, and partly because I'm worried about waking everyone else up... I was woken early at 3:00am this morning and couldn't get back to sleep. This gave me some extra time to contemplate three very different services - which required three very different sermons...
(Last night Isla and I calculated that I have preached between 60 and 90 "Advent" sermons in Watling Valley... How do I say something new?)

Services this Morning:

8:00am - Holy Communion (Book of Common Prayer) - All Saints'
It was still fairly dark when I headed out to All Saints'. The 8 O'clock congregation have become a close knit group over the last couple of years - Ann and Roger have been particularly key in building relationships - providing a good example of a "Care Circle". The closeness of this community was demonstrated during Tony Knight's recent illness, death and funeral.
This morning's service was quiet (appropriate to the season) and I preached a fairly somber sermon... (Not one of my best, but gave me a chance to explore some themes...)

9:00am - Holy Communion - Holy Cross
A very different service at Holy Cross. In theory, this is the quiet communion service which takes place before "all-age activities" at 10:45am. In reality this is a fairly all age communion service with children and a wide range of people in the congregation... Christmas decorations were up and there were a number of visitors. This service therefore required a fairly high energy all-inclusive approach which I hope I was able to deliver. This service felt positive and fun - and I thinks the congregation were in good spirits...

10:30am - Holy Communion - All Saints
By the time I got to All Saints' I was completely exausted - mentally and physically - not only because of the day, but also because of the week and the long crisis and project filled term. I'm finding it difficult to cope with three morning services these days - must be getting old...
I had decided to try a more challenging sermon here, wanting to respond to critisisms from certain members of the congregation. To be honest, I was too tired, time was too tight, there were too many things going on, and I'm really not sure this is the right time or place.
Couldn't finish the service within the hour - which is a disaster for visitors and community development. Not a good morning...
I've tended to think of ASL10:30 as a "seeker service" where the emphasis is on the visitors and fringe members - on baptism families, wedding couples and those who drop in from time to time. These people need brief, engaging, simple but relevant sermons that communicate more by the way they are delivered than by their content. I can just about deliver this if I hype myself up on adreneline and get on with it. Content based expository sermons targeted at church members just don't work - and I haven't got the time and energy to write or deliver them. I think I'll write this morning off as an experiment that was never going to work and stick to the "seeker" agenda. I believe in it - and I can just about pull it off...
The question that remains is how to encourage the congregation to meet their own needs through the other opportunities on offer...

Night out with Crowded HouseWe don't get out much. This was our one night out this term and we were determined to enjoy it! Duke Special and Crowded House at Wembly Arena! What a night! Good to see DS although they were relatively tame compared to their wild performance at Greenbelt. Crowded House were phenomenal - they kept playing till 11:00pm! Great gig, great evening!

They'll soon be going back to New Zealand - a place very much on my mind since we have family there and Local Shared Ministry is big news... Shame it's so far away...

Saturday, 8 December 2007


Every year All Saints' Church sends Mary and Joseph (the knitted versions) on a long journey from house to house. This is a Latin American custom that has become quite popular in our part of Milton Keynes. It's supposed to be an Advent activity aimed at helping us to welcome God into our homes. Today Toks and Wemi brought the happy couple round to us. We had some prayers to say as we welcomed them. Tomorrow we'll be handing them on to someone else at church....

Also today: the Music Centre Christmas concerts at Oxley Park (from 8:30am - 1:00pm) - great show, particularly the Advanced Flutes.
Nanny and Grandad come round this afternoon for a cup of tea, before going back to Nottingham...

Thursday, 6 December 2007


8:00am - Morning in the house waiting for Sky repairman. Worked through pile of letters and jobs, including:
- booking dates for next years church councils
- planning Sunday's servce at All Saints
- suggesting dates for the Local Shared Ministy Project Group meeting, and...
- asking the Archdeacon about candelit services.
12:00noon - Deanery Chapter Christmas Lunch at Fenny Stratford. (Many thanks to Jeremy)
3:00pm - Christ the Sower Christmas Fair. Lots of positive feedback about Taste and See. How do we develop this community?
6:00pm - Last Ballet session of the year - chance for parents to watch...

Not a bad day all round, but feeling fairly tired at the end of the week. Was a bit fragile this evening...


Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything
by Don Tapscott and Anthony D Williams

I'm slowly working my way through this fascinating book at the moment. It's about the way business is being transformed by the use of global collaboration through the internet. Concepts like "open source" and "prosumers" are explored in depth with revealing stories from corporate history.

"Open Source" is a phrase usually used to describe computer programs that are made available in a way that anyone competent can edit and improve. They are not "owned" by a big software company, but are continually changed, adapted and improved by a community of developers...
"Ideagoras" are market places where ideas, designs or inovations are shared or sold. Companies invite anyone to submit answers to specific questions, or new ideas are posted with the hope that someone will find them useful...
"Prosumers" are consumers who play an active role in designing the things they buy...

Although this book is largely about the business world, there is a lot that the church can learn. How can we develop "open source" approaches to worship resources or planning? Could we develop "ideagoras" where theological ideas can be borrowed and explored? Can we turn "pew warmers" into "prosumers"?

This is a book worth reading, although it's already beginning to look a bit dated... Some of the developments described here are mirrored by changes taking place in church life. There is learning here...

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Busy Day in December

Went to the office at 9:00am to do some photocopying for taste and see. Had a chat with Jenni and Steve about a request for quinqennial inspection reports from the URC. It's important for me to pop into the Office since I am meant to be the line manager for the project...
I then popped into William Sutton House for the monthly communion. Good to see the Audrey and co as always. We chatted about the Queen's visit, prayed and broke bread.

This has been one of my longest standing appointments - a monthly visit since 2001. I started visiting Sutton House as the minister of St Mary's Shenley when I took communion to a couple of residents. We then persuaded the trust to overturn their own rules so that we could hold a service in the lounge. I kept up the visits when I stopped being the minister of St Mary's in 2002 and so it has continued...

After breaking bread at Sutton House I popped down to Fenny Stratford to see Veronica (St Mary's Organist). She, Margaret and I spent two very productive hours choosing hymns for January and February next year - from our new hymnbook - CH4 (Church Hymnary Fourth Edition). It was great to have a good range of hymns to pick from! I'm only sorry I'm not going to be there for all the services...

We didn't quite finish by 1:00pm (another session planned next week) but I needed to scoot off back to Christ the Sower to set up for Taste and See... This didn't finish until 4:30pm... Quick trip home to cook tea for girls. Back out to All Saints for the Hugh Park Charity at 6:30pm... Had to leave before they finished so I could get to Derek's house for Team Meeting at 7:30pm... Didn't get home until 11:00pm - partly because the meeting over ran - partly because Mike's car wouldn't start... As I type this I'm struggling to connect properly to the internet so I can sort out Sunday's service at All Saints...

Long day...

December Team Meeting

This evenings Team Meeting was fairly long, but we discussed Local Worship Leaders, the Viewpoints Course, funerals, youth workers and our priorities for 2008 - amongst other things. I'm pleased to say, I think our Worship Leader poilcy may finally be agreed - although I may be talking to soon...
Next month we agreed to look at Local Shared Ministry, with a presentation and a discussion. This could be interesting - I'm really not sure which way the Team will lean...

Taste and See - Advent Labyrinth

Taste and See is one of our "Fresh Expressions". It's a Cafe/Alt.Worship style gathering at Christ the Sower School, largely run by a group of staff members - and a few parents. There are two or three church members involved, but a significant number of non-church children and families turn up each time. The children have made this their event and have a real sense of ownership, but it was interesting this time to hear a number of parents say that they would have liked to have come back and done the session again - without the children...

This month we did an Advent Labyrinth - largely using borrowed material. I have to say I was quite amazed by the way the children engaged with this session. Some of them only just completed the walk within the hour! - without parents accompanying them. Previous sessions have involved more supervised "stations", this one was largely unsupervised, but they took to it like ducks to water. It's not that children don't like worship - they like worship that they can get stuck into!
As always there was a lot going on - most of it happening in the coffee area or in the corners of the labyrinth. Lots of positive feedback, but how do we develop this so that it grows as liquid emerging sustainable church?

