Saturday, 31 May 2008

Race for Life

Isla ran the Race for Life with Carol today. We all went to watch. They had some difficulty starting, due to a large number of "walkers" who seemed to be in the "runners" section, but after a bit of overtaking they were able to get going. I think they enjoyed it. The weather was fine - overcast but warm. All good fun!
As always I am stunned to learn that 1/3 of runners don't hand over their sponsorship money! So if you did the Race for Life this year - do remember to pay up! The running is fun, but the cash may be life saving!

Friday, 30 May 2008

Cleaning up...

We're hitting the house today giving it a jolly good clean up - after a busy half-term and in preparation for tomorrow's excitement...

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Leadership under development

One of the greatest influences on my thinking about leadership was a woman called Trish who worked for SCM in the early nineties. She was really interested in anarchistic organisational theories - which may sound slightly contradictory. She then went on to be a consultant to radical campaigning groups who wanted decision making structures to fit their egalitarian beliefs - rather than the power ethic of big business.
Her basic argument was that in order to allow each person to be heard - which is basically what an anarchist would want - you actually need tighter rather than looser structures of organisation. Anarchist organisation is not an oxymoron, it's actually essential - and prevents a slide back to "he who shouts loudest gets heard!"
She demonstrated her theory through a very neat decision making game which I've used at various time since then - once enabling a ministry team on the brink of crisis to actually talk to each other!
As I said yesterday, I believe that the Spirit is active in each person, so the leading voice of Christ can be found in each church member. This is a kind of Christian, anarchistic, democratic, pneumatological theory of leadership. Each person is a leader, whether they know it or not. Their actions, words and ideas contribute to the life of the whole - even if it is by withdrawal or abstention. The task of "leaders" is to enable the collective voice to be heard - which includes the voice of minorities or individuals. This is not majority rule - all must be heard, since it is often through the forgotten or seemingly unimportant that Christ's Word can be received. The Magnificat is a great warning to those who seek power or control.
I've just been reading the chapter on leadership in "Emerging Churches" which talks about participation, gifting, servant leadership, leading as a body, etc... It's made me reflect on our journey in Watling Valley. When John left there was a general desire to reform the Ministry Team as a "leaderless group" - that was the majority view. In the end we decided to have a Team Chair/Leader - which is the role I found myself in. From the beginning this was a challenging appointment since I was tasked with facilitating or enabling collective leadership in the Team without acting as a leader. Over time I developed a number of techniques for doing this, including listening, chairing, structuring conversations, reflecting back, etc... I also did a certain amount of "servant leadership" - through the Service Planning, central admin, etc... Through it all I made many, many mistakes as I found myself slipping into traditional roles, or taking the easy options. At the end of this period I think I've learnt a lot about collaborative leadership whether I was any good at making it happen or not.
I've also used a non-directive approach to leadership in a number of churches - which has not always been fun. Refusing to act as the mediator or ultimate authority can be unpopular with people who want you to impose their will on other people! Ultimately I agree with Rolland Allen who insists we "tell it to the church" - rather than sort it out for them.
The negative side of non-directive, facilitative leadership is that you can be seen as weak. The negative side of enabling and empowering ministry is that you are no-longer seen as the hero. More and more, I find myself less central to the stories of ministry that I'm involved in. Others get the praise, the status or the respect. I begin to wonder if people think I'm any good myself? All this, of course, is the necessary side effect of "lifting up the humble" and "bringing down the mighty from their thrones". We would all like to be the downtrodden poor who get lifted up, but sometimes we need to be the rich who are sent empty away. As an ordained, professional minister, "I must decrease that he may increase" - to borrow the words of John the Baptist.
So what is leadership in the church today? It is, I believe, the gift of each church member, but some individuals will act as focusses of that leadership at particular times. We all have our "leadership moments" so to speak. There are some, however, who are called to make that collective leadership possible. This is a challenging and sacrificial calling which involves a real responsibility to listen for the authentic voice of Christ - wherever it may be found..
Power does corrupt, but through the grace of Christ leaders can lay it down at his feet, perhaps recovering their own lives in the process...

