meditationToday was a pretty exciting day.

A little while back I met with some of the great people from NOW gallery on the peninsula.
Today we met briefly again and made some definite plans.
The image above is the resulting flyer … the photo I took from the balcony outside my kitchen with the sun setting behind Greenwich.

For a little while I have been looking for a special space to hold a meditation session for people coming home from work. In a few weeks we will be piloting a short John Main style meditation from the gallery …. how exciting is that!

This is part of HTGP‘s testing out of a hypothesis that mindfulness and wellbeing are ways that we can both support and relevantly engage with people on the peninsula.

The publicity from Now will say something similar to this:

Mindfulness Meditation is simple, being simple means being ourselves.
It means passing beyond self consciousness, self analysis and self rejection.

Meditation is a universal spiritual practice which guides us into this state of prayer which brings us to silence, stillness and simplicity.
The meditation itself will last for 20 mins and involves the repetition of  single word faithfully throughout the meditation.

This is a very ancient Christian method of meditation, originating from the 4th Century and rediscovered by John Main (1926-1981), a Benedictine monk, in the 1940’s.

Recent research into the effects of mindfulness meditation found that after just four sessions participants with no prior meditation experience had improved mood and reduced fatigue and anxiety.
Join us at NOW Gallery on a Tuesday from 6:15pm until 7.00pm for Mind-ful(l)

We will be praying that this will be a real and relevant support for people who live here
Sound interesting to you? …. watch this space for the February launch date

walking for change

12642677_947115258675954_1567955323478933877_nToday I walked around the Peninsula with Alastair, who is on placement with the East Greenwich Team Ministry prior to him training for ordination. We chatted and prayed as we walked around the new buildings.

As we embark on something new here as the church on the Peninsula, prayer walking is, to me, a necessary pre-requisite. This is how I started things in Rochester and then again in Gillingham. I don’t know why … sometimes it makes no sense … because, after all, God knows everything and knows what I will pray about …. but for some reason, i know that without prayer things do not seem to happen. With prayer things do seem to happen! Simples!

For me, today was a big encouragement. I often walk around the Peninsula as the ‘parish priest’ but walking around with a like minded person today seemed more intentional and focussed.

As I walk, I guess I am looking for people who are interested in joining me on this weird journey of trying to birth and grow a new way of being church here on the Peninsula. I am convinced there are people here who have a faith and are interested in being part of developing something new.

Please pray I may find some of those people soon.

Ideas and food = agapai

FullSizeRenderOne of the new things we have started as a church community is meeting to eat together on a Wednesday night. This has started as a way to discuss what kind of church we want to be. I’ve guided us in this exploration by using an ‘ideas tree’ as seen in the photo by asking people to write what we want more of and what we want less of …. e.g. more hospitality or less formality.

After filling the tree with post it note ideas we then looked for patterns in our thoughts and, thankfully, found some. The next couple of weeks have been focussed on taking a ‘more of’ idea such as community engagement or hospitality and then chatting through ideas of what that means and how we can do it in the context and restrictions of our lives.

This week we had a good strong direct conversation about the reality of our situation as a church and the reality  of our ability to develop things in the midst of a busy city life.

The task is not an easy one!

A result of that honest discussion is that the Wednesday evening meal will be ‘tweeked’ a little. Rather than talking about what sort of church we want to be every week we are going to see what alternating a discussion with a check in, eat and pray for each other would look like. I other words we will alternate between talking church and being church …. although I know we are being church when we talk church as well …. but i think you get my drift!

Although the conversation was tough, even awkward at times, it was good and needed. I firmly believe that if a group of people are seeking to birth something new then honesty needs paramount in discussions. The fact we jumped to honesty rather than stay in politeness so soon is a real encouragement to me. It’s an encouragement because it means people care.

So … this Wednesday we will eat, talk, hear each others stories and pray together ….. so if you are on The Peninsula and fancy eating with a group of people that want to birth a church and bless this community ….. then join us. I just ask that you let us know you are coming so we can cater correctly.

We call this event agapai – a word used by the early Christians derived from agape (meaning God’s love) to describe ‘love feasts’ when they got together to eat and pray together as well as share bread and wine as part of the meal. The name seemed to fit a little with what we are trying to do here.




the dream on the peninsula …

htg postcard imageI have now been here for around 5 months. We have made some changes which can be seen on the image of our latest postcard which makes use of one of the photos I took recently of Alex Chinneck’s art on the Peninsula.

In my last two locations I have had a dream. Essentially the dream does not change …. the dream of a new way of living out and discovering faith with other people. The birthing of a new way of being church.

Although the dream does not change, the context of that dream and it’s outworking obviously changes according to the local context.

This is my dream for Holy Trinity Greenwich Peninsula:

I believe there are people, who live, or soon will live, on the Greenwich Peninsula and share a common vision or hope.

These people long, maybe are even too scared to dream, of church being a place which really connects with people outside, but also with them. In a real and obvious way. 

