Sunday, December 28, 2008

bbc - odd box

If you need to be reminded of the strangest things that happened this year take a look at this.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas 08

Well, I made it through Christmas Day and my first Christmas day sermon (which went quite well I think), we managed to get the turkey on the table by 4pm and unwrap presents without too much stress. The TV that was circled in the Radio Times was watched and we went to bed at a reasonable time with only one argument. So, all in all a good day was had by all. All this year were myself, Mark, Eva, Joe, Elise, Wayne, Lillie, my mum (Celia) and a short but lovely visit by Ian Evans. It was lovely to have baby Lillie here - she was a treat. I hope some pictures will follow.

Yesterday I did quite a lot of sleeping and realised how tired I am. I tried to go to bed early but ended up watching more TV and telling stories. Today I have also had a lie in but could do more sleeping...early night tonight I think. We have a few visitors coming round shortly so best get some mash on. I do hope your Christmas has been good. For me it is just lovely to have some down time and spend some time lounging about with the family.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

re:jesus - santa and Jesus

Re:jesus has had the best of my blogging this week I am here is my latest re:jesus blog effort.

I have 2 sermons to preach today - one at 5pm and the other at 6.30pm. I am feeling a bit under the weather and Mark is completely laid up in bed. Eva is still ill but a lot we are a very sickly household today. Having said that I am hoping I will fight this off and still have some energy to offer my mum and the rest of the family by Christmas day. There's a lot to get through before then and I don't really want to miss out. Anyway, hope you are feeling ok and the lead up to Christmas is going ok. All the best...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

just a bit busy

As you can imagine I am just a bit busy at the moment. So, I will leave you with this little video which was used in the fantastic Terry Titter Yule Log show...we went to see it on Thursday and I laughed so much I hurt...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I am very busy writing my Christmas sermons (4) and watching the Royal Variety long as I don't get the two activities mixed up all will be well (actually perhaps a mosh-up wouldn't be too much of a bad thing!?). I know I have mentioned this before but I am very fond of variety...and this year's show has been very good thus far. Very impressed by the stand-up and some of the 'specialty acts', Cliff isn't doing it for me but hey ho. Anyway, I had better get back to Christmas sermons...

If you haven't seen this via the Church Times blog (or somewhere else) then it is a great video worth a look...

Why be Religious?: Father Matthew Presents

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Where should church be?

The all new re:jesus blog is up and running now....and there has been some ace blogging going on.

This is the latest from me.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

you are powerful

Happy birthday to human rights!

Today marks 60 years since the world's governments adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The UDHR sets out the rights and freedoms that everyone, everywhere, is entitled to.

This is a time to celebrate and a time to challenge governments who have not lived up to the promises they made in 1948.

Monday, December 8, 2008

girl bishop

In a shock progressive move the Bishop of Portsmouth makes a girl Bishop (for the day)!...

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Justice Mail is for busy people who want to be active on issues of social justice but have no time to do the research. They send you brief information including a link to a site where you can send an email message. This will take only five minutes, and then they send you suggestions for action every week or two. You are not expected to act on them all; you make your own decisions.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

close encounters

Mark has taken some amazing pictures of an alien invasion that took place in our back garden the other afraid...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

paperless christmas

I think this is my favourite on-line advent calendar...
and this is is a great idea for a real life advent calendar (captured on the interweb)

(thanks to the church times blog for these links)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

a lonely craftivist

This is a great blog for you to enjoy!

advent sunday

Today is advent sunday and we lit the first candle on the advent wreath today...and the new Church of England advent website - why are we waiting - has put up it's first posting. We open the chocolate advent calendar tomorrow.

Having been down to Bristol for my Trinity College graduation ceremony yesterday I am feeling a bit tired today (it was great to see everyone again) so must get back to afternoon tea and a sit down before the evening service.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

in the same boat

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Dave Walker has been under the weather and hasn't been able to blog for a while...but he is back! I have missed you Dave and it is good to have you back.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

elderly ghetto gospel choir

Surely this has to be a mistake?

Monday, November 17, 2008


I know I said I wasn't going to b able to blog for a while but I think it may well be that I will be able to post but it will be a little more infrequent than 'usual'. I can't resist the pull of the interweb!

Anyway, I thought I would break my silence with details of this campaign by Barnardo's. It is called Children in trouble.

The Campaign (in Barnardo's words) is as follows:

"There are people who might say that some children are difficult to believe in – those who are troublesome or engage in anti-social behaviour.

At Barnardo’s, we argue that it is these children who especially need our help and support.

Evidence shows that most children in trouble are trapped in a cycle of disadvantage:

* they come from the poorest families and communities
* they have the poorest educational experiences
* they are more likely to suffer ill health and substance abuse.

Most children are not troublesome. They attend school, take part in activities and many volunteer in their communities.

Despite this, society has the perception that children are responsible for a significant amount of antisocial behaviour and crime and are becoming increasingly intolerant.

Society is demonising its young people."

Please watch the following video - will children who are under 13 years of age please seek parental consent before watching this video.

What Barnardo's are campaigning for

Barnardo's want people to think again.

Help them change the public’s intolerance, and stop the demonisation of children and young people: take action with Barnardo's.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

continued blog break

Thanks to everyone who has sent messages and has been praying for the parishes and for the family and friends of Joseph Lappin. Your love and support has been much appreciated.

Unfortunately, due to unforeseen (and totally unrelated) circumstances, I have to continue with my blog break for a few more months. I hope to be back by the early new year. Meanwhile, please do tune in to the new re:jesus blog where I shall be adding the occasional post. In the meantime if you need to get in touch you can either post a comment here and I will get back to you, or you can email me.

much love and blessings. Ellen. xxx

Saturday, October 25, 2008

blog break

I am sorry, dear reader, that I have not been blogging for a while but I am sure you are aware that this has been a difficult week in Everton following the fatal stabbing of Joseph Lappin outside the Shewsy Youth Club on Monday night. The club is attached, physically as well as practically, to St Peter's church which one of the two churches where I am a curate, and we are all struggling to make sense of what is a terrible event. As Henry said in his statement to the press on Monday:
"The whole community are shocked and saddened by these stabbings. We will be doing all we can to help the police with their inquiries but at this moment our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims."

I don't think that I will be able to to blog here for a I hope you will forgive my absence from the world of the interweb. You can contact me via the usual routes and we would all appreciate your prayers. Particular thoughts to the family of Joseph and his friends.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

london calling

There is absolutely no excuse for the Clash's London Calling to be used for the Olympics theme tune. The irony is too much to bear. I can't actually bear it. If Boris or Coe ever bother to actually listen to the lyrics they may actually fear for their lives. But sadly I suspect neither of them posses the irony required to deal with popular music. May they hang their heads in shame!

If you want to watch the video you'll have to go to this is worth it.
I will print the lyrics for Boris and Coe... and please bear this in mind when making your plans for 2012.

