Seems I’m on the move …

IMG_0426Seems something new is happening.
An announcement was made today.
I’m on the move to St Barnabas.

I’m really excited and very daunted and sad at leaving Greenwich but hopeful of great things in Newham. A move in any type of ministry or work always produces mixed emotions I think. When I visited I loved the place and could picture myself there … and they seem to like me so I believe this is going to be quite exciting. And daunting! But I think I already said that!

Anyway … I don’t move until the end of July / beginning of August with a view to a September start …. so until then I’m continuing seeking God’s way here.

More of this at a later date I am sure …

fitting in is over rated

CMS open daysI am really enjoying being on the CMS MA course for pioneers. I love the teaching we are engaged in, and I love being part of my year group who are all engaged in creative and amazing ways in God’s mission in their particular communities. I also love being part of this group that recognises we are all just human, good and bad at different stuff … and all united under a feeling, and a reality, that we don’t often feel we ‘fit in’. I feel I ‘fit’ with this group! But …as the title says …

I love the whole course … until it gets to this time of the year when the sun is shining and I need to knuckle down, read books and produce something. Assignments for this course are interesting and fun as well though … recently we had to carry out some ethnographic research and present our findings, and currently I am putting together an essay with a title that asks me to look at symbolism and myth in my choice of a film, novel or piece of art and consider how that might inform my understanding of mission. There were other great titles too like a discussion of whether Jesus needs to be culturally relevant to be understood.

I’ve gone with the film one as I love film and have been considering for quite a few years of the dialogue that occurs between theology/church/mission and film. If it is true that society now propagates myth through film rather than chatting around the fireside as Dr Telford suggests then I want to grapple with that, delve into that, and use what I gain from that in attempting to engage in my community in a relevant and transformative way.

Anyway … I’m not sharing that so you now what I am writing about …. I am sharing my enthusiasm for this course because it is an AMAZING course …. and if you are looking for a course to be really engaging, creative and challenging in a good way then I want to recommend this course to you. Another bonus is, as well, that the course is significantly cheaper than some MA’s out there. There are other pioneer courses with CMS too … check them out. 

You can see the prospectus here … ‘fitting in is overrated’ and there is an Open Day coming up on 21 May …. if you can’t make that this flyer gives more dates. be great to see you joining ….

imagine what is was like for Mary …

mary-icon-1461514928In HTGP we are looking at Advent in an even more contemplative way than we do normally.

Rather than listen to homilies as we normally do, this season we have decided to replace the homily with a short guided meditation which is attempting to help us put ourselves in the story, though a variety of characters, and ask ourselves some relevant questions.

Last week we took the character of Mary … the mediation is shared below ….
You can hear the audio version here.

Mary

Can you imagine

for a little while

what it was like for Mary?

A young woman.

A faithful woman.

A person going about her normal everyday business, not harming others, being helpful, being ‘good’ … whatever good looks like!

God called her ‘favoured one.’

Did you realise …

God calls you the same …. does that description fit you?

What description would you use …. tell God that description ….. what is God’s response to you?

Can you imagine that day for Mary?

She was clearing the cellar, singing away to herself when it happened.

An angel … bright as could be was suddenly there

Blinding

Scarey

from nowhere

I wonder how she felt?

How would you have felt?

Would you have stayed …. or run ….

Would you have listened ….. or frozen in fear

And that message

you will be carrying The King of the universe

Awesome ….. or scary?

But of course

Jesus lives in our hearts

so essentially

we are all pregnant with Jesus

What effect does that have on us?

on our normal everyday matter of fact life?

Maybe, like Mary, you feel to unimportant to carry Jesus

Maybe, like Mary, you think you are too young

Maybe, like Mary, you fear no one will believe you

But …. Jesus lives in you … and me … and all of us

Whether we recognise Jesus or not

He is here

As we sit and stare at Jesus

and Jesus at us

listen to what Jesus is saying  ……

(pause)

What does the son of God say to you tonight?

 

turning a corner … ?

Yesterday seemed to be a good day for HTGP.

In the afternoon we held Making@Church.
After a massively encouraging first event we were surprised to see only one family attend. That one family have loved it so much they have come, on their own, for the last 3 months. Yesterday 3 more families joined them which is not exciting and impressive. I had got to the stage where I was genuinely starting to ‘feel’ for the sole family as it can seem quite awkward with only a few people there.
Yesterday we told the story of Noah and the lego creations are pretty impressive. Even the one with rocket launchers on the front!

In the evening we held 18:01 and Katie, who is on placement with the East Greenwich Parish before going down the ordination route, spoke incredibly well on the Parable of the Talents. Her message may be heard here.