They dream of a church where differences are celebrated and add to the communities flavour.

They are not worried so much about what people believe, but more concerned about how people believe: how they live out faith, how they are Christ-like. How they love the community they are in.

They don’t care so much about worship style, but interested in something that’s authentic and enables them to connect with God where they are emotionally and spiritually.

They really do believe Christianity is a journey, and that we can all exist at different points on the road, or even off it, with no fear of condemnation.

A community that does not judge a person by how they look, sound or by what they believe.

They want to see a community that loves and has people at its heart rather than a program that must be delivered.

They believe a community should be one that meets throughout the week to enjoy relationship with each other and with God, and is not restricted to any one day or meeting.

They are willing to pay the cost that comes with developing relationships.

They want to see this as a place where people belong because they are connected and on the journey, not a place where they can only belong if they turn up at a particular time, day and place.

They want to see a community that really believes in mission, that not only welcomes in strangers, but expects and allows the community to change due to what that new person brings with them.

They believe church is about participation and engagement of the majority, rather than being consumerist and led by a few specialists.

They are tired of being told the same stuff and want to discover together how to live Christian spirituality in their world!

They long for their experience of church to inform their experience of the world and vice versa.

This journey will be tough.

Some won’t want to embark on it. Others will.

I am not looking for something better than church as we know it.

I am looking for something equally valuable.

Something to add to the mixed economy of church.

But I’m putting this out there as I would really love to meet other people that share this vision.

So …. if that sounds like you …. get in touch soon. If that’s not you but you think you know people that it might be for …. please pass this on. Whatever …. please pray for us as we move forward into the unknown! 

so … watcha been doin?

rainbow over greenwichSo I am living on the Greenwich Peninsula. I took the rainbow pic a couple of days after moving in … when looking for gold but someone beat me to it!)

Lots has been written about the development here. It looks a great place to live but for some it seems to come at some cost either financially or socially as outlined in the Guardian article.

Holy Trinity Church has been meeting on the Peninsula for a few years. The small community are passionate about engaging with our community and my role will be to get us all to think about how we might do that. I have a three year contract so time is short … although the task is massive!

For the last few weeks I have immersed myself in the three schools and endless amounts of church meetings. I have needed to quite quickly get a handle on how the team works and the best way to do this has been to be at everything and meet as many of the people connected with the East Greenwich team as possible.

The downside of this is that, after 3 weeks, I find myself low on inspiration and high on frustration as I have not had a chance to be in public spaces where I can meet the people of this community or spend proper quality time with the Holy Trinity community.  Next week I hope that will start to change as I carve out time to be present in public spaces and hear the visions and dreams of those I work with in HT. It’s only as I meet people that I can start to hear how we can engage and support meaningfully and relevantly.

The job is big! All jobs are big! As well as meeting people I need to work on the website, meet councillors, engage with the residents association (I’ve already been to 2 meetings!) and generally meet loads of people that know this area far more than me … which, actually, is not that difficult at the moment. Alongside this, if you have been a reader or know me for a while, you will now that I believe God works through us being present in everyday stuff, I will be seeking to be available in parts of the community where people hang out … at the moment I have identified a few places and I’ll have to see what happens.

In one sense I feel I am starting all over again for the third time … and in a way that is true … but I am starting again with the learning from the two other starts which I hope is going to feed me during this early stage. I feel energised and motivated … which is good for the start of a new role!

So … friends … please keep praying … and chatting … and being your wonderful selves!

9 months ….

The last time I blogged was 9 months ago.
Christmas Eve.
So today, the 24th of the 9th, seemed to me to be  good day to start here again.

9 months as a time of incubation.
9 months as a time of contemplation.
9 months of space

9 months gone in a flash.
but a habit of ‘no writing’
has seemed to set quite fast

IMG_0020In the last 9 months I have moved, started a new role in a new diocese, and feel excited with a new challenge ahead of me. I also feel quite privileged to be part of a diverse and great team and live in an awesome ‘vicarage’ flat in the Greenwich Millennium Village with the photo being the view from my study desk.

I am team vicar of Holy Trinity Greenwich Peninsula which is part of the East Greenwich Team Ministry and the Chaplain for the Koinonia Federation of Christ Church and St. Mary Magdalene CE Schools. Try saying that after a few rums!

So … my role is to establish chaplaincy in the schools and to grow ‘church’ with the community of Holy Trinity here on the Greenwich Peninsula …. that bit with the O2 dome at the end of it! The area is constantly changing and the constant challenge will be how we serve a diverse growing and hidden population. (I live in an apartment block and have only seen 3 other residents in the 4 weeks I have been here!) An exciting thing, though, is that the bishop is encouraging us to create … so create we will!

I don’t have a lot more to add at the moment apart from feeling amazingly welcomed and loved by both the church and school communities …. so if any of my ‘new’ friends are reading … thank you! … I can honestly say I think I am going to like living here!

As in the past I will blog my story …. so I guess … if you are interested … watch this space!