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

The problem of ecclesiatstical language

I've been thinking about ministry again today - in particular the key principles of ministry as it develops in the twenty first century. Not too big a job then!
I've also been thinking of some of the odd conversations I've had over the years that have tended to indicate that I wasn't always speaking quite the same language as the people around me. We have some funny words, like "service" which can sound like a function provided as part of a religious service industry, or can imply a deep call to seek the good of another person. I have often been struck by the fact that Jesus came to serve and yet his greatest act of "service" was to die for people who didn't want anything to do with him. When we ask people how they would like us to "serve" them, we may be missing something...
And then there's leadership... I was fascinated by the way a number of people connected our Growing Leaders course with leading worship. Having done it twice I can confirm that there is nothing in the course about leading worship, and yet it seems that our concept of church leadership is intertwined with the function of leading worship - but I still can't see why it should be... although there are some interesting links between liturgical role and community function. Of course, it all depends on what you mean by leadership. I still have this sneaking suspicion that all God's people are leaders - my pneumatological, democratic leanings are still there... If the Spirit is present in each member, then the Spirit will speak through each member - what, therefore, is the function of those we call leaders?
Anyway, I'm rambling... The basic issue is that the words we use can be really tricky. I say one thing, and I know what I mean, but another person may use the same words in completely different ways - and then, of course, there are exceptions and complications which may be more important to some people than others. Navigating your way through such a fog of meaning can be quite tricky. I've often had the experience with some of my ministry team colleagues (naming no names) of saying one thing and then be attacked for what I hadn't said...
Of course there are times when I have chosen to be naughty with words. I went for a job once and was asked by one of the interviewers what I thought was wrong with the world. I kind of sensed that he wanted me to talk about sin, but I suddenly felt disinclined to use the S word. I'm not sure why, looking back. Maybe I felt it was too easy to drop in a throwaway line about sin, faith and justification. The evangelical in me could easily produce the words, but my post-evangelical side wouldn't let me... Oh words... Didn't get the job, by the way - but it was only a gap year thing.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Making and Sticking

Isla was at work today so I spent a very productive day with the girls. We went to Ikea for breakfast where we bought a new desk for ten pounds and a couple of swivel chairs - one red, one blue. After a quick trip into town, we returned to the house for an entertaining afternoon of flat-pack construction.
I had just completed a major sort of my study, so had created a nice space for them to use. It was perfect for the new desk. They spent the rest of the afternoon doing craft in my study - a small zoo of fuzzy creatures was created...

Monday, 26 May 2008

A Damp Cub Camp

This day was dominated by the collection of cubs from a very damp camp. Mud everywhere. The clean-up will last for days!

Sunday, 25 May 2008


This is the first Sunday in my sabbatical when we haven't had something planned, so we decided to do church. I did a quick scan of "Church near you" to find a service in one of the villages outside Milton Keynes. Only one of the churches I looked at had included full details of the services at a time we could make, so we headed off to Mursley.
I knew the previous rector and curate fairly well but have yet to meet the new guy. He now has five villages to contend with, so was off somewhere else doing communion (I guess).
The family service was small but friendly, with a great feeling of community. We could tell that people knew each other pretty well but were also willing to pounce on us as visitors - "Who are you visiting?". The service was led by one of the church wardens and her husband who between them delivered an engaging piece of all age worship with a sermon which was clearly part of a series on the creed. Music was provided by two younger people with guitar and violin.
Obviously in a small community like this you are not going to get a seven piece rock band and a nationally recognized preacher, etc, etc... This was a small local congregation not a mega church - but it was good to see the church doing what it does best - building deep, committed local Christian community. More churches like this, please!
The church warden's husband was pleased to hear that I'd found them through "A Church Near You" since he'd only got the password two weeks ago...