Again we had a good attendance and to seems that the 5 new people, all be it one family, are coming each week (twice yesterday) and it felt like a bit of a key day when a corner may have been turned. We are now very visible and I wonder what the community thinks is happening on a Sunday night inside our bit of a goldfish bowl.

 

new chapter for Charlton

IMG_1828I love new chapters.
I find it a real privilege to be somewhere where there is real joy and sense of anticipation.
It’s amazing to share with others in worship who are excited about their future.
Last night was one of those nights as Liz was instituted and inducted as the new Rector of Charlton.

Charlton is the next door parish to East Greenwich which is the Team Ministry that HTGP is part of. Last night was great to be part of and speaking to people of the parish afterwards they are clearly very pleased and excited as to the potential of what may happen in the future.  I can understand that as I have met Liz a few times in my two years here. She has always been fun to talk with and very clearly a naturally encouraging and caring person with a real concern for people …. so I can understand their delight of having Liz as their Rector..

Archdeacon Alastair spoke well and gave a good reminder to Liz … and all of us … being that the work cannot be done on our own … that the work is God’s work and we must refrain from attempting to do stuff in our own strength but follow God and involve others. So true!

So … welcome Liz … we will continue to pray and look forward in excitement with you to see how the future rolls out!

If you live in the area … maybe you should check out St Luke’s out St Thomas‘ … or both!

 

skittles and synod

Never thought I’ve ever actually say these words … let alone write them down …. but … wait for this …. we had a really good Deanery SynodIMG_1819 meeting last night! There … it’s out in the open. I enjoyed a Deanery Synod meeting!

A large part of last nights agenda was given over to each church having 3 minutes to tell us about it’s context and mission. I actually loved hearing what others were up to, what their challenges and passions were, and how they were dealing with them. This was a great way for the first meeting of the new synod to start because too often we can be caught up in our own locations to notice what others are doing. It’s great to hear how diverse and yet united a deanery we are.

As a team ministry of three churches we pooled our 3 minute allocations to take 8 mins and 45 secs (get us!) to talk about the mission priorities from our Mission Action Plan. This was quite an inspired idea from Margaret! People spoke specifically across the parish about Growing our Spiritual Life Together, Children and Young People and Loving Service to the Community. The fourth priority of Visibility was presented by each individual church.

In my 90 seconds I gave everyone different flavoured skittles in an envelope and asked them to eat one, then another and then other …. as an illustration that for HTGP our biggest challenge when we think visibility, or anything really, is how quickly this community changes it’s flavour …. with new people coming and others leaving what seems like every day, and how it will continue to do that for the next few years until the building stops.

At HTGP we attempt to better visibility by being around at community events and, for me personally, being present regularly in the community at school gate and coffee shops. In addition we tweet everything we do (well maybe not everything!) and do a lot of advertising and profile racing through our website and Facebook page …. so we may have a challenge with concrete visibility in terms of location, but in terms of social media I hope we have quite a big footprint.

So … I hope future Deanery Synods are as informative and engaging … from what I heard last night  I think there is a real possibility that could be so … (and big plus is that I have all those skittles in the pic left over … 🙂 )

and next there was lego …

The busy weekend continued after Saturday as we hosted our second making@church service at HTGP on Sunday.
lego july pic
I think the postcard is pretty self explanatory as to what this is about. I got this amazing idea from a colleague, Peter O’Connell, and it seems to work amazingly well in this community.

making@church is our response at HTGP to the changing demographic on the Peninsula. Until quite recently the village looked like it was overwhelmingly populated by young professionals … certainly the people waiting at bus stops indicated that.
Recently, in the last four or so months, we are seeing many more young families at the bus stop and doing school runs.
Making@church is our relevant response to what we observe happening around us.

The format is simple and non labour intensive … sing a couple of worship songs, tell the particular bible story in two different ways, e.g. lego video and Godly play style and then give each family unit a box of lego with the simple instruction to ‘build something that you are inspired to build after hearing that story’ … after around 20 minutes we then show our models, pray using lego, eat pizza, receive a blessing and go home.

I love this format of service …. not just because it is simple … but because this is one of the few things I have seen church done worship wise that really DOES bring the family unit together. There is no child / adult divide. We have whole families building a model and helping each other … it’s simply beautiful to see.

A great comment on Sunday afternoon was ‘this is better then other church!’ …. I’ll take that as an indictor that we may have hit on something here on the peninsula.

On Sunday, we looked at the Parable of the Good Samaritan …. below are some lego interpretations of the story …. note the ‘Police Donkey’