London Calling - the Clash

London calling to the faraway towns
Now war is declared, and battle come down
London calling to the underworld
Come out of the cupboard, you boys and girls
London calling, now don't look to us
Phoney Beatlemania has bitten the dust
London calling, see we ain't got no swing
'Cept for the ring of that truncheon thing

[Chorus 1:]
The ice age is coming, the sun's zooming in
Meltdown expected, the wheat is growing thin
Engines stop running, but I have no fear
'Cause London is drowning, and I live by the river

London calling to the imitation zone
Forget it, brother, you can go it alone
London calling to the zombies of death
Quit holding out, and draw another breath
London calling, and I don't wanna shout
But while we were talking, I saw you nodding out
London calling, see we ain't got no high
Except for that one with the yellowy eyes

[Chorus 2: x2]
The ice age is coming, the sun's zooming in
Engines stop running, the wheat is growing thin
A nuclear error, but I have no fear
'Cause London is drowning, and I live by the river

Now get this

London calling, yes, I was there, too
An' you know what they said? Well, some of it was true!
London calling at the top of the dial
After all this, won't you give me a smile?
London calling

I never felt so much alike [fading] alike alike alike

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

jury service

If you ever get called up for jury service here are some things I would recommend you take with you:
* chocolate - they don't have any in Liverpool Crown Court which is very silly
* if you can knit take needles and wool (though some is provided) cos many ladies are knitting for Africa
* magazines and books - lots of.
* some sort of comfy - like a blanket or pillow (it is uncomfortable)
* the in-house food is rubbish so bring supplies
* flask of tea (see above)
* many people have copies of the Daily Mail or the Mirror so there is no need for these to be brought with you (best make a not of the daily mail readers and try not to engage in conversation - I had to be very stern with a man who started off on asylum seekers and it was a bit awkward. I made my excuses and have been avoiding eye contact ever since.) you might want some other newspaper...but there is a telly so you can watch bargain hunt.
* I have found mixed nuts and dried fruit quite a comfort (and found particular solace in jelly babies yesterday which went down very well with my fellow jurors - whilst we were deciding the verdict we needed sugar and I was the only person with supplies.)
* remember also to pack compassion, patience and a fair minded approach.

I have finished one jury today - guilty! I can tell you all about it now because it is over and the judge said I could. But, I can't face going through it again just now. Just to say it wasn't very nice...

I had parish duties this evening so I am very tired indeed. Best get myself off to bed.

Monday, October 13, 2008

jury service

I have started my jury service...I am quite tired. A day of new things and loads to take in. I have tried to chill out this evening but it has been quite hard. I had a lovely time with Eva when I got home and I realized quite how much I have been caught up in stuff and haven't been able to spend as much time as I'd like with her. Shame I have jury service all next week as well because it is half term and I am really not going to be around as much as I'd hoped. Hey ho.

Right, I'd better be off to bed as I have to be in court again at the crack of dawn to find out more.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

final hours

The Vision After the Sermon (Jacob Wrestling with the Angel)
Paul Gauguin
currently held at the National Gallery of Scotland

I am entering my final hours at St Deiniols and feeling quite pleased with my progress. I have managed to work on every chapter and make significant improvements to a large proportion of it. Spiritually I feel I have been able to get this whole thing in perspective and regained a peace around it that had fallen away during the last year at Trinity. A great deal of wrestling - emotional, spiritual, physical and intellectual has gone into these four days and I feel quite exhausted by also invigorated.

I have just over 2 hours left here - Mark and Eva are coming to get me at lunch time. So, I best make the most of these final hours. So, there will be no More playing on facebook!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

progress is slow but steady

It is 8.23pm and I have been hard at work here in the library all day. I worked until the library shut at 10pm last night and that is my plan tonight though I am finding it quite hard to keep going (hence the blog break). My cold is getting the better of me and I think I must be annoying the other readers with my sniffing and coughing...but so far no even a huff or puff from them (so polite). I am making good progress though. I am being very critical of my work and making some quite radical changes to the previous draft. However, I am going to have to be less radical and gather more pace tomorrow. I am about 1/4 of the way through it and one chapter (the one where I develop my practice as research - or what Sara refers to as the auto-ethnographic chapter!) in particular will need a great deal of attention - i.e. it is really pants.

I am loving it here though...the food is great, my room is very comfy, I have made a couple of good friends who are very interesting to chat to at meal times and over coffee. I just wish I wasn't feeling quite so rubbish...hey ho. As long as I get most of this done I will be pleased. Anyway, best get on.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

st deiniols

I am at St Deiniols - home of Gladstone (it was, obviously not now because he is dead - but there is a good exhibition here) and the best library in the world. I am sitting on a very comfy chair in the library surrounded by lovely books in complete silence. It is fantastic. Though I didn't come here to mes about on facebook or write my blog it is quite the nicest place I have ever had the pleasure of messing about on the interweb.

Although I have a cold and am self-medicating variuosly on lemsip, asprin, honey lemon and ginger, chocolate biscuits and crisps I can still smell old books, oak and leather. A heady combination that makes me want to write a that's what best get on with doing. Tea is at 6.45pm so I have 1 1/2 hours of creating to do. Wish me luck.

Monday, October 6, 2008

greenbelt jazzy pants

Mark has exhibited a number of great photos from his Greenbelt Jazzy Pant collection on his blog...pure genius.

cold - retreat - music hall

I have a cold - which is very sad because I have a busy week planned and could really do with not being ill. I am off to St Deiniol's for a few days to get my head down and do some serious work on my PhD. I have been panning this for months and feel a bit peeved that I now am ill and my head hurts. Still, I have had a good chat with Sara (supervisor) about what is needed so hope that something (i.e. a new draft) will come out of the next few days hard work. I am also hoping that I get a little break and some time-out. Just being away for a few days will be nice.

I think I have access to the interweb in my room so I will be receiving mails, facebook etc but I will be disciplined about time spent away from my developing thoughts on Liverpool's music hall.

must go and pack my socks and pants...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

church nicknacks and whathaveyous

I noticed that Dave Walker has sent out an open invitation to fill this page with links. Farli has had a go so I thought I'd try too.

Having just gone into the church office to do a spot of photocopying I thought I'd list some of the more unusual church nicknacks and whathaveyous I found:
the advent candle ring - broken and 2 candles missing
a small pink fluffy pig
a bike
a complete collection of (unread) bible commentaries
a bag of sand
box of videos - of the gospels (my guess is that they are not of the actual events as they unraveled but some sort of dramatization made for video)

There are so many more things which I will list in follow-up posts. But this is just the start.


Today I have been preparing for the harvest service tomorrow at St Peters. There has been photocopying to do, tins to buy, bread to make, sermon to write (I say sermon it is more like telling two all age stories based on Luke 12. 13-21 - the Rich Fool and Isaiah 11.1-9 - A Vision of God's Universal Peace.

We are going to use some of the material from the Loaf Service - Christian Ecology Link's Food Campaign. We are going to make bread at the beginning of the service so I am preparing the dough a bit later so that all that has to happen tomorrow is some shaping at the beginning of the service, a quick rise and bake. To be honest I would quite like to be tucked up in bed with a lemsip. I have been fighting off a cold for a few weeks now and I feel like I am fighting a losing battle. I am freezing cold and Mark, Elise and Eva have all succumbed to it. Still, I am enjoying getting stuff ready and making the harvest loaf is going to be great.

