Sunday, July 31, 2005

Purpose-driven, Presidents and doughnuts
Last night (Sat) Rick Warren, author of all things Purpose Driven, spoke at the Baptist World Congress. I went a little cynical (from the USA, he pastors a mega-church, and there's lots of hype around this stuff). But Rick had some good stuff to say. He spoke for way too long, but the PEACE plan seems good - Plant churches, Equip servant leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sick, Educate the next generation - can't really argue with that!

Today Jimmy Carter spoke (security was tight!). Again a pleasant surprise, and he addressed some of the issues around the Southern Baptists pulling out of the Baptist World Alliance.
He spoke positively in favour of women in leadership and ministry, which was good to hear.

Other highlights included good US Gospel style worship today, in fact most of the worship leaders did an good job given the world audience. My only complaint would be - what's with all the choirs? Classical style choirs from all over the world at every meeting (or so it seemed). Please, no more!

So where do the doughnuts fit in? Wandering round the city centre we spotted people with Krispy Kreme boxes, but we had no idea where the owner got them. Next thing we turn a corner and a van pulls up - giving out free boxes of 12! We joined the queue and got the last 2 boxes in Birmingham! Seems its a promo. for a new outlet in Selfridges.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Blogging from Birmingham - land of tornados! Fotunately we were unaffected!
Lots of stuff happening here at the Baptist World Congress.
Thousands of Baptists walking round getting plenty of attention from the locals (could be to do with national costumes, or people leaving their ID tags on show!).

Highlights - Mexican worship leader with an accordian (Thurs), Steve Chalke's Bible study (Fri), the people - the nations gathered, stories of God at work.

Thoughts - the dominance of Western values and styles, the impact of colonisation in mission -resulting in countries bringing back to us things many churches here have left behind! I remeber Jonny Baker coining a phrase in a discussion "colonisation of imagination" -resonates to some extent.
Some of the "programme" elements in the meetings have seemed quite random to me, not because of cultural difference, just a lack of "flow", perhaps the influence of US styles.

Other stuff- great to see lots of familiar faces. Met with our local friend Sarah and saw the new building of (South) Birmingham Vineyard. Looks exciting.
Had a brief conversation with Andrew Jones, although its always a bit wierd introducing yourself to someone you have never really met in the non-blog world!

Our hotel seems to be in the party district so its a bit noisy at night (thanks John Smith!!).
And I bought a suit today - don't ask more!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Made it!
Made it to Birmingham (and given the news today - no escape from terrorists up here!).
Internet connection in our hotel and from Spurgeon's College at the conference - so should be some blogging going on - whether from me of Tall Skinny Kiwi who is here somewhere (I spotted him at a distance).

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Soul in the City
As mentioned previously here, Soul in the City has become more than an event that happened last summer. Plans are in place for ongoing stuff in many places.

This summer there are numerous projects happening accross London, driven by local churches or partnerships.
Next week Soul 2 happens in villages in the Heathrow area.
EALING: SOULINSUMMER 2005, happens 15th – 21st August.
Wimbledon: 7th-14th August.

I'm sure there's more! Contact details on the SITCL website if you fancy getting stuck in.
I'm doing a couple of bits next week, and will look in on Ealing.
Want to see what's going on at the BWA Congress but can't make it?
Web streaming available of the main sessions - see here

Monday, July 25, 2005

Where else could you be?
As the summer holidays begin (in the UK), there are a few other places I thought about being this week (other than going to the BWA congress).

One option would have been to stay at home as yesterday saw the start of the Ealing Jazz festival.
Its one of the largest free festivals, and right on my doorstep. If the weather's good its always a great place to be!

This week is also Dawn Patrol mission in Newquay, Cornwall. Having been part of a 24-7 Prayer mission to Newquay last summer the thought of going back was quite appealing. Check out the book God on the Beach for stories of great stuff happening through these short term missions.

And of course as the great British weather has got a bit damp, plenty of other places appeal!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Chris Woodhead writes in the
Sunday Times suggesting RE should be finished with:
"Let'’s stop pretending that every school can teach every child anything meaningful about religion. Let'’s scrap RE lessons."

The role of religion in school was in the news a few months ago with story of the girl wanting to wear Muslim dress (see this post).
So RE or no RE? I, like many youth workers, have done plenty of schools work over the years. For Christians RE represents a great opportunity for young people to meet real live Christians, and to present something of what we believe. On the other hand maybe RE done badly serves to inoculatete people to real faith.

article is sure to provoke a barrage of letters!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Coming up
Looking forward to going to the Baptist World Alliance congress in Birmingham next week (Wed to Sun).
I know a gathering of thousands of Baptists sounds like a nightmare to some, but it just might be fun/inspiring/useful to connect with people. And a few days away from home is the nearest I'll get to a holiday until early September!

