yfc world record bid …

CroppedImage610216-sponsored-events4Some of my YFC friends are playing 5 aside footie for 48 hours in an attempt to make a new world record and raise funds for work with young people across the county.

Why not go check out what they are doing; and it would be really cool if you could sponsor them too!

Host cafe

These are my friends and I’m really privileged to be able to say that and be part of Moot. The only sad thing for me is that I cannot get to be with them as often as I would like. This video shows the new cafe … a dream that has taken 10 years to come to fruition. In that time the community, particularly Ian, have shown great patience and a trust in a God who delivers!

They are a great example to all of us of trusting God, waiting, and not looing for quick fix solutions. Oh … and the coffee is amazing too! So … go listen to the story and check it out next time you are nearby.

 

what a weekend!

IMG_0694What an amazing weekend!

Gills are Champions! After an exciting season, and years of disappointment, Gills are promoted with 3 matches left to play (the first team to secure promotion from any of the leagues), and crowned Champions with one game still to play. We then celebrated as a group of ‘boys’ (while the girls went to see Dirty Dancing) with a curry and beer which is always great to do.

This orning was the APCM of St Marks. APCM’s are not renowned for their newsworthiness but today was lined with a bit of excitement as we were able to read of the load of tuff that St Mark’s is involved in positively in the community. Some established people recently have been talking of returning to ‘the glory years’ when the place was full. My reflection on those years is, however, that we got together to worship and then returned to our homes, without a lot of community engagement. Now, however, people are seriously engaged in their community …. which causes me to think to a large number of people this Christian community is ‘good news’ …. so I believe we are in the glory years and have no need to go back.

Finally my day ended with a trip up to Moot to as we put together more stuff and thoughts on developing an umbrella organisation for new monastic communities. A great meeting, lots to talk about with passionate people who simply want to follow God and see transformation in their communities … simples! It’s always an honour to be part of this group and catch up, even if it was too briefly, with my Moot friends.

That was the weekend … I’m praying the week will be as good!

a God of mystery

DSC_0068 copyA few things have changed in my life over the last few months. Over the last couple of weeks a few more things have changed.

I have left the prison as chaplain. As things started to gain momentum in Gillingham I was becoming increasingly aware that I felt ‘out of place’ at the prison I was in. I don’t think this was a fault of anyone, or anything, but rather my feelings of being misplaced was simply God’s way of telling me that it was time to devote more time to the stuff I am called to do in Gillingham. The prison was taking me out of Gillingham twice a week, and did not really connect with any of the other stuff I was doing.

So … did I hear God wrong for this ministry? I have never stayed at a place for such a short space of time. Was I wrong? Or am I now being disobedient and should I have stayed? I don’t think I heard God wrong. I believe this was the right thing to do for 8 months, but now it is the right time to move. I don’t know why, or rather I did not know at the time, why I should be moving.

This week, I started a day a week chaplaincy at a local secondary school. It felt so right being in that school this week. If I felt ‘out of place’ in the prison, the exact opposite was my experience in the school. I felt so ‘in place’ it was unreal, backed up by the reaction of people towards me. I consider myself to be there as a servant and I was immediately able to serve people by listening and being a support. The day rushed by and I felt a groan rush up inside me as the bell for the end of the day sounded.

I believe God has led me to this place. I feel more connected in this place, and this role leaves me in the centre of Gillingham which is where I feel I am called to be at this point in time.

In reality none of this makes sense. It does not look good on a CV to leave somewhere after a few months. It does not make sense to leave a place that is paying you well. But … I follow a God who does not always make sense … I follow a God who spoke from a burning bush …. I follow a God who gave a donkey the ability to speak … I follow a God who left the amazingness of heaven to be born in the crap and dirt of  stable … I follow a God who died to conquer death … I follow a God of mystery …. why should I expect things to always make sense?

everyone has a story …

victoryI simply love Jamie the Very Worst Missionary‘s blog. I have followed Jamie’s blog for a few years. Sometimes she makes me stand up and shout ‘yes’, other times I come away thinking that I resonate with her feelings of frustration with Christians, and others I laugh at her courage and honesty.  Jamie has a real gritty knack of just saying how it is. The reality of mission that she writes about encourages me.

The other day this post, victory, moved me. It’s produced by Jamie’s church and is well worth watching. In this video Danielle tells hers tory. It’s powerful … especially when she hears from God, via the eyes of a deer, that he is sick of not having her, and that, essentially, he wants her back.

This is Danielle’s story … what’s yours?

getting stuff done!

cofwd2502Recently, and through a mutual friend, I discovered coFWD. I like the website and love the vision. I like the website because it is clean, but what really excites me about this place is the vision:

‘coFWD is a self managed, independent community of people united by one common purpose – getting stuff done. Venture through the doors of our old bank building at the end of Rochester High Street and you’ll find an eclectic mix of individuals from all sorts of backgrounds and disciplines.

Together we’re building a community where people are encouraged to share and develop ideas, roll up their sleeves and get plans and projects off the ground.’

Too often I seem to sit in meetings where people, including myself, talk about doing stuff, and then talk more …. and more …. but actually getting things done and working together to help each other get things done seems to be what drives the community of coFWD … and that’s an exciting thing to see! 

