resilient and primed

IMG_1020I attended my first Chelmsford Diocesan training event yesterday as part of the process of being a new incumbent. The day, run by Cognacity, was particularly useful for me, 4 days into the role. Looking at strategies and ‘tricks’ to avoid stress and look after mental health after a 6 weeks break and, as such, still very much ‘unstressed’ is, I think, a great time to do this course.

As an outcome of this course we have had to choose one or two little things to do for the next 21 days. These would be something that we have not usually done but would be very manageable … like going for a 10 minute walk at lunchtime, rather than eating lunch in from of the laptop. I’ve never been good at keeping to tick sheets, but I am trying to ensure my two targets become a habit and so looking forward to seeing how that goes.

In my experience we all work too hard, all tend to think we are indispensable (and possibly indestructible as that is what auto-correct tried to change that to!) but actually burn out and inefficiency and cynicism become a real risk when we push ourselves too much. So … I’m going to attempt a healthy way forward …. with this space!

After my brief trip to Chelmsford it was great again to meet up with Richard as my MA supervisor … and he gave me some great pointers to start thinking for our next batch of assignments … so I feel kinda primed for a new term … but more than that it was just great to catch up with an amazing good friend.

All in all a pretty good day.

starting again and deep water

It’s been too long since I wrote something here.
It has been an age since I wrote anything here about how I was feeling and what I was up to …. for a number of reasons I was simply not able to.

But today ….
I start again
as I begin to explain a new chapter.

licensedMany of you know that on Thursday evening I was licensed and installed as the Priest in Charge of St. Barnabas Little Ilford. There’s pictorial evidence here to show it really happened as I look semi terrified as to what has just occurred and what I now have to do as I stand next to Bishop Stephen.

Yesterday was our first Sunday service together which had an amazing warm and community feel about it… even though it did start at 9.30am.

As we gathered in a  giant circle of nearly 40 people around the altar and shared bread and wine I felt this was an incredibly special moment for us as church. People have worked hard and prayed over the last 16 months for a new priest … and they got me! I feel amazingly honoured and already love being part of this community … many of you will feel sorry for them!

Bishop Stephen challenged us at the licensing.
He used the story of the fishermen going back out in Luke 4 after Jesus tells them to return to the deep water and cast out their nets again. This instruction came after they had been fishing all night with no catch. I wonder what the dynamics were on that day … a young carpenter telling experienced fishermen how to do their job. It must have been ‘interesting’ at bare minimum! Anyway, we know the story and that they caught so many fish that their nets started to break.

Bishop Stephen used this to challenge and remind us that our task is to put out into deep water, put down our nets, and expect a catch. This means stepping out of our comfort zones and finding new ways of being church and engaging meaningfully with people.

So … its an exciting and scary time … exciting as we know we are called to set out and do some new stuff (I’ll say more of that later) and scary as we are all in this boat together, setting out, with no clue whatsoever where the boat will go or what we will find as we set out ….. but that’s what we are called to do …. so … off we go!

Look again at ‘Look, I’m wearing all the colours’ …

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As I said in an earlier post … I have known Zara and Rikard for nearly 10 years.

In that time they have become two of my my most trusted and loved friends. They are beautiful people, very loving and very welcoming and on top of that they have both been blessed with amazing creative skills. One of the highlights of my ordained ministry was to be able to bless this lovely couple’s marriage.

Anyway … if you’ve read my previous post  you will also be aware of the real pain that they both experience and live with on a daily basis. So please,  go here again to watch the video … or here to Rilkard’s page. They have done a massive amount of work and are so so close to the target to make this photo storybook a reality. They have already raised £7283 and only need another £1677. That’s amazing!

Today … instead of buying shit you don’t need … go here and pledge to make a real difference in enabling Zara and Rikard to publish something that, really, we all need!

Thanks.

Burma update …

Min Aung Hlaing, the head of the Burmese military, is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Rohingya villagers, and the rape of thousands of Rohingya women. The United Nations has said what his military has done could be genocide, the most serious crime in the world.

In Kachin State and Shan State his soldiers are also attacking civilians, driving thousands of people from their homes, arresting, torturing and executing villagers.

Despite these horrific violations of international law, the British government is refusing to support the UN Security Council referring Burma to the International Criminal Court. A referral to this court means that they can investigate the crimes that have taken place and seek to prosecute those responsible.

Email your MP and take action here.

If you live outside the UK, you can email Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson here.

Min Aung Hlaing and his military are terrified of this happening. British MPs who have called on the British government to support a referral have been banned from visiting Burma.