Its also the 100th anniversary of the BWA, so be good to feel part of history and the church around the world.

Friday, July 22, 2005

More London stuff
London - its where I've always lived (apart from my gap year in Gateshead).
Its where I work, helping Baptist churches engage with young people.
Come to think of it - I love this place!

More news of "activity" today - shooting at Stockwell and more terror threats.
Londist reports here.

From a prayer written by a colleague for the London Baptist Association:
" Lord have mercy upon us, forgive those men and women of violence who believe that right is on their side. And may we proclaim with added urgency, the gospel of your love and the sovereignty of the Prince of Peace."

Thursday, July 21, 2005

More trouble in London
More "minor blasts" in London today.
Only 1 casualty reported. Apparently they were detonators and not full bombs.
BBC here
Londonist here.

Lots of tube closures and travel chaos. Sure to add to the unease around town.

I was in Bloomsbury Central Baptist, where the LBA offices are. Seemed chaotic around Oxford Street. Managed to get back by walking to Waterloo and grabbing a train to Brentford.
Lets hope this is the last of this.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Youth blog - Sell out?
The latest edition of Young People Now features and article on blogging and its use in youthwork.
And who is featured and the first link in the highlight box?

None other than Ian and Youthblog.
Is that selling out or what??

Seriously though, thanks to Ian for the work he does - if you're involved in Christian youth stuff, make sure you add Youthblog to your favourites or RSS subscriptions!
And one day maybe I'll be as famous...

Monday, July 18, 2005

Spiritual Activity?
Seemed to quite a lot (well more than I normally notice anyway) of spiritual activity around Ealing today.

On my way back from Ealing Broadway I saw a guy talking to people, making strange noises and being "loud" in the shopping centre - on closer listening he was saying stuff about one God and Jesus.

Then there was a woman in African dress sitting under a tree near Ealing Green, reading a Bible and looking like she was crying/praying (or both).

And to top it all a young couple stopped me a couple of roads away from my flat to ask what I thought of the Bible! The answer "I've got one here in my bag" seemed to surprise them! I'm guessing they were JW's and my phone rang before I could get too deep (probably a good thing).

Something going on?
Duck Race!
Saturday was the first day both Suzie and I had off together for over a month.
We headed down to Pulborough in Sussex to catch up with Ellie & Erik, old friends who are back in the UK for a few weeks before heading back out to do mission with YWAM (in fact Ellie was my "best woman" for our wedding).
Part of the days entertainment included thePulborough Duck Race - an annual event where a couple of thousand plastic ducks are put in the river and you hope yours get to the finish line first. Unfortunately we didn't win- but it was a unique experience!
Great to catch up again too.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Youthwork Resources
2 resources for curriculum worth a look.
First for 14-18's YFC's Mettle .
Discussion based stuff, variety of activities, looks good!
(Youthblog also suggested it look good a month or so ago - I hadn't really looked at it then!).

The second resource I mentioned in October, but now has an offer of 3 months free access is Energize from Crusaders.

This is a web based resource with stuff for you different age groups. Not so good if (like me) you don't have broadband, I guess! But I hear good reports about this stuff.

Only problem with both of these is they require some subscription, which I know some churches are reluctant about. But you do get support as well as materials.

Bring on the free, open source resources! There are some on the web (see links at already, maybe time to wrestle stuff out of the publishers hands? (I might regret saying that if I want stuff published later!).

Thursday, July 14, 2005

2 minutes silence fell in many parts of London today.
I was in a meeting at Bloomsbury Baptist. The whole of the West End seem to stop. As we looked out there were people on the street, and the silence was broken by applause. It was quite moving.
Photo gallery at BBC website.
There's also a vigil in Trafalgar Square at 6pm tonight.
Prayer for London
The London Baptist Association is hosting a prayer time for London.
It's happening tomorrow (Friday 15th July), at Bloomsbury Central Baptist, 235 Shaftesbury Ave, WC2H 8EP, 6pm - 8pm.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

