Look, I’m wearing all the colours

b684aae33877fbc4971c1c3a35627612_originalI have two friends that I love very much; Zara and Rikard are both beautiful people, creative loving people, who have an amazing insight and outlook upon life, despite life being an agonising struggle that brings friends around them, myself included, to tears.

Look, I’m wearing all the colours is a beautiful and painful photo story of love where both Rikard and Zara life with chronic illness and pain and depression. Please watch the video, and PLEASE contribute so that this book can become a reality. I saw the proof copy at the SICK exhibition last year. It really is stunning… and to quote Rikard:

This project has been 13 years in the making and your support will help realise my dream of publishing this book. I believe that storytelling can help drive social change and by showing the often unseen aspects of life with invisible illness, I hope to raise awareness and eliminate stigma.

I’m not asking you, mt readers and friends, to support this because I love Zara and Rikard … but because this story really needs to be told … it really really does! The story may bring tears … but that’s because it is real … and needs telling!

So get yourself over to the kickstart page and support this … PLEASE!

Crisps and Glo Sticks

Tonight at HTGP we looked at Matthew 5 were Jesus calls his followers to be salt and light where they are.

In addition to listening to the passage and considering what it means to be salt and light (listen to Margaret’s homily here) we also said goodbye and blessed Angela, Esther and Josiah as they move on to a new stage of ministry elsewhere in the parish. It was an emotional time.

wg12Tonight I felty our stations during Open Space  worked well with the passage.
We had 2 bowls of crisps (Salt n Shake crisps .. the ones which are not salted and the salt comes in a  little blue bag); one bowl was salted and the other wasn’t. The station asked people to taste crisps from each bowl and consider whether they, as salt, are in the mix of their communities flavouring and being good news or whether they are hiding in the little blue bag which could be various activities or places.

The other station used Glo sticks; the type that need to be cracked and shaken before they glow-sticks-f112_29emit their light. The station asked people to take, crack and shake the glo stick while pondering and asking God ‘Are there places in my life that I need to allow you to crack and shake me a little so that you can shine brighter in my life?’

It seemed people were struck and challenged by these thoughts and the discussion time afterwards took these themes a little deeper.

img_1476We ended tonight service with prosecco and cake … a good way to celebrate a changing of ministry as well as acknowledging that we are all created in God’s image … and as such all contain God’s light … and that sometimes we need cracking to allow that light to shine.

1801 continues next week  with the words of Jesus suggesting plucking out our eyes and cutting off out hands is better than sinning …. I wonder what creative stations I can come up with to get us thinking on that …. why not come find out!

Gospel Cocktails

imgresI love it when I come cross news of other peoples creativity helping people connect with God in some way. I used to work in a church down the road from Tina (aka Portishead Pilgrim) and so I have been keenly watching with interest to see what God does here.

Tina writes here about using cocktails to introduce people to the life of faith. Read both articles here and here …. well worth it … go read and be inspired.

the creative beauty of Seattle

DSC_0028The time in Seattle was awesome …. maybe an overused and overrated word … but it describes the 7 days I had in this city perfectly.

Returning for a week after four years brought many things back to mind. I am not sure I can reflect on my week in one simple post. There may be a few posts over the next few days that develop from my reflecting

I guess one word that comes to mind when i think if Seattle is the word ‘beauty’. There is the beauty of the city as photos can and so show. There is, however, much more that struck me about the beauty of the people. People are polite. People speak on buses and trains. People ask if they can help. Coming from Gillingham, this was a healthy and welcome culture change. In traffic jams people in Seattle don’t even blow their horns!

I had forgotten how ‘chilled’ people seem to be in Seattle. There was a good fun DSC_0031atmosphere with people enjoying each other, food, drink, good coffee and of course the scenery on magnificent sunny days. People had space and time. I was reminded how people there seem to have a much better work life balance than we do in the UK. People seem to socialise more after having a definite end to the working day, whereas here we simply seem to work.

That brings me on to my next word … creative.

I met a load of creative people. It was good to meet up with Lacey again from COTA. The gathering has used some of Lacey’s music which is worth checking our either under her own website or via the worship stuff for COTA Seattle. It was good to experience COTA’s worship again. It was like coming home and I can’t put that feeling into words.

For creativity to happen it needs space. The people I have just spent a week with seem to get that. I seem to have forgotten that. I have been wondering why my creativity, my writing, my photographing, and so on has come to a halt. It’s due to lack of ‘space’ to create. Big ides need big spaces ….. i need to readdress the space issue.

the happy coupleBut back to beauty in Seattle. My first post cannot go without mentioning the whole overriding purpose of my visit. On Saturday 8th June at 430pm i had the honour, pleasure and privilege of officiating at the wedding ceremony of Meghan and Luke at Church of the Apostles in Seattle. That was an amazingly special time with a beautiful couple and some pretty amazing friends. The day was a joy, and there was loads of love flying around! They are clearly a couple that not only love many people, but are also loved by many.

As I said in my last post … once in a while some pretty amazing privileges pop up …. and this was one.