I though I might be able to get out tonight to wish Dilys happy birthday but the combination of harvest prep and feeling like death warmed up probably means I am best being at home (also Eva is not that keen to go out for a curry!). I hope Mark is feeling well enough to go on all of our behalf.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


having just got the house settled and the plans for new windows nearly in place a new incident has got us in a fluster. Last night we had a bit of a storm here in Everton (and that wasn't just because Liverpool did well in the footy). Whilst I was out at the healing service and Mark was out at the Shewsy (Eva was being sat on by my new friend Penny) the flat roof over our dinning room sprang a leek and the part of the ceiling gave way. We have had to employ a number of buckets to catch the water - which has now subsided to a drip. As they say - "it never rains but it pours". Hey ho.

I am in the house writing (more like fiddling) with my PhD which is going to be discussed by Sara (my supervisor) and I over lunch today. It will be Sara's first visit to the vicarage and I am hoping that she will be gentle with me. As usual I have prepared for writing by cleaning the house a bit - mopping the kitchen floor and all the surfaces (including the toaster, kettle, bread bin and compost bin). So, after 1 hour of messing have achieved 200 words. Which believe me is good going. Having some time to work on this chapter has helped me to realise the strengths and weaknesses in the work so the mulling / cleaning process is time well spent digesting my methodology.

Later on this evening I am off to see Kathy and David - my friends and hairdressers...they are planning a bleaching session and I will be able to discuss pop music, culture and the opening of the 2nd phase of Liverpool One shopping centre which I suspect will become the Museum to Capitalism shortly. Well, we can but hope.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


For those of you who have been waiting with bated breath to find out about my visit to the gym I can report that I have now been twice and am ok about going again. I am not buzzing about it but in the same breath I am not miserable so am going to keep on keeping on. I went this morning before Henry and I had our theological reflection / team meeting session and didn't need to have a sleep afterward - which was just as well because I haven't touched the ground all day!

Anyway, thanks to everyone for the support...I will keep you posted.

Monday, September 29, 2008

back to church

We didn't do anything specific for back to church Sunday - though I did notices this article (thanks to the Church Times Blog) about a Merseyside church who seem to be an unexpected hit with the Daily Post. Good news I think!

Yesterday was, as ever, a busy day. I was preaching at St John Chrysostom Church on Philippians 1.21-30 in the morning. I really struggled to get this sermon sorted out this week but I think it went ok. My main point was that in this part of the letter Paul gives his readers permission to live with the tension (and not try to fix it) between the “now and not yet” and stand on this shifting ground with confidence. I think the sermon was preached by me for me really. I am a terrible one for trying to pin stuff down - particularly in relation to God's plans!

We had a big Sunday dinner with Elise, Wayne, baby Lillie, Andrea and Paula - roast pork, roast potatoes and parsnips, cabbage, peas and carrots. Followed by crumble. Yum Yum. we then sat and watched Penelope. It was a lovely afternoon.

I then went out to the Deanery evening service which was led by Kip Crooks (who is leading our parish weekend away as well). He was speaking about Art and Faith...which was very interesting. We also had a celebration for Henry's 30 years of ministry. 30 years in Everton no less. Very impressive I have to say!

So, that's my news. I am feeling a bit coldy this evening and have had a day in my office to catch up on bits and bobs. I went out for a few visits this afternoon but other than that its been planning for services, writing emails, poking about with my PhD and faffing. I have an evening off so must go and enjoy some crap TV.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Today I am doing stuff for tomorrow...a sermon needs tweeking, prayers need preparing and some printing needs printing. I am also trying to do things in the garden (very little has been done and as we uncover stuff we discover that the garden is a lot bigger than we we thought and that it is a lot more of a mess that we had ever imagined), I am making cakes and doing some painting (we made a terrible mess on a wall with cranberry juice - long story!). I am covered in magnolia paint and banana cake mix. So, a house sorting and Sunday preparation day.

I am also trying not to care about the Merseyside of the good things about being a girl is that you are allowed to not have an opinion about football. Even if I had an opinion I am rarely asked for it. I think the pressure of having a partisan view might be too much for me. Having an interest is enough. The fact that the match is happening at Goodison Park means that the street isn't parked up and I can't hear the cheering from our garden. However, the street is very quiet and we can hear cheers from houses (from Liverpool supporters thus far!).

I had better get on with my Sunday preparation whilst listening to radio 5 live - 24 mins to go!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Brian makes mistakes

You may well know that I am dyslexic. I am perfectly happy with my special backward logic brain but sometimes it doesn't work very well in the world of non-dyslexics. When I am unable to explain myself to non-dyslexics, make humourous spelling mistakes, Malaprop or become clumsy (a most unhelpful additional symptom) it usually means my poor brain has been overloaded by non-dyslexic thought patterns. It is at times like these I refer to my brain as Brian.

Yesterday Brian was on top form and making mistakes all the time. I sent a top secret email to the wrong person thus blowing the secret (thankfully on this occasion it was just a special card secret). I fell over my own feet a couple of times, banged into some corners and bruised my arm and leg. I lost my temper twice over mess - papers in the wrong place and I couldn't find something I needed in a hurry (I try to create an absurdly ordered world when Brian is making mistakes). But the worst thing that Brian did yesterday was a terrible flight booking disaster. I was left in charge of booking return flights to Belfast from Liverpool for New Year. I managed to find some reasonable easyjet flights and thought I'd got it all sorted, paid for and got the receipt. It wasn't until late last night that Mark noticed that I had actually booked return flights from Belfast to Liverpool! So, Brian cost us £120 because each mistake cost £20 to rectify and because you can't speak to a person you can't negotiate!

It made me realise how difficult booking flights, making orders, and generally doing on-line buying actually is for me. I try to avoid it - or get Mark to make the final transactions and there is always a sinking feeling just after I press "make transaction"...but this was by far the worst (and expensive) on-line mistake I have made. I wonder if there is a way dyslexic people can have the agreement read out to them or if there is some way if you have particular needs you could actually speak to a real person to make bookings? I am not sure I will feel all that confident about making such transactions in the future. hey ho.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

avoiding exercise

I have managed to avoid taking any form of exercise for a long time but tomorrow is the day that all this changes. I have an induction to the local gym which has been prescribed by the nurse at my new doctor's surgery (having had a check up she just happened to notice that I was overweight and a bit of a couch potato). I have signed up for Liverpool's healthy living scheme which allows me to see a personal trainer, join the gym and have my physical well being monitored over 12 weeks. I am not looking forward to this step at all. My aversion to exercise goes very deep and the thought of being the gym fatty feels me with horror but I realize that being affective here - the curate in two parishes in Everton - my health needs to be boosted.