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Tuesday 4th December

This was a fairly busy day...
Preparation for Taste and See - Advent Labrynth. The intention was to do something fairly easy given the team were likely to be stretched. Not sure what sort of team there will be...
EOG - the Ecumenical Oversight Group - met at Our Lady of Lourdes in Coffee Hall. Mary was keen that all churches discuss the "Christian Presences" report... Good news from the Hospital - a second chaplain is going to be appointed...
Supervision Session with Liz - spent two hours working through the list of gifts and competancies for curates. We've agreed a list of around half a dozen "training opportunities" for the next few months...
Visit Saxon Clinic - popped in to see someone. Was good to see them.
Bought Confirmation Register - trip into Wolverton to St Andrew's Bookshop to buy the new confirmation register - which had arived after the last confirmation...
Shot off to Oxford for the Fresh Expression Oversight Group - a new group to oversee the development of Fresh Expressions in the Diocese after the end of the Cutting Edge project. It was interesting to note that fresh expressions have been launched in deaneries with high electoral roles per population - not suprising therefore that MK hasn't had any... It'll be interesting to see how this group develops. I haven't been involved in this since the discussions in 2001... but MK is definitely important strategically and there seems to be an understanding that fresh expressions can't really take off until we've tackled the issue of ministry and church... so this might be a useful discussion to be part of...
Oxford isn't exactly local, so I didn't get home until 7 and then had to rush straight out to...
The Mission Partnership Exec - which received the report from the Local Shared Ministry Group. There was a discussion about the underyling theology of ministry and the Theology Forum agreed to explore this from an ecumenical dimension. The document will now be forwarded to the presidents - and the Project Group has been provissionally recommisioned...
More work on Taste and See in evening. Still up at 1.00am - glad I'm not counting hours this week... although I had a good conversation with Yvonne in the car this evening and we agreed it would be wise to shift all meetings to 7.30 - 9.30pm. I think this may be essential to survival...
Have posted out a new set of dates for St Mary's and All Saint Church Councils... Am hopeful that we will have an agreement soon...

Church Councils in 2008

I'm trying to sort out Council dates for 2008. It's a real challenge. Monday and Friday are out. Tuesday is reserved for Mission Partnership and Thursday is used by courses and housegroups. This leaves Wednesday which is competed over by WVEC, the Ministry Team, the Church Councils and a variety of other gatherings.
I sent out some dates today, but they may not be workable - and that's for two churches. I haven't even started on the third. The truth is we have more meetings than evenings. It's a good job we don't have anything else we're supposed to be doing... (I jest)
This is one to watch. If we can find a more sustainable way of managing the business of church, we may find a way of releasing the life of church - and then we may see what the people of God can do...

Monday, 3 December 2007

Local Preachers and Big Ideas

It's been one of those days - the kind you get when you come back from a holiday or a weekend away - a pile of post - a mountain of email - and some fairly urgent tasks that didn't quite get done before the weekend...
I spent most of the day working my way through some urgent jobs - keeping my eye off my "to do" list which is undoubtedly showing a number of red overdue items... Hopefully, however, we're moments away from an agreed share allocation, Walton will recieve the letter they asked for, and the Team Meeting agenda will go out ready for Wednesday. I've designed a labryth for Taste and See, discussed SU material for June and proposed some Church Council dates for 2008 - for three churches... All in a day's work... but not very exciting if you're reading this blogg.
On the other hand, I had lunch with Mike and we talked about people we would like to talk to about becoming Local Preachers. This is a big step forward and something I've been hoping for and praying about for a few years. We're going to pick up the Diocesan scheme for preacher training which is portfolio based and designed for those who are either exploring ministry, called to preach - or too busy to train as an LLM, NSM or OLM. We've got a small handfull of candidates who are in one or more of these categories - which is brilliant - and it's about time we did something to support them...
It may seem a small thing, but I am convinced we need more opportunities to build up local ministry - even if people like me have to fade away into the background a bit. For me, this isn't about filling some gaps in our service plan - it's about remodelling church...
Mike, on the other hand, is now organising fourteen Christingles in fourteen of our twenty schools! I suspect this is the only way to tackle a task of this scale. Great news, but I sincerely hope people give him the space to do it...

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Weekend Away

For the past six years we have been regular visitors to Weststar Holiday Parks - "Sid and Lizzie" - the Holiday parks previously owned by the woman from "Dragon's Den". Not only have we visited them on roughly eight occasions (!) we've also put in four winning enteries to the fancy dress competition.... Here's Izzy with her 2007 October half-term winner - "Jack in the Box".

