various ways

centre-of-the-universeI inhabit a variety of spaces on the peninsula.
In the summer there are lots of benches to sit on. Well … they are there in the winter too but it is not as comfortable sitting on them then.
During the colder months I have taken to sitting in Cafe Pura and Craft. Both are spaces with coffee but both are very different spaces. Cafe Pura tends to serve the residents from GMV while Craft tends to serve more the workers of the peninsula plus those passing through.

Even before I moved here and started the role a question was, and still is, who am I to serve here as the team vicar?
Am I to try and connect with the residents and birth church with those that are interested, or should I link with those that are here in the day and work in the buildings around.
And what about the 280 or so students that live on the peninsula … is there a role to play in supporting them while they stay here?
Then there is the building workforce … I can count 17 new buildings between me and The Thames that have been built in just the 16 months that I have lived here. There is a large workforce that makes that happen. oh … and the thousands of visitors we have each day … what about them?

Of course the answer is ‘Yes’.
In an ideal world we should be looking to engage and serve every single one of those communities. But I am not in an ideal world. I am part time team vicar for 4 days and then school chaplain for 2. I also only have a 3 year contract which we are nearly half way through.

Those ‘limitations’ means we have had to focus whilst keeping an open mind and willingness to hear what God might be saying. This has meant I have been ‘inhabiting’ all these spaces and waiting to see where I come across the people of peace that want to work together to serve the various fledgling communities on the peninsula. While being in these spaces and listening and watching I believe it has been important to intentionally have a blank sheet … so that whatever we grow here grows around the people that are involved rather than the other way round. So … in other words I am looking for interested people to develop something with … not looking for people to get involved in something I have already thought up.

There is a possibility that I have now moved from seeing no ways forward to now being in a position where there are a variety of avenues to walk along to support and bless the people of the peninsula. 2017 is looking bright … er!

Over the next few weeks I will be using the blog to reflect on these and push ideas around … and I invite you to join me in that conversation as you have done in the past.

This will probably be the last post this side of Christmas …. apart from the customary photoshopped design Christmas Card that will appear here tomorrow.

See you on the other side …..

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.


from Coffee to Perichoresis

It was great to get back into London yesterday … met up with Richard in Bar Italia (amazingly good coffee and vibe and well worth a visit!) and had a little wander around before making my way over to Ian’s book launch.

I enjoyed the evening on a number of fronts. It was good to meet up with Moot friends that I have not seen for far too long! It was good, as always, to hear from Ian who spoke well and both challenged and encouraged. It was good to meet up with others who are simply trying and asking similar questions about church, life and the universe!

Ian spoke about the Trinity, perichoresis and dancing with God. He shared his view on how Christians in the west have lost sight of relationship with a Trintarian, communal God. I agree with much of what Ian said …. if we can experience more of the Trinity, which by the very nature is community, then this can only aid us better as we attempt, as church, to reach out to and engage with a very individualistic society that simply craves the experience of community, but has no idea to achieve it. If God is community, and we engage in that community, people find God meeting their need.

Experiencing, rather than just learning about, the Trinitarian God … Trinitarian theologyis, says Ian, key to recovering a depth of relationship (in church and society) that has been missing for so long.

Anyway … God Unknown, by Ian Mobsby … go buy!

sacred stuff

I met up yesterday with Richard in London at Sacred Cafe, a place I used to joke about when I worked in YFC of being one of my London offices. It was great to have the opportunity to meet up with Richard and hear what is happening in YFC and share what was happening with ourselves and families – just a great catch up session with a good friend … oh yes and VERY good coffee!

I really miss the ‘vibe’ of London and one part of my old job that I really miss is connecting with lots of other people on the same wavelength and chatting over mission and other stuff!

On my journey home I found myself reflecting on the hundreds of conversations that I have had with other great people in Sacred Cafe.  I thought back to very special ‘epiphany’ meetings, meetings of tears and meetings of great laughter and joy. Because of that, for me, it’s not just the coffee in this special place that is sacred! Sacred Cafe is one of those special places where I have both connected with God and seen God work in some amazing ways …. maybe even more of a church than some churches I have experienced over the years!

Coffee as a means of grace

I was sent this article and I love it. Thank you Rachael for encouraging me in my coffee ministry!

The time has come for evangelicals to experience yet another great awakening! Though we have long overlooked a crucial means of grace, we have done so doctrinally, not practically. This all-but-ignored means of grace is about to have its day (or at least its early morning and late night)! Some could even say a new age is dawning. Surely, the age of the Spirit is about to be given a dramatic boost and the Church is certain to receive a timely wake-up-call as we grow to accept coffee as a means of grace.