So, I would welcome your prayers - for lethargy (oh I am very good at being too tired to go for a walk/swim/spin); for my sore arthritic feet which do not respond well to impact; for the poor person who has to motivate me off the sofa and in to the gym. But most importantly that I don't lose heart too quickly and keep at it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

my list

looks like this:
- Finish writing our Will - boring, depressing but necessary (the co-op do a great will writing service)
- Sort out risk assessment for church
- write up notes taken at meeting with Environmental Health man
- write a funding report
- look at and sort electoral rolls
- Write a sermon for Sunday
- Write the talk for Women's Fellowship today (which I have done!)
- phone hairdresser and sort appointment for me and Eva
- go food shopping or make a list and send someone else
- read minutes etc for meeting this evening and find out where meeting is and where to park etc
- get trainers for first gym visit on thurs
- make cakes for Sunday
- plan pastoral visits for next few weeks

There are lots of other bits and bobs but this is where I am up to just now. I am off to Women's Fellowship shortly to speak, drink tea and eat cake (it is a hard life) and I have started to plan my preach for Sunday so am on course - Philippians 1: 21-30! Like Paul I am dealing with the tension between the desire for the new heaven but enjoying the cake in the old earth (Paul obviously worded his argument differently)...will there be cake in heaven?

Monday, September 22, 2008


I have been using Reflections for Daily Prayer: 18 August to 29 November 2008 which have been written by John PRITCHARD, Jane WILLIAMS, Tom SMAIL, Emma INESON, Maggi DAWN, Alan GARROW, Ian PAUL.
The collection follows the lectionary readings focusing on one aspect and offering reflections as well as the collect for the day. I find it a very useful focus for my daily prayers. Having been so caught up in the business of being a new curate and trying to keep up some spiritual routine using these reflections has been a spiritual lifeline to me. I have decided to subscribe to the following editions (quarterly) and can recommend it heartily.

You can buy your copy and/or subscribe from Church House Publishing.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Tomorrow I am off to Narnia! The Cathedral are hosting a Prince Caspian family fun day and I am available for prayer at a meditation station as part of the spiritual installation. I think there will be a lots of different types of activities - from the obviously spiritual to the more activity based crafts and workshops.

The blurb on the website says:
"Come and join us for an all age family fun day at Liverpool Cathedral. Climb the tower of Cair Paravel, watch the archery demonstrations, see live owls in the Cathedral. Have fun in the workshops, have a go at the crafts, meet our very own Prince Caspian. Get to see the wonderful 5ft wooden carving of Aslan, which featured in Marney Hall's garden at the NEC Birmingham and featured on BBC Gardeners World. Don't miss out !
Times: 10am - 4pm"

Eva went with her school on Wednesday and had a great day so I am looking forward to being part of it. If you get a chance you should pop down.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

fashion police

I don't know if you have seen this story on the BBC website but a man was recently arrested for wearing baggy jeans in Riviera Beach, south-east Florida. Since his arrest the law that allowed the fashion police to make the arrest has been challenged and a ruling has declared that the young man's imprisonment was unconstitutional. Too right it's unconstitutional - we middle aged faded blooms might not like to see vast sways of underpant cotton, or protruding thongs but surely young people should be able to have the right to have a go at wearing weird and wonderful combinations, challenge conventional clothing rules and look as daft as they like. As the news-story rightly points out this particular arrest smacked more of racism - attacking the fashion preferences of African-Americans. But, remember if their not stopped now the fashion may come and knock at your door next - yes you...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

deanery chapter meetings

I went to my first Deanery Chapter meeting the other day...and, to be honest, I am still not sure what happened. So it is interesting to read what other clergy think is going on at theirs. Dave Walker is asking the question - Rev's are giving their answers!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

in charge

Henry and I meet up on a Tuesday to talk business and a Wednesday to theologically reflect on recent events and spend time praying for each other, our families and the church and wider community. Today we had to conflate the two meetings into one because Henry is off to London and leaving me in charge. We met for a few hours this morning followed by communion at the Women's Fellowship group I am then running him to the station later. I hope he has a parish (or preferably two parishes) left when he comes back!

Actually, I think I am going to be running about so much that I won't be able to cause too much trouble. I am sure I'll be ok. Mark is away of Thursday for the weekend so I really will be left holding the baby and in charge!

Anyway, I am off to do some visiting now so sorry this is so short. Catch up later. Wish me luck.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

historic buildings

Today I have tried to get round to see some of Liverpool's Heritage Open Day buildings. Unfortunately I only managed Christ Church, Linnet Lane and St Georges Church, Everton. I always enjoy HOD's and this year I feel I have not been able to do it justice. Hey ho.

I have realised that I am seriously avoiding PhD work at the moment so have promised myself to get a grip next week and start to fill empty moments (not that there are many of those) with sorting, re-drafting and honing. If you see me on here too much (and/or facebook, commenting on your blogs / sending emails etc) then please feel free to tell me off. Face-to-face encounters are ok (in moderation) and only on Tuesday will I read Heat magazine. That's it. I need to get a grip.

Right, I am off to the supermarket to get the week's shop, then an early night because we have a Baptism tomorrow (I'm not doing the actual Baptism but I am leading)...and we have a house full for lunch.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

sense of sound on songs of praise

Today I am off to Formby to see Sister June - the "healing nun" and my spiritual director. I am looking forward to some wise words and spiritual healing! Also, the drive to Formby is lovely and I can have a spot of charity shop shopping as well. Hope to be back by 2pm when I will do a bit of work in my office and some visiting later. All good I think.

I am thinking about a few of my Trinity friends who are getting ordained over the next couple of weeks - Mel must have started her ordination retreat. So, I'll be thinking about them for a while as they prepare for that. Last night I joined a housegroup (which will be meeting here on Wednesday evenings). We had a great time chatting and looking at Revelation - which I have to say was a challenge to me and a book I may need to spend some time studying in more depth. Having worked on the book of Daniel with Ernest Lucas last year I feel better equipped to return to this and peel away some of my layers of thinking.

Anyway, to the subject of this entry - Sense of Sound Choir are appearing on Songs of Praise this Sunday on BBC 1 - 4.35pm - 5.10pm. Of course I won't be able to watch it because I will be at real live church...having said that I will be taping it! They will be singing Stevie Wonder's Pastime Paradise which will be a real treat.

Pastime Paradise

They've been spending most their lives
Living in a pastime paradise
They've been spending most their lives
Living in a pastime paradise
They've been wasting most their lives
Glorifying days long gone behind
They've been wasting most their days
In remembrance of ignorance oldest praise
Tell me who of them will come to be
How many of them are you and me

Race Relations
Miscreation the evils of the world

They've been spending most their lives
Living in a future paradise
They've been spending most their lives
Living in a future paradise
They've been looking in their minds
For the day that sorrow's gone from time
They keep telling of the day
When the Savior of love will come to stay
Tell me who of them will come to be
How many of them are you and me

Proclamation of Race Relations
Verification of Revelations
World Salvation
Simulation the peace of the world

They've been spending most their lives
Living in a pastime paradise
They've been spending most their lives
Living in a pastime paradise
They've been spending most their lives
Living in a future paradise
They've been spending most their lives
Living in a future paradise
We've been spending too much of our lives
Living in a pastime paradise

Let's start living our lives
Living for the future paradise
Praise to our lives
Living for the future paradise
Shame to anyones lives
Living in a pastime paradise

- that's a challenge to all of us I think! Best go and speak to Sister June about Stevie Wonder...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


It is so cold. I am shivering in my office getting ready for a housegroup this evening and thinking about going out to a coffee shop to plan rather than be in here. I am a bit worried about turning on the heating because our quoted bill for the next 12 months is just under £2,000 (which we pay in monthly installments and is based on last year's consumption at this address). We haven't had the heating on - apart from occasional emergency clothes drying - and I don't want to start until Oct. But, it really is quite cold. Now, I have an income (admittedly not all that much but I am settled and have a secure job) which means that this bill is annoying (understatement) but can be dealt with and with belt tightening can be paid. However, I am quite concerned that there are many people who will find themselves in fuel poverty this year. I wonder what is the Christian response?