And so we were the proud winners of a free weekend break - the Gala Finals at Sandford! I was owed a few weekends and the services could be covered so we decided to go... Advent Weekend off! Shouldn't be allowed!

But actually, we really needed it. This has been a killer of a term with a number of big crises and major projects. Every weekend has brought some big event or other... It's all taken a toll and we desperately needed some space to recover...

It may sound funny to some, but it was good to get back to the familiar sights and sounds of Dorset: fish and chips in Swanage, sea, wind, rain and a dancing seagull - what more could a stressed out clergy family want....
I didn't manage to do nothing on "Just this Day" - but we managed to find space for each other by stepping outside our normal routine and being ourselves for a few moments. Thanks Izzy for a fine competition winner and roll on next holiday...
P.S. There were 57 entries in the Fancy Dress Final. Izzy wasn't placed, but we had a great time.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

How did I use my time this week?

This week I put in a total of 61 hours - light week.
These can roughly be broken down to:
27 for the Deanery (44.26%)
15 for WVEP (24.59%)
11 for individual Churches (including All Saints', St Mary's, Servant King) (18.03%)
2.5 for Christ the Sower (4.10%)
5.5 Misc (9.02%)

Thursday 29th November

9:00am - 1:30pm Queen's Visit to Milton Keynes (4.5 Hours)
Had a fascinating morning at Stadium:MK
1:30pm - 2:30pm Funeral for Baby Alex (WVEP +1)
Important to take, but would rather not have needed to... The second baby funeral I have done for this family. I feel for them.
2:30pm - 3:00pm Robes back to St Mary's (SMS +1)
Took the robes back to St Mary's that I used for the school visit on Tuesday. Lookied into the vestries where the painter was hard at work. There's now a loo in the loo! Alleluiah! - Doesn't work yet though...
7:30pm - 10:00pm Deanery Pastoral Committee (Deanery +2.5)
Good meeting. Tough discussion about Deanery Share - but good time looking at our vision for the next ten years. Real sense of common purpose...
Finished evening in pub in Stony Stratford with Tim Clapton - best thing to do after a church meeting...

Total Hours Worked: 9
Hours Worked for Deanery: 2.5
Hours Worked for WVEP: 1
Hours Worked for SMS: 1

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Wednesday 28th November

9:00am - 2:30pm Archdeacon's Visit (Deanery +5.5)
Most of the day spent on visit by new Archdeacon to Milton Keynes
3:00pm - 4:00pm Taste and See (CtS + 1)
Planning session for next Taste and See
8:00pm - 9:00pm Wedding Visit (SMS +1)
Preparation for a Wedding at St Mary's Shenley
plus various scraps of admin not recorded...

Total Hours Worked: 7.5 (plus)
Hours Worked for Deanery: +5.5
Hours Worked for CtS: 1
Hours Worked for SMS: 1

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Tuesday 27th November

9:00am - 11:00am Team Space (WVEP +2)
I was late for the Team because I had a couple of conversations at the school gate.
The discussion at Team Space was good, with an interesting debate about tradition and ecumenism. It was observed that even young people need structure and familiarity, but we struggle to deliver consistency in our context...
11:00am - 12:00noon Christmas Shopping
Not telling you what I'm buying for people.
12:00noon - 12:30pm Admin (WVEP +0.5)
Bits and pieces of emails, phone calls, etc... None of it will build the kingdom.
One good example is the time spent negotiating with an undertaker about which minister is going to take the funeral next Monday and how we'll involve our curate - only to discover later that it wasn't one of our funerals... Church members may be suprised how much time is spent on this kind of discussion...
12:30pm - 1:00pm Running
Managed my first run for two weeks - won't lengthen my life expectancy - but an achievement none the less. Aren't I doing well for work/life ballance this week?
1:00pm - 1:30pm More Admin (SMS +0.5)
Spent some time looking at the baptism service for St Mary's 11 O'clock. Trying to marry the Family Service produced by Steve and Paul with the Baptism liturgy used at All Saints. Will get back to this later...
1:30pm - 3:00pm School Visit (CtS +1.5)
Took robes in to Christ the Sower to show to year 4. Dressed a couple of teachers up. Great fun!
3:00pm - 4:00pm Home Communion (SMS +1)
Shared communion with Ron and Joy. Good to see them.