When we moved into our current flat last year BT said it would take a couple of weeks to install a phone line. NTL came straight away as cable was there.
But the last couple of weeks the line has kept disappearing - today its gone again - so I'm in an internet cafe (which is at least cooler that my office). Hopefully it'll be sorted tomorrow. Its also frustrating that there's no broadband available yet (they all demand a BT line). Maybe its time to give up and go back to BT?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Flying Ant day 2005 pt1
Yes- today seemed to have been flying ant day in West London. Lots of the things coming at you. Not nice, but an annual event, part of the summer experience here. Still could be worse - relative to insects and creatures in some parts! (last year flying ant days were July 6th and 17th according to my blog archives!)
Couple of interesting things from Jason Clark.
Is everything church? exploring the thorny question of when and what is church.
What's wrong with Christians exploring the fact that we can't blame it all on the church's failure. Reminds me of the phrase (a book title I think) healthy Christians make a healthy church.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Away day
Today we had a London Baptist Association Youthworkers day. And people turned up!

It was great to hear stories of what's happening in some of the churches and youthworks in London, and after everything that's been happening across the City to get a reminder of God at work. Great stories of innovative ideas (too early to disclose!) as well as the usual clubs, groups and relational stuff. Young people being baptized (a big thing for Baptists!) and coming to faith. Youth pastors with passion and vision.

I'm encouraged - I hope it blessed those who came as much!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Amused to see Andrew Jones' comment on the London bombings features pictures and reference to everyone's favourite street preacher - the "sinner or winner" guy!
I've blogged about him several times before - e.g here.
A London legend.
And The Skinny manages to draw some good insights into yesterday's events.

Simon Jones comment "rumours of God" is also helpful.
The morning after
A clearer picture of yesterday's events in London is emerging: 4 blasts, terrorist attacks, 700 injured, 37 50+ killed.
BBC details here.
Always strange immediately after these things happen. I'm not due to be travelling round much using public transport until the middle of next week (just one of those wierd diary things - stuff happening round the suburbs) - so I'll see how I feel then.

Thoughts & prayers go out to the injured and bereaved, shocked and confused.

For me this line from the Londonist sums up what will be many Londoners attitude:
"Just like the rest of London we'll also be dusting ourselves off and doing what we'd normally do on any other Friday"
We've lived with terrorism in London for 30 years. Somehow life goes on.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London -Bomb blasts
Not quite sure what's going on just yet but London's been hit today.
BBC - here.
Londonist - here.
Prayers for the city appreciated
Youthwork - what does it mean
Check out this post from Roy.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

London: 2012
London won the bid for the Olympics in 2012!
I'm a bit shocked - but pleased to be a Londoner today!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Christian Youthwork=New age?
Evangelicals Now magazine speaks again!
"I remember speaking to a man involved with youth work who was alarmed (his word) that I was trying to write songs that were faithful to Scripture"

Monday, July 04, 2005


New articles at Youth Specialities, such as "Bought into a lie" on community by Phil Ranking.
Also some (not all!!) worthwhile articles at I lead youth, another US site I only came across in the last couple of days.
Also this series A critique of youth ministry says some interesting stuff like:
" evangelical churches have honored divisions which have no basis in either Scripture or common sense". Not sure I agree with it all but its worth a read.

And once again Andrew Jones hits the nail on the head, in his post 12 Tension points in the emerging church.
Live 8
Interesting review & comment on Live 8 at the Londonist.
(it pains me to say it but I disagree with thier comment about Dido's version of 7 Seconds with Yousou - I thought it was quite good!).
Seemed (understandably) to dominate the papers today & Sunday. Mixed reviews of the bands, and the issues. Some quite harsh commenst about Bob Geldoff around the media today.

We await the outcome of the G8 this week...

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Not having made it to Hyde Park or Edinburgh I am at home trying to multi-task while Suzie's at work.
I'm trying to watch Live 8 on TV, while preparing some stuff for tomorrow, updgrading my anti-virus and tidying the flat!
Lets see which one wins...

Friday, July 01, 2005

Blogs away!
Interesting article based on a US report on youth and blogging at Youthwork site.
Seems youth bloggers likely to be female as much as male, and it may improve your studies!
Time out
During a busy few weeks its been nice to have an evening followed by a day off!
Wednesday was an enjoyable evening, despite watching my home county Kent beaten by Middlesex in Uxbridge (strangely close to last years Soul in the City campsite), at 20-20 Cricket .
The weather held up which was helpful.

Yesterday I was playing around with computers and music stuff both during the day (more on that if we get finished!), and in the evening with different people. Nice to be getting creative in that way again.

Now its back to work - getting stuff ready for Sunday. Still it was nice while it lasted...