Monday, September 8, 2008

La Machine escapes to Birkenhead!

After a busy day in the parish I managed to get into town by 9pm to catch La Princess as she walked past the Empire. The amazing crowds in town almost blew me away...I am not sure I have ever seen so many people in the city at night and certainly I have never experienced collective popular euphoria on this scale before. There was a carnival atmosphere - a world turned upside down feeling - as the the people took over streets usually chocker with cars, taxis and buses. This is the sort of welcome that is usually reserved for football heroes! Yet last night the crowd was more diverse, the atmosphere calm and almost serene.

As I wondered down William Brown Street (do click on the link as it will give you a panoramic view of WB St) past the Walker and on to the library I was very pleased to find John Davies standing on the bottom of the steps. What a treat! Shortly we were joined by Kate who's husband Tommy has been working with Mark on La Machine - we are both La Machine widows who haven't seen our husbands in daylight for nearly 2 weeks! Our vantage point, on the steps, was great...we were able to see the giant spider as she came down the street and advanced on to the Tunnel.

What has been impressive about the production of this three day performance has been the way the company has used the existing cityscape to theatrical advantage. Making adjustments to the street furniture to accommodate the procession (the removal of the tunnel roundabout, the uprooting of traffic lights and closing off of major roads for days at a time) they have optimized the city's natural contours as well as it's man-made structures. This final city venue provided a perfect amphitheatre for the spider's last stand...

Liverpool's La Princess was driven out of the city by a combination of fire, water, snow and a barrage of fireworks. Her exit down the tunnel the finale of a beautiful weekend of spider related elation. I have to say I am going to miss the beautiful beast. Mark is experiencing a combination of exhaustion and post-performance downer. How will he fill his days now La Princess has escaped to Birkenhead!? He is still in bed and may need cake.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

We were at the dock yesterday when the princess took a dip in the Mersey...we all got very wet. Here are a couple of videos that capture some of the atmosphere

We are planning to go back into town shortly to see her wonder back up to concourse house.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


At lunchtime today I actually saw a bbc news story that claimed that Liverpool Arachnophobes were having to leave for Widnes because of La Machine. Even the thought of Liverpool has now filled Arachnophobes with fear and can cause stress. Not that this put the PM off who was also visiting the city today!

Having spent a few hours with the spider this afternoon I can confirm that it is neither real nor threatening. In fact it spent most of the time I was with it asleep. Mark has just returned home from spending the day with La Machine and has had to go straight to bed!

I don't have photos but this is a video of last night's appearance on the concourse. When I visited it last night at 10pm it was just hanging out. B-T-W I didn't take this video as I wasn't allowed to leave the vehicle!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

La Machine

This, and other pictures, can be found at this BBC picture link and John Davies has taken some good shots as well which are up on his flickr.

The next few days are going to be quite hectic here at the vicarage. Eva goes back to school, I have curate's duties to attend to and Mark is working on La Machine. Having seen the front page of the Liverpool Echo this afternoon there probably isn't a person in Liverpool who doesn't know what the creature is by now!

Anyway, if you need to know the plan here it is:
"Something unforgettable is about to happen in Liverpool as a highlight of the Liverpool European Capital of Culture celebrations. Vast in scale and spectacular in execution, this breathtaking new commission from La Machine will spin a tale so magical that an entire city will fall under its spell. Just as The Sultan’s Elephant stopped London in its tracks in 2006, so this three-day adventure will unfold against the landmarks of a great city, stopping the traffic and captivating everyone who sees it. Prepare to be amazed by a show that will make you believe in the impossible…"

Wednesday 3rd September

Dawn The creature appears suspended on the side of Concourse Tower.
08.00h Press briefing – with photo and interview opportunities.
10.00h A Research Base is set up at the Echo Arena at the ACC.
16.00h Scientists arrive at Concourse Tower to set up searchlights to light the creature.
20.30h Scientists switch on searchlights, which stay lit overnight.

Thursday 4th September

11.30h The creature is craned off Concourse Tower.
12.30h The convoy carries the creature and sets off for the Research base at ACC.
13.00h The convoy arrives at the Research Base.
14.00h Press briefing with a member of the French artistic team.

Friday 5th September
11.30h The scientists perform experiments on the creature using different special
effects to see how it responds to different stimuli. The creature wakes up and
is prevented from running away by a wall of Chinese firecrackers and by a
fire effect. Eventually the creature is sent to sleep by a snow machine.
13.00h Interview / photo / filming opps - member of the French artistic team,
representative from Liverpool Culture Company, members of Artichoke
production team.
18.00h The creature wakes and parades to Salthouse Dock.
19.30h The creature arrives at the Dock and takes a bath, accompanied by live music.
After her bath, she is dried and perfumed.
20.30h The creature sets off for Cunard Building.
21.00h The creature arrives at Cunard Building. It begins to snow gently and she
falls asleep.

Saturday 6th September

11.30h The creature wakes up in the middle of a magical snowscape, and is
serenaded with music.
12.30h The creature goes to sleep again.
13.00h Press briefing with a member of the French artistic team.
14.45h The creature leaves Cunard Building and walks up Water Street.
15.30h The creature arrives at Town Hall – smoke effect.
15.40h The creature walks towards Derby Square along Castle Street.
16.00h Water ballet at Derby Square.
16.15h The creature walks down Lord Street to Holy Corner where it is snowing.
17.00h The creature sleeps.
18.30h The creature wakes and walks down Parker Street, serenaded on the way.
20.00h A tempest rages at Ranelagh Place.
20.30h The creature arrives at Concourse Tower, climbs up the tower and goes to sleep.

Sunday 7th September

15.00h The creature wakes up and is prepared for the evening’s entertainment.
16.00h The creature goes back to sleep.
19.30h Cherry-pickers and musicians arrive.
20.00h The creature is removed from the tower with a crane.
20.30h The convoy leaves the tower and parades to Queensway Tunnel entrance.
21.15h The creature tries to escape, but is prevented from doing so by the special
effect machines.
21.30h The creature escapes via the tunnel.

A show by La Machine
Created by François Delarozière.
Music composed by Dominique Malan.

Special effects by Thierry Loridant. Costumes by Gaelle Choveau.

bits and bobs by Mark Loudon

Obviously most of the Sunday stuff clashes with church so I won't be seeing that but hopefully Eva will hook up with some of her friends and get to see most of it - not sure how popular I would be if I made her come to church and miss the finale!