Friday, 23 May 2008

Night out with the boys

I tried again to organise a dads' night out. There's always some enthusiasm about the idea of a curry night, but no-one seems to have the time or the energy. Three of us managed to go to Stony last night and had a good evening. It is important to create space for this kind of thing but really hard to make it happen. I'll try again soon...

Iona "Newton" in a Collar

Today's school collective worship was based on year 4's trip to Olney this week. They had taken part in one of the wonderful days produced by Duncan Barnes, Bridgebuilder, etc... about John Newton and the Slave Trade. I had seen a bit of the drama (at Trinity Fishermead last year) and must say they have produced a very splendid package. 
Iona dressed up as John Newton (in one of my clerical shirts!). She did a super take of John Newton at his desk.
It was a good assembly and I'm a proud parent - but it was a bit odd to see my daughter in vicar gear... 

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Early up - Six miles again

Was woken at 3 this morning by a badly behaved mp3 player. Couldn't get back to sleep so finished off the first draft of my write up on ministerial theology. It was good to feel I'd achieved something.
Ran another six miles - not in the rain this time - a few minutes faster than last week. Sore legs...

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Wednesday Morning

It's sunny but cool in Milton Keynes. I've been to the gym again and braved the torture machines and the cross trainer. My aim today is to finish the writing I started on Monday. Time for some concentration!
The danger, of course, when you're sitting at your desk is that the world wide web is only one mouse click away...

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Drive-Through Church

Here's a great video from the US demonstrating the potential of drive-through church. This is what happens when you get what you want...

New ways of being gym

Went to the gym today and tried to change my work out. I was brave and experimented with some of the strange torture machines with weights attached - I think I remembered my induction training...
I was aware today that I'm comparing myself with those around me. It intrigues me that I seem to have this inbuilt need to compete or lead - is it not possible to merely belong? As usual with such experiments, I'm learning more about myself and about church than I am about other people...
I've spent most of the day working on the question of priesthood. This has been a big theme of my discussions with others over the past year, since it has an impact not only on the ordained ministry but on a useful theology of lay/shared ministry. I've been trying today to put some thoughts down on paper, but struggling to do it concisely. After a few hours of concentration I need a break but may go back to it later...

Monday, 19 May 2008

Ministry-shaped Questions...

I spent most of today wrestling with a thorny question, principally the need for an appropriate theology of ministry to help us with developing shared ministry in MK. It's not as easy as you think.
As far as I can see most approaches are either dualist - dividing the visible church from the invisible, the professional from the lay - or functional - identifying different roles for different individuals. There is also a tendency to focus on the "minister shaped hole" believed to be at the heart of every church...
Hence Robin Greenwood gives us an excellent theology of priesthood and our own John Pritchard tells us how it should work. I've also been looking at some fascinating books from the 1980s which are still relevant in many ways, but a million miles from the kind of collaborative ministry that we need to build...
I am drawn to Steven Crofts', Ministry in Three Dimensions, but am inclined to develop his concept of three "dimensions" as a model for understanding the expression of Christ's ministry through all creation - as a circle rather than a box...
As you can see, I'm having fun!

This evening it was time for another non-sabbatical activity - a wedding interview that should have happened a few weeks ago. It was a good session.


Run: 3miles in 27:41
too much BBQ food on Sunday (and pimms, wine, cream, ice-cream, crumble and chocolate with Solloways...)
Popped into school. Anne and Tracy said I seemed to have recovered my bounce!