I am part of a group that has  something of a similar vision for Gillingham … watch this space (or get in touch if interested!)

a new volume

easter gathering 6 bubbly celebrationSo … the gathering had our ‘away day’ with Ian. We started by asking the question ‘What do we mean by mission in a culture of spirituality?’ Ian them led us through ‘what is new monasticism’ using Moot as a working example. We then started to look at forming a rhythm of life and how did would help us in our mission and our lives as Christians in our settings.

As the day progressed I sensed a real intrigue which turned to excitement and then to a permission giving feeling of real willingness and possibility for what might be, and what the gathering could become.

The gathering made a collective decision to start the journey of looking at whether we are a new monastic community by seeing if we can craft our Rhythm of Life. This will involve us in a 6-8 month process but there was a real sense of wanting to do this.  So we will be planning another day away with a facilitator in the next few months.

I am excited, I am worried about the level of work and commitment this will take, I am intrigued as to where this will take us. Amongst all this fear, excitement and intrigue, however, I am convinced that this is the right thing for us to be doing. I will be interested to see what we as a community value about what we do, and what our dreams are for what our community could become.

Whatever happens, yesterday was the start of a whole new chapter for us ….  actually, maybe even more than a whole new chapter, but more like a whole new volume. Nothing will eb the same afte this. Please … continue to pray for us.

spirituality for mission

spiritI’ve just got home and I’m pretty buzzing so rathe than sleep, I thought I’d blog! Tonight I returned to Aylesford to lead a session of the MSM course as part of my one day a week MACE role with the diocese.

My session was ‘spirituality for mission’ where we looked at the 10 marks of mission spirituality, or of apostolic people. The main aim of the session was to share with each other stuff we have found useful and real life illustrations (testimony) of what sustains us spiritually in ministry.

We discoverd together that apostolic people are people who are learning that they:
are called and sent;
are greatly loved;
see and listen;
travel light;
are people of prayer and the Holy Spirit;
go two by two (and know the value of companionship and community);
bear a message;
are wounded healers (who know how they have been made whole in their brokenness, and have been and are being saved from their sinfulness);
live rhythmically;
are adventurers.

The session seemed to go well, but I am buzzing because of the amazing testimonies that were shared this evening. People made themselves incredibly vulnerable by sharing some pretty deep stuff. More than that …. a number of these people are doing incredibly amazing things like moving to different parts of the country, giving up well paid jobs to be involved in mission, and working in some pretty challenging and exciting circumstances.

I was blown away tonight by all of the testimonies. It was a real privilege to be part of this session tonight … so, to those that stumble here, thank you for all you shared. I’m a little sad not to be with you tomorrow (we have a gathering away day which I am VERY excited about as we meet with Ian Mobsby to look at rhythms of life and ‘stuff’). I will rejoin the group on sunday and look forward to seeing what God has been doing.

Now I’d simply like the ‘buzz’ to deflate a little to enable me to sleep!

a blessing …

urlI guess I find myself pretty frustrated that the church sometimes not only moves slowly, but seems to move insensitively. In this case I refer to the blessing of gay marriages, which to me seems to be a no-brainer! Surely, we can bless people in loving caring relationships, no matter what our view may be. After all, we bless gates, cushions and (when I was at the cathedral) lumps of stone …. I even bless rosaries in the prison when asked …. so why not people in love?

Bishop Alan blogs well on most things and his comments speak well:

‘If the Church wants to provide compassion, it can stop talking about gay people and start talking with them. It can demonstrate the genuinness of its care by ceasing to belittle and patronise them and start taking them seriously. If it wants to pray with them, this institution which cheerfully blesses nuclear submarines, hamsters and buckets of cement can start blessing their often stunning relationships.’

you can read the whole article here.

Don’t hate, donate!

dole-460x276Some of my friends have expressed some surprise that I have remained quiet(ish) over the news from Monday. I make no secret about being very anti the policies of the government from that era, and particularly the harshness of the then Prime Minister in her dealings with certain people groups and communities. I consider those polices to have seriously harmed this country and destroyed the feeling of community that we did have, and replaced it with a personal selfishness with no regard for others, which is still rife today.

Plenty of people have written good stuff without being offensive  people with far more of a right to write than me! I linked this morning to Russel Brand’s piece in the Guardian – well worth a read. An article that ‘identifies the whys without the expletives’ accurately noted a friend.

Despite my dislike (you will no doubt even notice my reluctance in even having the name on my blog) I cannot condone, nor would I join in with, so called ‘hate parties’. I could never celebrate someone’s death, not even if they had hurt me personally. As a Christian, and as a human being, death only separates and causes more pain and to maintain our human dignity I think the reality if that pain and loss in others needs to be respected.

There is a much better way to ‘protest’ if that indeed is the correct word. Don’t hate, donate is suggesting rather than have parties that we can donate money to help charities who work with people who are still suffering due to those policies, such as the homeless, miners families, gay teenagers, Hillsborough survivors and victims of Apartheid in South Africa.

Hate breeds more hate …. donating just might be a more satisfying alternative that can make a real difference.