This present work will survey many of the major biblical passages that discuss coffee as a means of grace, as well as a few corroborative arguments from experience and even historical theology. Of course, further study needs to be done on coffee as a means of grace, perhaps in future theses or dissertations by more progressive theologians. And although a number of passages could be piled one on top of the other to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that coffee is to be recognized as a legitimate means of grace, this paper will focus on a few key Scriptures first from the Old Testament and then from the New.

you can read more here

Day 11 : Space Needle or Reflections on the city

Saturday I had a day off so explored more of Downtown Seattle.
I started by catching the monorail from downtown Seattle to the Seattle Centre. A nice quick ride. From there I ascended the 520 feet at 10 mph in the lift, sorry elevator, to the 360° observation deck of the Space Needle. Despite an overcast day the views of the city were still quite stunning. The structure of the building is pretty impressive too, and it is hard to believe it was constructed in the 1960’s.

I had a coffee (there’s a surprise) while I looked out across the city. As well as taking lots of photos, I also walked around with the flip video and you can watch that here if interested.

Looking at the patterns and variation of the city caused me to reflect upon more of whay I am here and how varied, yet ordered God is. You can tell from the video and photos that Seattle is a fairly varied city. There is Pike Place market, the area around the Space Needle, the water, the skyscrapers, the low apartment blocks, industrial areas, dock areas …. I could continue to list. It’s very diverse and yet it is all Seattle.

Like wise, you can’t point to the Space Needle and say ‘that is Seattle’. As much as I, and many others love Pike Place Market, you can’t point to it and say ‘that is Seattle’. You might like the waterfront, but again you can’t point to it and say ‘that is Seattle’. Seattle isd a collection of them all. Without one part, something of the character of Seattle would be lost. To get an understanding of Seattle I need to visit a variety of areas. I am told to get the best understanding of Seattle I need to go on the underground tour. This shows the original Seattle that has been built on top of. To understand Seattle, I would need to look underground to learn something of its history.

In many ways this is similar to how we can grow in understanding of our faith in God. Our different interpretations of scripture or prayer are as varied as the buildings and neighbourhoods of Seattle. To understand more we need to observe and listen to all areas. To gain greater understanding of God we need to go underground with him, and explore the past roads of faith.

As we do this we need to realie that we will never come to a full understanding of God! Sermon over!

After all this reflection I soent money on gifts for the family to take home and then I met up with Ned to listen to some music in the 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea House – (just look at all these coffees they offer!)a pretty cool end to the day!

mentoring and coffee

I met up with Ian Mobsby today who is my pioneer mentor. Ian is excellent at challenging me and getting me to think around the issues and thoughts I am having. I am incredibly conscious of how lucky I am to have such a relationship with someone of Ian’s expertese and experience.

Today Ian has challenged me to think about the next steps – both with the community and how we are operating, and what the next part of loving service will look like in Wetherspoons.

It’s incredibly helpful just to take time out to chat about what is happening as I find, really, that most people do not ‘get’ what I am tying to do. Most of the time I don’t get what I’m trying to do so its no surprise to me that others can’t grasp it a lot of the time. Ian gets what I am trying to do, and so reflecting with him is not just a help, it’s inspiring s it helps me move in to the next stage rather than rest where I am. Ian encourages me to stop building cages and explore the freedom I have the permission to play with.

After my time with Ian I wondered over to Flat White to read, reflect and make some notes along with drink some pretty amazing coffee. I just love this place, the area, the cafe itself, the people that come in – its more than a coffee shop and in many ways has a lot of what I am trying to build with others here – but that’s another time of reflection and another blog …. and for now I need sleep!

It’s been a coffee day!

thanks for this Richard.

could it be true?

I saw this place being decorated today ready to be opened on May 1st.
Could it be true …. a real coffee shop in Rochester?
I’m looking forward to checking this out!

Flat White

Today I met up with Rachael at Flat White which is a coffee shop that friend put me on to. I am a bit (well a massive bit) of a coffee snob, and Flat White settled my snobbishness entirely.

The coffee was fantastic (from Monmouth no less) and the atmosphere and ambiance of the place made drinking and reading here very comfortable.

I was early, which combined with Rachael being held up which caused me to notice a few things about Flat White. Here, in this little coffee shop in Soho is a thriving community. People seemed to know each other and would pop in and out which reminded me a little of an Orthodox service where people pop in and out as they wish.

There were some unique differences. If people ordered coffee they were asked for their name. When it was ready and the person brought the coffee to the table she or he called your name rather than ‘2 cappucinos and a latte!?’. There was a personal attention given to people that is often lacking in London with questions about how the day was going, would you like another coffee and so on. I also observed someone coming home from a trip and giving presents to the staff.

I loved this place which has a great atmosphere of welcome. The staff here understand something of hospitality and I left feeling the benefits of that understanding. I think it hit me more beause it was unexpected and I was not looking for it.

I’m not ging to bang on about the parallels between this and church as I think they will be pretty obvious to the few people that read here, but its interesting for me to note that I felt more welcomed, accepted and free here than I have felt in many churches I have visited. I pray that any community that I will be involved in in the future will be able to gain this hospititality understanding.