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Sunday Scouts

As I continue to find out how the other half live, today we once again avoided normal church life and opted instead to join a scout treasure hunt. 
This turned out to be a mad drive through the wilds of north Bucks following clues as we went. You'll be pleased to know that there were some ecclesiastical elements to the journey:
Which road in Little Horwood might the Vicar live on? (actually I happen to know that the Vicar of Little Horwood is the Rector of Mursley) - Church Street.
Who made this tree (photo provided) famous in Stony Stratford? Wesley (Unfortunately the photographed tree has been removed).
Where is the home of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost? - Holy Trinity Wolverton (the Car park was full so there must have been someone in).
We finished at the Quarries Scout Camp where I helped with the BBQ - swapping my normal Sunday Communion Table for a flaming altar of meat. I'm sure I was more in diaconal that priestly mode... but ministry was performed...
We weren't the only potential church attenders present (names and addresses will be provided to the appropriate Bishops).
Once again there were interesting parallels with usual Sunday practice. A group of people met, engaged in an activity through which learning took place. They ate corporately and tried to make small talk. Some people knew each other better than others and there was an inner group with their own established code of language and behaviour. Belonging could be achieved by making yourself useful - hence the cooking gear.
What am I learning about church and culture? - lots! How do I feel about it? - a bit confused...
How do we as Christians step out of our boxes and connect with the world around us? Does high-maintenance church prevent us from doing so? You tell me...

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Fresh Expressions of Gym

Saturday gym visit: Running - 20mins at 11kph and Rowing - 5k in 26mins.
This is my third Saturday morning gym session. 
At CRE this week Mike went to a Fresh Expressions talk where he was challenged to think about stepping into unfamiliar territory. The woman leading the session said she had asked a friend to church. The friend couldn't come, but invited her to Bingo. She went along and found it an alien experience; not knowing what to do and how to behave. She compared this to the experience of a visitor in church. Mike was quite taken with this image and wondered if it would be a good challenge for a congregation? - go to a place you wouldn't normally visit and see what it feels like.
Going to the gym has been this kind of experience for me. I was very uncertain when I went for the induction, feeling like a fish out of water. Everyone else seemed younger - or fitter - and obviously knew what they were doing... Even after three weeks I feel very self-conscious - am I too fat or too slow? Am I doing the exercises in the right order? Am I wearing the right thing?
As I track my weight, time and speed, I also ought to track my inculturation. Am I becoming part of this "community" of body-improvers? What sort of community is it? What does it teach me about church? Lots to ponder

After Sunday

I've just been looking at the web site of an organisation called After Sunday. It focusses on the vocation of Christians to serve God in their normal lives. It looks quite helpful, but I only had a brief look. Check it out for yourself.
When I was living and working in a Root Group in Southampton I was, for a while, the one who worked full-time to support the group (and pay off our debt). At the time, some of my fellow Rooties thought I was missing out, but I soon came to realise that I was learning more about being a Christian in my working life than I was in church. As a library assistant I learnt how to serve joyfully  - with a focus on the needs of another rather than my need to get the job done. As a monorail driver (!) I was a chaplain to the line - stopping off at the stations to cheer up and encourage the hard-trodden staff...
At the time I wanted to explore spirituality in the work place more, but there were no organisations to help me. I joined one but it wasn't quite what I was looking for. 
As the Church we need to refocus our attention on those who are the Church in the World - there's a great Dave Walker cartoon on the After Sunday site which I can't reproduce - go have a look...

Friday, 16 May 2008

Clergy Stress: Childcare vs. Ministry?