They gave me my first Christmas present of the year. Promised not to open it until the day... Wonder what it is?
8:00pm - 10:30pm Ecumenical Council (WVEP +2.5)
Didn't actually get there till 8:30 but did some preparation earlier.
Good discussion about priorities for 2008.
11:00pm - 11:30pm Admin (SMS +0.5)
Just have another look at that Baptism service...

Total Hours Worked: 8.5 (not bad!)
Hours worked for WVEP: 5
Hours worked for St Mary's: 2
Hourse worked for Christ the Sower: 1.5

Monday, 26 November 2007

Monday 26th November

9:00am - 9:30am Admin (WVEP +0.5)
Monday is normally my admin day - although I try to find half hour for a run as well.
If something comes up, this really throws the week, since it's hard to find the time again...
9:30am - 11:00am Funeral Visit (WVEP +1.5)
One of those funeral visits that you really don't want to have to make. A family I know well and get on with. Have already baptised and buried one child. They've just lost another. I do feel for them. Good to see them, but would like to have seen them again in different circumstances...
11:00am - 4:00pm Admin (WVEP +2.5 Deanery +2.5)
Generally wading through piles (of paper on the desk) and emails on the computer. I think I managed to clear everything off the desk which was a start. Needed to tidy up service plan and Local Shared Ministry report - these were the larger jobs, but there were lots of little ones. I now know what I should be doing for the rest of the week... (if time allows)
5:30pm - 6:30pm Admin (Deanery +1)
Squeezed in an hour to redo the Deanery Share allocation following proposal from Bletchley.
7:30pm - 9:00pm Holy Trinity Wolverton (Deanery +2.5)
Spent time with people from Wolverton looking at a particularly difficult problem involving buildings...
10:00pm - 12:00pm Admin (WVEP +2)
Can't sleep, so will make most of the fact I'm up. Good time to edit Viewpoints Course and tackle some of these longer term jobs...

Total Hours Worked: 12.5
Hours Worked for Deanery: 6
Hours Worked for WVEP: 6.5

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Sunday 25th November

7:30am - 9:00am Service at All Saints (ASL +1.5)
Really didn't want to get up this morning (hadn't slept well). Woke at 7:20am. Threw clothes on and ran for it. Service seemed to go well. Tony's wife Pauline and Son Michael were there - following his funeral in the week. Was good to see them and seemed like a good way of marking the day...
9:00am - 11:00am Service at St Mary's (SMS +2)
Unexpected Baptism, building still in chaos, no amp - but heating was working. Love the new tiles in the loo - which still lacks a loo - but it's going to look absolutely phenomenal when it's finished! Building work still on target (ish). Beginning to pulg celebration in January.
Turned out to be a good high energy service. Good connection with Baptism family. Very pleased.
11:00am - 12:00noon Service at Servant King (SKF +1)
Enjoyed preaching at Servant King. One of those services that really gelled. The Sunday Club were building roundabouts for the Christmas servicese - look forward to seeing the results...
12:00pm - 2:30pm Meeting with St Mary's 11:00 (SMS +2.5)
Very good meeting. People are feeling a bit shaky about Richard's departure, but there's a real sense of vision for the future. If this group can get it together, this congreagtion could really grow...
2:30pm - 5:00pm Service Planning Meeting (WVEP +2.5)
Planning servicese from here to July 2008. All now updated on
Also spent time planning Easter - always a tricky discussion but we came to a reasonable common mind... Good group - really makes a difference...

Went home for tea after the SPM - Organic Roast Chicken, mushy sweatcorn, rubarb crumble and custard - well worth waiting for. Thanks Isla! Always good to be home!

Total Hours Worked: 9.5
Hours Worked for WVEP: 2.5
Hours Worked for ASL 1.5
Hours Worked for SMS 4.5

Saturday 24th November

Last Week I recorded the hours I worked in terms of what I used them to do. This week, I intend to record the hours I work in terms of who I do them for.

So today:

8:00am - 5:00pm Area Deans and Lay Chairs Day in Gerards Cross (Deanery +9)
9:00pm - 1:00am Local Shared Ministry Project Group Report (Deanery +4)

Total Hours Worked: 13
Hours Worked for the Deanery: 13

Friday 23rd November

6:00pm - 9:00pm Induction of New Chaplain at Oakhill STC - Great Event!