Monday, September 1, 2008

great face for the radio

I mentioned a while back that I was going to be on Radio Merseyside - Daybreak with Wayne Clarke - talking about how I came to be a curate! Well, I was - on Sunday at 8.20am. If you missed it then you can listen again (for one week only) by clicking on the listen again bit on the bottom right.


Today I have mostly been fiddling with my PhD. I am due to meet my supervisor next Monday and I have promised a new draft of everything (which isn't going to happen) by tomorrow. I have been able to manage an abstract, the intro, chapter 3, the conclusion and bibliography. The working on the rest depends on how these go down. I think a bit of creative cutting and pasting may be in order but Sara needs to have a look at the whole thing and give a verdict before I am prepared to commit any further editing.

The good news is that I have booked 4 days away st St Deiniols in Oct to have a go at the next draft. It is so distracting here at home - Mark is on the upstairs computer, Eva bouncing about. So, a few days away will, hopefully, kick the latest draft into touch.

I want to eat vast quantities of chocolate and drink white wine every time I finish a day on my PhD. I have no idea why it makes me so stressed!? The only thing that is spurring me on is the thought of finishing it and getting on with my life. Hey ho.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


I have been juggling Eva and a sermon all day! I was unable to take my day off yesterday so in theory I was due some time today but because I was so tired after Greenbelt I was a bit behind with admin and my sermon. So, today I got up early (for a Saturday) - got into town for 10am and got Eva's school uniform and new shoes, had a spot of lunch and got back for 2pm. Since then Eva and I have been chatting and doing stuff as well as the occasional bit of time trying to polish of the sermon.

Mark has got some work with Artichoke on La Machine which is happening next week. I am sworn to secrecy about the machine. But it is going to be big and spectacular! It does however mean that Mark has been over at Cammell Laird (where the machine is being built - that's what they build in the ship yards today!) for the last 2 days (out till midnight each day) doing whatever secret machine builders do. He is then working the event Thursday - Sunday next week. So, I will be doing even more juggling next week!

Friday, August 29, 2008

re-emerging from emerging church

After Greenbelt last year I was not very optimistic about the emerging church! I even wrote this poem

not emerging, drowning
I have tried to come up for air
but it feels like someone has their foot on my head.
I keep gasping and waving but I think I am going under again.
If I swim like this --- I seem to keep afloat, but it is painful and not my stroke.
If I swim like this --- the foot goes back on again and I go under.

I am not emerging,
I am struggling.
I think I am drowning.

I am sitting in a pew with a sore bum.
I am trying to play nicely with boys.
I am trying to learn how to turn the machine on.
I am whispering into a yellow flower on a sandy beach.
I am not thin or pretty.
I am not softly spoken.
I am not very meek or mild.

I can see legs under the water.
They are kicking and kicking and not getting anywhere.
I wonder if I swim closer we could try and go up for air together?

Perhaps it was my expectation of community, the desire to be part of church that explored new ways of worshiping (not just deconstructed and dismantled) and of being in communication with people who wanted to spend time together getting things wrong but not getting caught up with blame or competition. These expectations were challenged at Greenbelt 07 because as I encountered various groups, communities and individuals interacting I realised that the fragility of human life meant that quite the opposite set of values were often at play (in myself as well as others). The steep learning curve I experienced last year made me realise that if a new way of being church was going to emerge it would be as flawed as ever but it just might find new ways of engaging with culture and even provide a counter-cultural environment that challenged dominant cultures (secular and holy) if only it allowed itself to flourish and not eat itself. However, this would only be possible for me to be involved if I entered into debate and engaged in dialogue with my own practice and that of others.

This year I spent quite a lot of time submerging myself in various services, talks, musical encounters and 'performance worship'. I didn't want to dismantle or distance myself but allow the offerings to float about without trying to pin them down too much. I didn't go into the contributors lounge or engage with debate (that almost broke my heart last year) but instead enjoyed the challenges, the beauty and the spiritual connections when I got them allowing the negative, disappointments and stuff I just 'didn't get' to drift away. You know was great. And I did find hope:
at the hospitable dinner table in Grace
at the beach in Dream
in neotopia in soulspace
in new performances of old songs (of Larry Normans)
in the confusion of Foundation's babel
in the contemplation of Feig
amongst the plastic bags at Sanctus 2nds
on the terrace at Rise
in the cooker and the kitchen
and in the Ambient Wonder

So, as I come back to parish life I bring back a renewed sense of hospitality, a re-engagement with the creativity of my peers and a hope for a graceful British emerging church and alternative worship.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

back from Greenbelt

I am back physically but to be honest I think I left most of myself at Greenbelt. I can't quite settle and I am wacked. I have washed the mud off my crocs and have started back at work today. I slept for 12 hours last night and can't wait to get back there tonight. If only Liverpool would put a goal in the back of the net and I can relax! I am not sure I am going to be able to watch the TV for long becuase it is too stressful!

Anyway, Greenbelt was great. My hightlights include:
- The curry out in Cheltenham on Thurs night
- Transcendence service
- Foundation - Babel
- Dream - spontaneous worship and the service in New Forms
- Lucy Winkett's talk about being English
- The Larry Norman tribute
- seeing 'ickle Toby H again - he is so cute
- being in New Forms hanging out and working

Things I struggled with:
- watching poor Claire Caddick having to eat with a wooden fork
- cold evenings
- yacky mud slime as it seeped through my crocs
- not having enough time to see all my friends properly
- missing loads of talks
- not seeing a single band on mainstage

favourite moment:
- having a right good laugh in the teepee with Jane, Anne, Emma, Sarah and Claire

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

greenbelt preparation

I am busy sorting stuff out for greenbelt and starting to get excited. Mark and I are bot working at New Forms and are really looking forward to enabling the alternative worship groups to set up, worship, strike and leave in peace!

I have checked the long range weather forecast and all is looking good (we live in hope). Claire Caddick and I both have our wellies sorted so at least we will have dry feet if all else fails.

I am looking forward to:
- the CSM drinks in the Jesus Arms on Sat at 5pm
- Foundation service 6pm Sun at new forms
Dream service 2pm mon at new forms
- Bruce and Sara Stanley's Happiness and Chocolate & Neotopia an "edible workshop" at 8pm on Saturday in the Soul Space - "using the most pleasurable food to learn how to savour experience for the most happiness". And Neotopia is a multi-media meditation, taking place at 10pm on Sunday in the Soul Space. What would happen if the world was arranged so that you had just your fair share of its resources?
- Transcendance - Ancient-Future Mass on Fri
- Also, Jane Corbett is speaking - but I can't work out when and where yet.

I am also looking forward to seeing Andy Small again (for our now annual meeting and hang-out at Greenbelt) and seeing Becky S, Liz H and Foundationers and everyone else. Oh dear I am a bit excited in a slightly uncool way - hey ho!

Friday, August 8, 2008

little break

I am going to have a little internet break for a few weeks. It isn't anything personal just need a bit of time, watch this space!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

held in trust

Today I spent most of the morning making toast for the kids who turned up for the St John Chrysostom play scheme. Which is a very good way to meet the kids and get to know their names - also I found out their toast preferences...most chose lightly toasted, loads of butter and cut in triangles (though there are always some who like rectangles). I personally think all bread based snacks taste better when cut into triangles - but maybe that's just me?