Today's Church Times contained the following question: Are there guidelines for stipendiary clergy (male and female) with a working spouse and young children about the ratio of their "Parish" to their "childcare" time?
Isla was witness to my initial response - which wasn't polite!
This question brought to mind a colleague who was criticised for not working hard enough, although he was active in the "parish" during the day and the evening. His "boss" came up with the innovative idea that the "ladies of the parish" come to the house in the early evening to help his wife with bathing and putting the children to bed - then he could be available for "parish" work all day! How's that for thinking outside the box!
I'm sure better legal brains will be able to give a more accurate answer to this question, but my response would be something like this:
No, there are no guidelines for stipendiary clergy about the ratio of time they give to the church and the to their family, but they must take both responsibilities seriously. They are both callings under God. Clergy also have a duty to study, meet God in prayer and look after themselves - enabling them to be effective servants of Christ and "fully alive" human beings. They are not bond-servants to the PCC but love-servants of Christ and must prioritise this calling expressed through the catholic witness of the Church.
Clergy must do their job (and will be called to account if they are neglectful) but this accountability must also consider reasonable working hours and good practice. I was once encouraged to think in terms of working 40 hours per week (equivalent to a normal employee) and volunteer a further 20 (because that's what church members do(!)). If a minister cannot fulfill their "duties" within this time-scale the fault is with the post not the individual!
I suspect a very human story lies behind this question. My instinct is to side with the minister against a dehumanising campaign of bullying and emotional blackmail. I could be wrong in my assessment of the situation, but I've been around long enough to fear that I'm probably right... My prayers are with the family in the firing line.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Back to the Sabbatical

Spent most of the day writing. It was good to get back to the main sabbatical project.
My aim at the moment is to write a first draft - 11,000 words so far...

The Future of the Parish System

edited by Steven Croft

If you're looking for one book about the development of the church in England then this may be the book for you. It contains a series of essays by some of the key thinkers in current debates about Fresh Expressions, Church and Society, Mission, Ministry, etc... Graham Cray, Grace Davie, George Lings, Michael Moynagh, and others, who provide good summaries of their thoughts about particular subjects (or rather summaries of their books).  In a couple of instances they actually expand on what they have said elsewhere, developing their thinking in new and intriguing ways... Worth a read...

I particularly like Steven Croft's proposal for a set of key Anglican Values:
  1. a commitment to Scripture
  2. a commitment to the dominical sacraments of baptism and Eucharist
  3. a commitment to listening to the whole of Christian tradition and seeing that tradition expressed in the historic creeds
  4. a commitment to the ministry and mission of the whole people of God and to the ordering of ministry through the threefold order of deacons, priests and bishops
  5. a commitment to the mission of God to the whole of creation and to the whole of our society as defined and described in the Anglican Communion's five marks of mission

Now that's a Covenant I'd be happy to sign!

Ministry in the Local Church

Edited by Howard Belben, 1986

I've been challenged to look seriously at Methodist thinking about Local Ministry, so when I saw this book in SPCK in Cambridge (quite an achievement to find a book in SPCK these days) I picked it up.
It's a collection of essays about local ministry from a variety of methodist theologians and practitioners, including my old New Testament prof, I. Howard Marshall. His essay was the most interesting and I've already passed it to few others to look at. It's basically a challenge to traditional concepts of ordination which raises some very significant questions. He points out that many people in the NT were set aside for particular ministries through the laying on of hands. Why do we limit such "ordinations" to a few "professionals"?
He was writing in 1986, of course, but this is a useful discussion to run alongside Steven Croft's Ministry in Three Dimensions, which focusses on a dynamic understanding the traditional "orders" of deacons, presbyters and bishops (1999).

Six miles in the rain

We decided to go on a six mile run this morning as part of Isla's preparation for the Race for Life. This seemed like a really good idea until we got to Emerson Valley and the heavens opened. We were so wet, it was like running with weights.
Despite the elements being against us, we made it round in about an hour; wet but pleased to have done it.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Sandown again

This was the second and final day of my sojourn with Scripture Union at Christian Resources - another two and a half hour drive to Sandown Park to talk about SU resources in the Royal Box. 
I met Dave Walker from the Church Times (who does those funny cartoons) and tried to introduce him to Light for the Lectionary - in the hope that a few more anglicans might find out about it...
It was a good day, filled with interesting encounters. I'm already looking forward to next year...

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Christian Resources

As part of my sabbatical I was invited to join the Scripture Union team at the Christian Resources Exhibition at Sandown Park. We spent the day in the air-conditioned Royal Box talking to people about their work with children and young people. We were also trying to promote the new online resource LightLive which makes all of their regular youth and children's work material available for free online. To help us with this we had a computer set up with a (very slow) mobile connection.