Total Hours Worked: 3

Thursday, 22 November 2007

How did I use my time this week?

Roughly speaking, my time could be broken down like this:

Meetings and Councils: 17
Admin and Preparation: 12.5
Supporting other ministers: 12
Services: 10
Funerals: 7
Editing Voices: 7
Wedding Preparation: 3
Nurture Courses: 2.5

Total: 71 Hours

Thursday 22nd November

8:30am - 10:00am Emails, phone calls and admin
10:00am - 12:30pm Session with Oakhill Chaplain
1:00am - 3:30pm Funeral for Church Member
4:00pm - 5:00pm Emails, phone calls and service planning
7:00pm - 9:30pm Milestones: Nurture Course

Total Hours Worked: 10

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Wednesday 21st November

9:00am - 11:00am Local Shared Ministry Project Group: Finalising the report for the Exec and the Presidents
11:00am - 1:00pm Catching up on phone calls, emails and admin...
1:00pm - 1:30pm Lunch
1:30pm - 4:30pm Funeral
4:30pm - 7:30pm Family time and sleep
7:30pm - 10:00pm Governors Meeting for Christ the Sower
10:00pm - Midnight: Produce Agendas and Share Allocation Proposal for Deanery Chapter

Total Hours Worked: 11.5

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Tuesday 20th November

7:00am Get up. Feed Children. Shower (luxury!) Kids to school
9:00am Phone diocese about Deanery Share. Emails...
10:00am - 2:00pm Bishop's Council Working Group on Unity
2:00pm - 3:30pm Emails and Phone calls
3:30pm - 7:30pm With kids while Isla at course: Cook Tea and entertain
7:30pm - 8:30pm Putting together papers for Local Shared Ministry Project Group and Deanery Share Proposals
8:30pm Cook tea for Isla
9:00pm - 10:00pm Finish up Partnership Magazine "Voices" - not one of my best, but it's been difficult to squeeze in time for it

Total Hours Worked: 9.5 - A light day! Feel guilty for not working hard enough - lots of things could and should have been done today

Monday, 19 November 2007

Monday 19th November

7:00am Get up. Make lunches. Check emails.
8:30am Kids to school
9:00am - 6:15pm Curates Training Day near Thatcham
7:00pm Supervision Session with DM
8:00pm - 10:00pm ASL Worship Team
10:00pm-1:00pm Editing Magazine

Total Hours Worked: 15

Sunday 18th November

8:30am Out to Holy Cross to do photocopying for All Saints'
9:00am To St Mary's for 9:30 service
9:30am St Mary's 9:30 service. Preached. Left at creed...
10:00am Get to All Saints' to prepare for next service... Need to learn how to play second hymn on guitar...
10:30am Lead Morning Service at All Saints. Liz preaches.
12:30pm Back home for lunch.
2:00pm Back to All Saints to set up church for wedding preparation (projector, chairs, tea and coffee, etc...) First people arrive at 2:45 so glad I came early
3:00pm Wedding Preparation
5:00pm Home from Wedding preparation. Listen to girls playing violins - they're doing very well!
5:30pm Off to Servant King for Confirmation
6:30pm Baptisms and Confirmations at Servant King. Ryan and Nathan Baptised!
9:30pm Home from Confirmations - need to do some urgent phone calls...
10:00pm Start work on magazine - very behind - still waiting for content! Need to check emails and make sure I'm ready for tomorrow...
1:00am - give up. Too tired. Can't focus on mag...

Total Hours Worked: 13

Saturday 17th November

Saturday 17th November
8:30am Leave for Diocesan Synod in High Wycombe
3:00pm Return from Diocesan Synod
3:30pm Take Curate to Funeral Visit
5:00pm Return from Funeral Visit
5:00pm - 7:00pm Time with Family
7:00pm We all colapse into bed and sleep (I get up at 10 and work on preparation for Sunday until 1am)

Total Hours Worked: 12

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Psalm 77

Tune: St Clement 9898

1. I call to God; I cry out to him.
I call to God; he will draw near.
In days of trouble, I will seek him.
I call to God and he will hear.

