Saturday, December 31, 2005

+ Happy New Year!
2005 draws near to the end!
Lets see what 2006 has in store...

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

What's going on?
So here we are in that weird period between Christmas and New Year.
Christmas was good - the dinner worked well and a good time was had by all!
Boxing day we went to watch
London Wasps beat Gloucester which was fun despite the cold (my father in law is chaplain to Wasps).
We've also been catching up with family, Suzie's brother and girlfriend on Boxing day and yesterday and my brother and family today (always nice to know you can wind the kids up and then leave them behind!).
And my best present? Well the one that cause amusement was this (pictured): Yes you guessed it - its a farting Santa!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

It's Christmas eve!
There's cleaning to be done and food to be sorted - Christmas at ours tomorrow, with both sets of parents and Suzie's grandmother.
So all that's left to say is
* Happy Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Today was my grandmothers funeral.
At her request my brother led the service and "preached the gospel" while I played piano (songs such as "
when the roll is called up yonder"and "O that will be glory for me"
I was remembering the last time I went to see her we spoke about youth ministry. She was telling me about getting roped into helping with various groups over the years. Today I met a lady who was in one of those groups - she introduced herself to me as being in her "bible class". Another reminder of the fruit that we don't always perceive at the time.

Anyway I think it was a good service, as much celebration and thanksgiving for someone who walked with God as sadness.

Monday, December 19, 2005

After another busy weekend things seem to be getting to Christmas "down time".
Had a good time on Friday evening at a youth "lock in" - we did some teaching followed by four stations based on the Holy Spirit as oil, water, fire and wind. It worked well and seemed to connect with the young people - one told me after she "really felt the Holy Spirit".
On a similar note good things were happening on Sunday evening at our carol service.

Its good to have such encouragements in the ins and outs of ministry.

Friday, December 16, 2005

What's been going on?
Thought it was time for a "what's happening" type post!
Sunday last week I was speaking at my home church, and then playing piano at my first carol service of the season at another local church (a great annual fixture). Suzie was singing at the Ealing Christmas Mystery parade, a joint church venture which included live animals and a baby on a bus (pics here)

This week has also seen 2 trips to BU HQ at Didcot for various gatherings, one for youth coordinators/resourcers and one for all Association staff. Interesting stuff - and seems Didcot is slowly being re-developed - its now slightly less grim (sorry if you live there!).

In the midst of it all my last remaining grandparent died - she was 92.

And tonight I was with real live young people - doing a session on the Holy Spirit at a youth group "lock in".

But Christmas is coming - I even heard "Stop the Calvalry" on the radio the other day!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Christmas Services?
Some blogs and sites reporting/discussing some (US) mega-churches not having services on Christmas day: see example here. (Hat tip to Tony for the link)plus more here or here (HT : Andrew). Bit of an unnecessary reaction from some people.

Seems to me some good reasons for churches in UK to have services - but I guess its all about the model of church and presence in the community.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Confusing the end of Christendom with the death of Christianity
Many people still seem to struggle to grasp the significance of the end of Christendom (see here for more on this). The reality of church from and on the margins seems hard to deal with.
We fear loss of power and status.
Indeed I hear some people talk like the loss of privilege for Christianity in the UK means the end of the church. While it clearly means we need to re-discover our place, purpose and mission is it really that bad?
(maybe this is easier for Baptists than Anglicans as we have no wierd state connections or seats in the House of Lords to give up!)

Lets take Christmas as an example. Many moan about the loss of "traditional" Christmas stuff, the fact it is now "winter holiday" etc. But the reality is that much of Christmas has little to do with the birth of Christ anyway! We adopted and took over other people's holidays and rituals.
Yet we are still free to celebrate the birth of Christ in a Christian way - in fact maybe the loss of the "way things were" gives us a new opportunity to present and consider the story in fresh ways.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Dance with all your might...
Its gotta be a joke right? I hope so!
Check this out:

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Youth workers
Iain Hoskins of CYM and Bristol Baptist College speaks to the Baptist Times:
"Mr Hoskins said that churches could have unrealistically high expectations of their youth workers, and that ministers were not always trained to be effective people-managers, exacerbating the problem. There was also a difference in outlook between ministers and youth specialists, with ministers expecting to be continually available to their congregations"
More here

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Great City
The last verse of the book of Jonah is always something I feel God says about London (especially the last sentence - not so many cattle here!).
Yesterday I was up the West End (I met Rob in person for the first time), and was once again struck by how fantastic London is.
I even did a tourist thing and took a camera phone shot of the Christmas lights from Oxford Circus (no sign of "sinner or winner" man though!
Well after a day Christmas shopping at
Lakeside on Monday, I've just seen this! Its from "Buy nothing Christmas".
Quite a challenge! Not sure I'm ready for a buy nothing Christmas just yet, but the site is worth a look, including youth group materials. Also an alternatives to bought presents section.

(Thanks to youthblog for the link!)
Latest Theological Classic
See this post from Youth Ministry Forum

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Youth Ministry Resource
Just come across Ken's youth ministry "Creative Youth Ideas" blog. (maybe I'm behind in discovering these things). Not all the stuff will apply in the UK context, but for me any idea can spark something else that might be helpful!.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Weekend Off!
After a couple of meetings in town on Friday,
Suzie braved the traffic to pick me up for our first weekend off for the term. Had a great weekend in Rye with our friends Mel and Greame.
Nice to chill, not do too much (except for a quick trip to the
shops on Saturday),lots of good food and conversation, and to church where no-one knows you or what you do! Off again tomorrow, probably for some Christmas shopping (not sure with what!), before back into the swing of things on Tuesday.

If you're after some handmade greetings cards or stationary
Mel does a good range!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Tube Etiquette
Transport for London are running a "tube etiquette poll" (hat tipto the Londonist).
Which got me thinking what are your/my top public transport peeves?
The other day a kid thought it would be funny to try the door release button on the bus - which caused annoyance to the driver.