It was great to meet all sorts of interesting people who are trying to develop their work. I met one older couple who were hoping to put on an all-age service in their village church. I also spoke to a pentecostal pastors wife about their hope to move their congregation on from 1950s pentecostal worship - isn't it interesting that these themes are repeated across denominations? All in all a useful day - I hope...

CRE is an interesting event. I only had a short opportunity to roam but it's always astonishing to take in the massive variety of resources and projects that Christians are involved in. You can come away feeling overwhelmed by the range of things that you are not doing (or failing to do) or you can be inspired to try something you've never thought of before. I came away with a bit of both - and a pile of bargain  books...

Monday, 12 May 2008

I'm a winner!

Blogging finally pays off! I have won ten tshirts from Webjam - the system I've been looking at for a number of possible uses. All I had to do was update my profile before May 1st and I'm now one of the five winners. Is it too geeky to wear a tshirt saying "I'm a Webjammer"?

Local Shared Ministry

A very good Project Group meeting today. We spent time looking at action plans in connection with our new remit.


Ran 3 miles in 27 minutes. I'm beginning to get my speed back but need to do a few longer runs for endurance - or drink less beer...

New Minister Appointed

Today we had the good news that Nick (the visiting URC minister) has agreed to come as the next Chaplain at Christ the Sower. Good News!

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Preach with a View

Working morning: Preach with a view - still waiting for result

Saturday, 10 May 2008


Gym trip: 20 mins running and 2k rowing.
Very hot day!

Friday, 9 May 2008

Preach with a View Weekend

Today marks the beginning of the "Preach with a View" weekend for our URC Special Category Minister. The candidate's first challenge was to lead collective worship at Christ the Sower School this morning. This is a key element of the weekend because (if called) he will be the chaplain.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Visit from Eastern Europe

Dave visited this afternoon and bought some trousers.
We learnt all about Prague, Bratislava, Budapest, Vienna and Ischia.
He brought the girls some chocolate carrots from Italy!

Ministry in Three Dimensions

by Steven Croft

Steven Croft is currently well known for his work in fresh expressions, but he's also penned a number of extremely helpful books, including Transforming Communities which I loved... 
This book is about ministry and contains some very helpful wisdom - which I wish I had read back in 1999 when this was published. It's a great statement of vision about ordained ministry in the local church and really should be a "must read" for all clergy.
His central message is that ministry should always be seen in three dimensions, following the pattern of the traditional three-fold ministry: diakonia, presbyteral ministry and episcope. He explores each in depth and successfully weaves them together, suggesting that all three are needed in the local church in one form or another. Ministers need a "portfolio approach" which adopts different aspects of these callings at different times and in different ways.
While I loved the book, I was disappointed by the focus on individual, ordained ministry. Although Steven Croft talks about lay people and does say a lot about how the minister might share their ministry with others, I felt that this book ultimately stops short of delivering a coherent vision for a fully collaborative local church. It was helpful, but my gut feeling is we need more...

Six Miles

I went for a three mile run at 7:30 this morning. Isla then wanted me to run home with her. I have now done 6.5 miles today. (Not fast)

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

The Substance of Church

I went to see the Cramps this morning for home communion - I know I'm not supposed to be working but they couldn't give me time last week. The number of jobs still hanging over from pre-sabbatical work is slowly diminishing...

I had a very interesting conversation today with John Punshon (Quaker historian and conveener of the MK Theology Forum). He wanted to discuss the remit of the Theology Forum in relation to its work on Local Shared Ministry. 
The issue that they are wrestling with is how we can develop Local Shared Ministry in an ecumenical context. Each denomination has a different approach to ministry which is both functional and theological. This makes it extremely difficult to develop coherent and radical local practice. It's easier to go for a lowest common denominator approach - what must you do, rather than what can you do.
John's suggestion was that the Theology Forum look at the way different traditions express the same basic features of church in their own way. By doing so, it may be possible to give LSM Ministry Units a bit more clarity about how they relate to the wider church and how they exercise their own ministry... Some simple guidelines may be produced.
I look forward to seeing how this work progresses...