2. I stretch my hands to God in darkness,
My soul is poured out endlessly.
I think of God and groan in sadness;
is there no comfort here for me?

3.* My eyes are open but I’m blinded
I am so dazed, I cannot flee.
When I consider days now ended,
the memories are dark to me.

4.* At night I lie awake and wonder
what plans the Lord has made for me.
In grief my spirit makes me ponder
when God will set his people free.

5.* Has mercy gone from us for ever?
Will God show us his love no more?
Has he lost pity in displeasure?
Are promises no longer sure?

6. The hand of God is strong as ever;
his arm unchanged; his love the same.
His praise we will declare forever.
His mighty deeds we will proclaim.

7. Your way, O God, is always holy.
There is no god as great as you.
Throughout the world you show your glory
and to your people you stay true.

8. The waters saw you, God of wonders.
The waters saw and were afraid.
You speak to us in fire and thunder
and through the sea your path is laid.

9. In all creation; land and water,
the depths below, the clouds above;
your voice is heard; it makes earth shudder,
but we your people know your love.

The lectionary for 2007 only requires verses 1-2, 11-20, so the stared verses are omitted.

(c) Tim Norwood. This text can be reproduced without charge but may not be printed comercially without the permission of the author.

Friday, 15 June 2007

What do I do...

I have decided to try recording my life and activity as a member of the Watling Valley Ministry Team. This may be dull, or it may be helpful - time will tell...

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Psalm 31

Tune: Amazing Grace CM

1. In you, O Lord, I put my trust.
O let me not know shame.
Deliver me in righteousness,
as I call on your name.

2. Give grace to me, for I am lost
in grief I cannot see,
my very being wastes away;
strength fails in misery.

3. To those who hate me, I am scorn;
a horror to my friends;
they flee from me in fearful dread
until my suff’ring ends.

4. I fade away like one who dies
as terrors round me stand.
But though I hear their whispered plots,
my life is in God’s hand.

5. From persecution, hate and fear,
O Lord, deliver me.
And let your face upon me shine
with me your love shall be.

To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
the God whom we adore,
be glory, as it was, and is,
and shall be evermore.

(c) Tim Norwood. This text can be reproduced without charge but may not be printed comercially without the permission of the author.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Psalm 32

Tune: Spiritus Vitae 98 98

1. Blessèd are those who God gives freedom
from failure, brokenness and sin.
Blessèd are those who are made guiltless,
and with whom God can now begin.

2. When I was silent in my failure
I felt as though my life would end.
Your hand pressed heavily upon me
but now on you I must depend.

3. If I admit my failings to you
and do not seek to hide my sin;
If I confess my deepest weakness
you shall remove the guilt within.

4.  For this, the faithful sing your praises,
and in their need cry out to you.
For when the floods rise up to drown them
your endless grace will lead them through.

5. You are the one I seek for shelter -
my hiding place from all I fear.
You circle me with cries of rescue.
Your love will be forever near.

6.* Let us need not a bit or bridle
like horses have when they are lead.
God will himself instruct and guide us
helping us see the way ahead.

7.* Those who reject the Lord are helpless
but love surrounds the ones who trust.
Be glad and shout for joy, you righteous.
Rejoice and know that God is just.

Omit verses with * if only Psalm 32.1-7 is required.

(c) Tim Norwood. This text can be reproduced without charge but may not be printed comercially without the permission of the author.

Sunday, 18 February 2007

Psalm 99

Tune: St Matthew DCM

1. The Lord is king; he reigns on high,
let all the nations quake;
enthroned upon the cherubim
he makes earth move and shake!
The Lord is Zion’s Mighty King,
exalted all abroad.
Let nations praise his fearful name.
Sing, Holy is the Lord!

2. O Mighty King, in strength you come,
and reign in equity.
For love of justice, you delight
to judge us righteously.
In Jacob’s land you bring forth peace
according to your word.
Exalt the Lord. At his feet fall.
Sing, Holy is the Lord!

3. Moses, Aaron and Samuèl,
called on God’s holy name.
They cried to God, who answered them.
From cloud their answer came.
They kept the statutes of the Lord,
to peace they were restored.
Exalt the Lord, who is our God.
Sing, Holy is the Lord!

(c) Tim Norwood. This text can be reproduced without charge but may not be printed comercially without the permission of the author.