This afternoon Henry and I went to St Francis Xavier's (SFX) Church to have a cup of tea and lovely cake with Br. Ken Vance SJ. SFX are hosting a great exhibition of religious artifacts called Held in Trust: 2008 Years of Sacred Culture. They have some fantastic items - including the thorn of Christ. Quite apart from the items - which are wonderfully displayed - the church itself is beautifully presented and the cake was amazing (I had fruit cake). There is an army of volunteers working on the project - which s pretty impressive. If you happen to get a moment I really can recommend this exhibition to you not just because of the religious artifacts but for the whole ambiance.

For the rest of the afternoon I have been pottering about. Margie came from for a cuppa, I made Elise some dinner (she needs steak and as she is currently living in a vegetarian house we are providing meat based meals on wheels). I am just about to bath Eva and then relax with some dinner myself (not steak! Do you think we are made of money!!!!). I will be eating potato rosti and salad.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Baby Lillie

I have had quite a busy weekend...funeral preparation, service preparation, meeting up with friends, a quick trip into town, lunch out today with the Corbetts. But the most amazing thing that has happened this weekend is that Elise has had a lovely baby girl called Lillie. She was born in Elise's mums house in Toxteth (as planned) and the labour was reasonably contained - having spent most of the day in the park Lillie arrived just after 9.30pm last night. Elise managed without any pain relief and both she and Lillie are doing very well. We are so proud of Wayne and Elise and made up about baby Lillie. She is so cute and small (Lillie that is)!

Friday, August 1, 2008

day off

Last night I was off at Dream L19 for the Greenbelt practice service...which went very well. Such a great group of people so it is a bit of a privilege to be involved with this even though I have only been back in town a few weeks. I got in quite late but stayed up watching the Sylvia Plath film until 2am this morning so was very tired at 8am when I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep. I have been running on spare energy all day...

went into town at mid-day for a scoot about - got some bits and bobs, went to the back, had a spot of lunch with Mark and Eva. Then this afternoon I have been spending time with Tom Donaghey who came over from Preston for a visit. It was great to catch up and spent time chatting about our curacies and reminiscing (already) about the Trinity days! Only been away less than 2 months and already looking back with fondness as if it was years ago...

We went for a travel around the parish and I took him over to meet Henry. Sharing our stories of what we have done so far it feels like we have done so much already. Just recounting my experiences and talking about our parishes makes you realise how varied and fascinating the church of England is! We went out of a great curry at the Maharaja - always a treat! and now I am back in disparate need of sleep. Might have a bath and an early night.

I love my day off!

Thursday, July 31, 2008


St John Chrysostom Church is hosting a playscheme which is being run by local youth workers from the youth club - Zap! Their building is out of operation following a fire last year and the church offered the building for them to run holiday sessions. It is just 2 hours a day (can't do more unless we have more workers, room and sessional staff) but even 2 hours is hard. Today we had 25 on and off and with 5 of us playing and making stuff it was quite a challenge. We expect that we will have many more tomorrow. I had a great time making fridge magnets and painting. But I am very tired now and have to be out again at 6.30pm to take part in a Dream alternative worship service at St Mary's Grassendale. So, I am going to put my feet up and try to turn off my brain for an hour or so.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

ice cream vans

This is what I would like to do to ice cream vans!

I am sat in my office and am, as usual, very distracted by the outside world. Today it is ice cream vans that are distracting me!

When you love in a city ice cream vans are two-a-penny. I know they make the kids happy but the constant chiming of the bells and the plethora of tunes they play does my head in. The two that are most irritating at the moment are - Greensleeves and the teddy bears picnic. Just as you think one has passed and you are free another one comes by and the whole thing kicks off again. I guess if it was a Christian Ice cream van it might well play "Shine Jesus Shine"? I think my irritation is part of the "settling in" process because other city noises that are causing irritation are:
- the squeaky ball that belongs to the dog next door
- magpies
- cars going to fast on Queens road
- the phone that keeps ringing in the house behind us
- mika - should mika be banned now? Have we had enough?
- wheely bins being dragged
- morris dancers bells

I think it is time to go for a walk and se some stuff as well as hear it!

Monday, July 28, 2008

western pier

I have just seen the footage of burning Western pier I am feeling a bit nostalgic and sad...can't believe it has just gone. That's another bit of music hall history gone up in flames...

the Everton telegraph

One every 3 or 4 months St Peter's church produces (and Henry publishes) a community Newspaper called the Everton Telegraph. It contains a combination of community news, funny stuff and what's happening items of interest. The paper is free (or 20p) and is delivered across the parish by volunteers who don't just shove it through the letterboxes but knock and have a chat with people who are up for it. Obviously I am new to the area so I am just meeting people for the first time but the people I have been out with know a lot of the houses and we have had some excellent conversations at the front doors. It is a great way to meet people and to get round the parish on foot.

Today four of us were out for a couple of hours doing the lower end of the parish - it was such a fine day that many people were out in their gardens and were very happy to see us. I even caught the sun a bit (and I really dislike being out in the sun...combined with the walking it was quite a challenge for me).

I am telling you this good news story because I don't want you to think that it is all doom and gloom here - the robbery really was an extreme incident (painful though it was). This is a great place to live and we are really enjoying being back home. I guess there are always disappointments in any new experience but what is important (for me anyway) is that those difficult things don't overwhelm the positive things.

We have just had a great dinner with friends outside in our city garden and are feeling tired and content. There is no place for complacency but every place for optimism.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

strange dream

I had a very odd dream last night - that Paul Oxley ate my purple wrap (the one that I often have slung over my shoulder when it's chilly). This is my first Trinity college dream - we were all in my dream and saw Paul Oxley eat my wrap. It was very odd!

Anyway, dream apart I have been chilling, resting, reading, studying and preparing for tomorrow's services. It has been very quiet here. Having time to myself has helped me to reflect on the events of the week - a week which, despite the stress of Thursday night, has been very positive and encouraging for me. It is so easy to let one bad thing overshadow the positive things that have happened. Of course I am just starting out and finding my feet so have little idea about what my role will be here but I am enjoying finding out.

My immediate concern now is how I am going to get the new car - vauxhall zafia - out of the garage! I got it in last night but I'm not sure I can get it out...hadn't really thought that one through. I need to go out and get supplies so extracting it from the garage is quite important. I'll just do a bit more work then have a go.

Friday, July 25, 2008

rubbish day off

Last night someone stole Mark's camera from the house whilst Eva and I were in the kitchen - they came in through the open back door (less that 10 foot away from us). There had been an incident outside the house that lasted about an hour in total and was quite confrontational in the end. By the time Mark got back it became apparent that they had actually been in the house and removed the camera - the one that Mark uses for work and is quite valuable. Eva was reasonably ok about the whole thing but it has meant that today we have not gone to Wales for the night as a family as planned. I would have to be back tomorrow anyway and am too tired to get my act together to go so I am not going to make it at all - the others probably will get there for some of the time.