After coffee with John, I went to the gym and rowed another 5k and ran for another 20 minutes. Home to do some SU work until it was time for bed.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Getting Fresh

This is the first proper day of my "study leave" but was fairly familiar.
I started the day with a three mile run, then tackled the emails piling up in my computer. I had a long conversation on the phone with Mary Coates about churches, and then attended a meeting in Oxford.
Although this sounds like an ordinary working day, there were some important differences:
1. I had time to get to Oxford in plenty of time, so was able to raid a useful library. I came away with four interesting books which will be very helpful...
2. The meeting was the Fresh Expressions Oversight Group (technically part of my sabbatical programme). We discussed a rather useful list of questions to be considered when looking at Pioneer Ministry  - not "guidelines" as such, but ways of making sure that those involved connect with the right people and groups. I thought this was a very useful meeting and could become really significant for future conversations in MK and beyond...
3. When I got home at half past five I didn't have to do any more work! Alleluia! I have forgotten the joy of evenings. I mowed the grass, watched and episode of Monk and went to bed. Very nice.

Monday, 5 May 2008

May Day

Bank Holiday Monday: We went for a walk at Stowe, with picnic and a long sit in the sun... lovely...

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Party for me!

My first Sunday on sabbatical!
I had the choice that most of our members/attenders have every week. Do I go to church or do something with the family. I chose family. 
We had a great party with the Solloways and Catherills (who had also skipped church) organised by Jane to celebrate my sabbatical. We had a great time with lots of good food.

Saturday, 3 May 2008


This is the first full day when I'm officially on sabbatical - hooray!
In fact it was like any other quiet Saturday without a wedding or special event.
We did music centre and Iona had a birthday party. I cut the grass.
In the morning I had my first proper visit to the local gym. I ran for 20 minutes and rowed 5k.
The big difference was that I didn't feel the need to check emails and deal with a dozen minor items of admin - the normal process of sneaking work in around family life... An I didn't feel the faintest bit guilty - well, not much anyway...
We took Izzy in to see the Colectomania stalls. She was excited to see anything to do with Star Wars. I bought the Trivial Pursuit Star Wars set for £5 and we played it with Iona in the afternoon. We nearly finished the game before Doctor Who started. It was the second part of a Sontaran story. I've been looking forward to seeing Sontarans since the new run of Doctor Who started. They were my monster as a child. The first Doctor Who monster I remember and the one I hid behind the sofa to avoid. Great fun!

Friday, 2 May 2008

Ken Moore

It was the first official day of my sabbatical today. We went for a run on the way back from school and then popped into town.
The main event of the day was Ken's funeral which was quite an event.
Chris Purdue's funeral also took place today.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Time to go

Went for a three mile run this morning - my first since we went to France and I got a cold. Still not feeling great and my running reflected this - not quick.

Met Chirs Batten from the Methodist Circuit this morning for "wide-ranging talks" as they say on TV... It was good to catch up and think together about the next stage of our shared history in Milton Keynes...

This afternoon we had a good Local Shared Ministry Project Group Meeting. We tidied up our proposal for the Exec next week - a new remit for the group which will make it a more active project in MK - very exciting!
I am involved in no-less than four major proposals that will all be put forward while I'm away: LSM, Miniterial Support in LEPs, Strategic Planning in the Deanery, and the creation of a part-time Area Dean post - all big and interesting projects... I hope people remember to let me know what happens.... This evening was my farewell service - combined with Ascension Day festivities. Jesus went on sabbatical on the first Ascension Day - after all, he did promise to come back! Mins will only be three months and I'm not going anywhere...
We celebrated with Bucks Fiz and non-alcoholic drink served by an ecclesiastical barman (above). Time to go...