So far Min Aung Hlaing has paid no price for what he has done to the Rohingya. Thinking he can get away with anything, he has been stepping up attacks against other ethnic minorities in Burma.

Getting the UN Security Council to refer Burma to the International Criminal Court won’t be easy. China and Russia will be opposed. The only way to overcome that opposition is to build global support for a referral. The British government should be working to build that global support. Instead, on this issue, the British government has the same position as China and Russia, they don’t support a referral.

Britain is the formal lead country on Burma at the UN Security Council. Others follow their lead. By refusing to support a referral, they are protecting Min Aung Hlaing, encouraging him to believe he can continue to get away with the mass rape and killing of ethnic minorities.

If you live in the UK, please email your MP asking them to support Early Day Motion 1219, calling on the British government to support referring Burma to the International Criminal Court. (An Early Day Motion is a kind of petition that only MPs can sign, and we know from experience they can influence the government).

Email your MP and take action here.

If you live outside the UK, you can email Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson here.

Thank you for your support

Anna Roberts
Burma Campaign UK

Help build the campaign – donate today!

building community c

barn-raising.jpgThe other morning I received these words from my Richard Rohr daily thought:

I am interested to see many more forms of intentional community than what we see today. . . . I would like to see the equivalent of Jesuit Volunteer Corps communities connected to every parish, where young people might commit to live for a term of two or three years, committed to the work of justice and peacemaking. [2] I would like to see the parish encourage members to purchase homes in the vicinity of one another and in neighborhoods where there is greatest need, as an expression of the parish’s work. . . . I would like to see every parish have a version of a L’Arche community. [3] I am interested in the construction of simple homes, affordable and available for both poor and rich, to create neighborhoods where all can live and interact and be helpful to each other.

As I reflect on the future here on the Greenwich Peninsula I am challenged as to how this might look. As I consider moving in to a new setting in Newham I am pondering those words and feel challenged. I believe intentional community to be the real energising thing in ministry …. pairing it with cathedrals and parish settings grounds and earths it in a powerful way.

More pondering, reflecting, contemplating.

Waite on Solitude

IMG_0458On Tuesday evening I attended an amazing Sion College event which, this time, was held at the East India Club. The subject of the evening was ‘Solitude’ with the speaker being Terry Waite.

Wow is all I can say.

Terry spoke amazingly without notes for 10 to 15 mins. He was humorous in sharing some stories, humble when sharing of his 5 years from 1987-1991 held as a hostage and deeply profound when reflecting on how that 5 years , most of being in solitary confinement, had affected his ongoing life and work.

Two of the simply most awesome comments he shared were that although he would never wish to repeat the experience that he was ‘the better for it’ and that he found no problem forgiving his captors. The latter he said was due to being able to take the time to understand the reason for their actions (he then digressed a little on to the current Middle East situation and the West response … maybe I’ll blog about that at a later date) … I would hope I would be able to do the same in such circumstances but am not sure I would be as bold as this man who not only forgave but has been back on a number of occasions and has continued in his work of hostage relief even offering to go to Iran in 2007 to negotiate with those holding hostage British sailors.

I jotted down a few other notes which hit me …

When engrossed in rough times he made some suggestions of outlooks to get though the experience:
have no regrets about what you did to get there
avoid self pity
don’t oversentimalise your situation
take the experience as an opportunity to get to know yourself better

Those are incredible words coming from a person held and deprived from all human communication for 5 years. I’ve reflected on them for a few days and it seems to be that they comprise some pretty good advice for most of the stuff life can throw at us, particularly the using of the opportunity to learn more about yourself rather than be pitiful and descend spiralling into a victim mindset that is particularly quite common for the who suffer from the imposter syndrome.

Thank you Terry for an amazing evening .. and thank you to the new people I met around the table for adding to what was just a great all round evening.

Thy Kingdom Come

P2P_Facebook_Profile-1Today is Ascension Day where, in the church, we remember Jesus leaving the disciples and ascending into heaven in front of them, still carrying the scars of the crucifixion.

We are being encouraged, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, through Thy Kingdom Come, to join in a global wave of prayer between today and Pentecost which is in 10 days time.

At Holy Trinity Greenwich Peninsula we regularly pray for the community and for the next 10 days we are particularly highlighting prayer by receiving prayer requests from residents which we pray for on our Friday morning Prayer and pastry meeting at 8.00am in The Prayer Space.

Across the East Greenwich Parish there are other opportunities to pray as well. So … have a prayer request for you or w=your family … then please get in touch as it will be a privilege to pray for or with you.