Thanks Meghan and Lucas for trusting me …
Thanks Jana and James for hosting me … you were amazing!
Thanks Lacey and April for just being the brilliant organised creatives that you are and guiding me
Thanks Rachel for the humour and the encouragement
Cheers Gary for the meet-up and the new bars
Thanks Eric and Ivar for the friendship
Thanks everyone for a great city!

… space …

Due to one thing or another I have fallen behind in keeping up to date with my blog reader. No real excuse, other than I seem to be feeling very tired and quite unenthusiastic for many things at the moment. My writing here is becoming sporadic; I have a desire to write, but do not feel I have anything valid to say at this particular point in time. It’s not a painful or  bad space to be in …. it’s simply a nothing space I guess! But …. I am a firm believer that ides need space to be birthed into …. so I am waiting!

There is some good stuff out there which I have been pleased to catch up with over the past few days.

Near the top of the list is a great Nomad podcast interview with Tom Wright … well worth a listen. He says some good things about the future …. some people who were quite freaked at pub theology a while back about some views of the future might benefit from listening to Wright’s podcast.

There is also a great series here from Jonny Baker … again well worth a read.

If you are looking for a great Bible resource then people up there in Nottingham have come up with Bibledex. This looks pretty good with a short video introduction to each book of the Bible. I’m sure there are lots of ways to make use of this …. if only I was still a youth worker!

While I inhabit this temporary stage of confusion and un-creativity, I have found the photos of Den and the creations of Zara to be both inspiring and restorative of my faith in the creativity of people.

An I can’t forget Naked Pastor … he keeps me sane and makes me laugh … especially on October 19th!

it’s not where you take it from … its where you take it to.

Found this …. so true!

Creativity is not a novelty

Creativity is Not Novelty from Transposition Films on Vimeo.

‘We confuse creativity with novelty’
‘church is not the place for evangelism’

are two comments from Steve Frost that may get you thinking …. creatively(!?)

Sweeps Festival

The bank holiday weekend has seen The Sweeps Festival in Rochester. My role throughout this has been to be a ‘presence’ in and around the cathedral. It’s been an interesting role – not particularly pioneering, but there have been some interesting questions and discussions with people visiting. I have prayed with a few people, answered faith type questions, and advised a young man getting married that feeling nervous is quite normal. A lot of the time, though, has been spent smiling and greeting people as they come into the cathedral.

On a couple of occasions I have managed to get outside the cathedral and taste the real flavour of the festival. While the cathedral is a place of calm the streets are overflowing with people enjoying the folk music and the morris dancing while enjoying a pint or two of real ale. The festival has a great atmosphere with people looking to have a good time while enjoying and remembering some traditional English arts. On a few occasions I have been able to enjoy the music and the beer.

As I wondered around on the Saturday I had one negative, but interesting, comment from a woman who walked past me as I was standing outside the cathedral. ‘Ugghhh morris dancers and priests! They don’t go together!’ In a sense she is right, but I wonder (1) why she thought that and (2) is it actually the case.

The tradition of morris dancing is popularly thought to have its root in paganism, and I guess the comment came from the woman because of this. As a Christian, however, who believes this world is God’s creation and that there is nowhere where God is not present, then I have to say I disagree with the comment. Morris dancing and priests do go together (and yes I know I am a deacon, but it was not appropriate to point out the difference to this lady). Actually I have looked into this pre-christian pagan thing and apparently there is no evidence to suggest that is the root of morris dancing. I have also met over the last few days quite a few people involved in church who are also heavily involved in morris dancing.

As I wandered and chatted with some people there seemed to be quite a large open-ness. Large numbers of people seemed to be interested in ‘things spiritual’. I wonder if the interest in Folk and the interest in Morris Dancing feeds a spiritual appetite in people. While the interest many had with things spiritual, it would not be seen as mainstream Christianity. People spoke more of ‘mother earth’ and a ‘deep energy’. I had a sense of people worshiping creation rather than the creator.

I think this may be the case and I am wondering whether a better way to engage with people at this festival is more along the lines of what we offer at the MBS fair I spoke of a little while ago. Certainly many people were interested in spirituality and an opportunity to explore some of these in a relaxed way as we do at MBS may well work here. I wonder whether through things like the Jesus Deck, prayer beads and dream interpretation may the kind of thing that these folk and morris lovers that people here might be able to experience some of the wonder of the creator God.

These are all just early thoughts off the back of the festival but I’m just wondering – does anyone else out there have experience of MBS type stuff being done at musical / folk festivals? If so, I’d be really interested in talking to you.

fawlty creativity

“If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play.”
John Cleese

As the week draws to a close this quote from one of my favourite comedians reminds me how fortunate I am in my current situation – I am being trusted to ‘play’ in order to create. Along with this permission to ‘play’ I also believe that complicit with that comes a permission to, or an understanding that things may, fail. There is an acknowledgment that some of what I try may not immediately, or ever, work.

It’s a privilege being based at the cathedral for which I am thankful and I pray that this permission and space to play becomes infectious in the diocese.

infinite creativity

“Every moment of your life is infinitely creative and the universe is endlessly bountiful. Just put forth a clear enough request, and everything your heart desires must come to you.” Ghandi

a different perspective on creativity.