The whole day has been spent sorting stuff out. The police didn't go until 2am this morning and I was up at 8am sorting insurance etc. We have spent the day dealing with forensics, visitors and various other robbery related issues. I am completely knackered and know that a night under canvas is just not what I need. So, I am definitely staying to try to get a better nights sleep.

Having felt very demoralized earlier this morning and emailed a few people for prayer support and just to get it off my chest I am beginning to get it into perspective and realise that I can not let this take over the way we live and work here. But the reality is this isn't an isolated incident and I think we need to up security and vigilance and yet keep a balance of healthy city living. We are very well supported here - lots of people have called, the archdeacon has been round, the police dealt with the situation (slowly) but in a measured way and the insurance company have been good about it. So, we have a great deal to be grateful for. But your prayers for protection would be appreciated and once again please pray for the boys and girls who came into our home and the surrounding area. Boundaries need to be set and I need to be a bit tougher.

So, today has been a rubbish. But I must say a big thanks to everyone who is praying for us! Really really big thanks. xxx

Thursday, July 24, 2008

stuff that happens in my office

Today I am in my office...trying to prepare for Sunday's services and mulling over the week past. I am also trying hard to re-focus on my PhD! I know I haven't mentioned this for a while - mainly because I am in denial about it and would much rather it just disappeared or the fairies came in and did the next draft for me. But, as I am a bit unsure about "the fairies" (I promised Eva I would not ever again say I didn't believe in fairies, but not saying it doesn't actually make any difference to what is in my heart! I am pretty sure I really know about fairies...) and I suspect if the non existent fairies did my PhD for me then I would get done for plagiarism or cheating should the University find out - however, come to think about it if the fairies did my PhD and the university found out then that really would be a thing to write home about because then the University would have proved that there were PhD writing fairies and , my goodness that would be a thing!

I think we can be reasonable sure that none of the above is actually going to happen because I will have to write the PhD and that will be happening very very soon. having done my preparation, taken possession of the new car, had various visits from people and done some cleaning I have very little excuse left and may have to actually take the draft down of the shelf and read it and think of a plan as to how to prepare the next version. A cup of tea and then I am definitely goign to start!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Eva's birthday

Well, 9 years ago today I was in Liverpool's Women's Hospital recovering from having Eva! Today we have been to town for burgers at Eddie Rocketts and to Fact to see Walle. Eva's friend Maddie is going to sleep over so it is chaos here.

The most extra-ordinary thing that happened this evening was that I met - quite by accident - the woman who was in the bed next to me when I had Eva! We always refer to her as "Twin Lady" because she had twins! She was in FACT with her twins and older daughter. An amazing coincidence and one that really has warmed my heart. We kept in touch for a few years after the babies were born and even spent a couple of birthdays together but we have been out of touch for at least 3 years so it was great to swop numbers.

Anyway, I had better get back to the giddy girls.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

headache day 2

Rather annoyingly I still have yesterdays headache today. Don't really know what I am doing wrong...I've had lots of sleep, I have tried very hard not to read, watch tv, play on this computer and even took some time out of work this afternoon. But, here I am still feeling like a small thunderstorm is raging inside my brain. I also feel sick and am a funny shade of grey. The morris dancers are in church and I am in charge this evening (not as tricky as it sounds as they only need me to open up, fetch the football when they kick it over our fence - some boys who don't morris come to kick a football about - and close up at 9pm). I had intended to spend some time with them this evening but my headache won't deal with watching young people hop and bounce to loud music so I am pottering about instead.

It is Eva's birthday tomorrow - so we have a late afternoon/ evening of 9 year old fun ahead (burgers, a film, presents etc). Henry and I are taking a funeral tomorrow and I hope to finally get out and deliver the Everton Telegraph with Henry and some of the St Peter's church gang in the morning. So, I am hoping this headache will disappear over night (like the rain). If you don't mind putting a word in to God about the headache it would make tomorrow so much easier. Thanks.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Last night was the first time since May that I have slept through the night...I know that sounds mad but I usually have to get up at lest once for the loo or to have a little walk about. I haven't been worried about this - actually I don't mind waking up in the middle of the night, but last night I actually slept right through and it was great. Having said that by 1pm (after a baptism visit - which went very well) I had a screaming migraine and had to go back to bed and close the curtains (I need thicker curtains as there was too much light!). I fell asleep again for 2 hours and woke up very confused. I hate migraines and they are quite random but at least mine don't last very long and I bounce back quite well.

I was well enough to go out to the St Peter's Church PCC social this evening and had a great time. I had to pop t ASDA to buy presents for Eva's birthday - it's on Wednesday but I am a bit busy tomorrow. I wonder how old she will have to be before I can stop buying pink plastic stuff? I am listening to some music and trying to chill before I go off for more sleeping. Busy day tomorrow so best get chilling...

If you want a little laugh do have a look at this "Lambeth" picture.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

lambeth pictures

I am really enjoying looking at the photos from the Lambeth Conference.

Great to see:
...that even Bishops go shopping when on retreat
... Bishops listen to pop music in church and try to work out the lyrics to "reach" by s-club 7 (I know that this is not what they are doing but it made me chuckle)
...that even Bishops have to walk round those crazy queuing systems
...that the taxis in Canterbury (the lambeth conference, rather confusingly, takes place in Canterbury NOT Lambeth!) are eco friendly
...that even the seats are bishops-purple!

For more Lambeth news go to the official website
for a lighter side see the firstLambeth cartoon - by Dave Walker
and the Church Times Blog (also written by Dave Walker!) is an great insiders view of proceedings

Saturday, July 19, 2008

last choir standing

A few of my friends are in Sense of Sound Choir who have been doing very well in the BBC Last Choir Standing show...tonight they gave a blinding performance of "Cry me a River" - which got me crying a small stream. How proud am I of them! Very very proud! If you want to hear/see them perform "such a good feeling" then go to this link and push play on the mini-tv on the screen...

We have had a great time at the Sewsy Fair today (Mark won the guess the weight of the cake competition!) but now I am feeling a bit coldy so after I have just one more tweek of my sermon for tomorrow I will be having an early night.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The plank

Today is my day off so I have been resting, had a lovely lunch with Mark in town and went to visit Gaby Malcolm and have been tweeking my sermon for Sunday (I know I am not supposed to do that on my day off but I couldn't rest properly until it was tweeked!). I have also been looking at music hall videos on youtube. Whilst browsing I came across The Plank - I remember first watching this with my Dad a long long time ago and thinking it was genius. Since then I have used it a couple of times to explain a bit about how slapstick works as well as mime, music hall humour and character acting works. If you haven't ever seen it before then sit back and enjoy it for the first time, if you have (perhaps you were in one of my seminars!?) then have a plank moment and enjoy!
(it is in five parts...)

The Plank 1967 (original film) Eric Sykes and Tommy Cooper,Jimmy Edwards,Roy Castle,Jim Dale,Hattie Jacques,Stratford Johns,Graham Stark,Jimmy Tarbuck,Bill Oddie,John Junkin,Dermot Kelly,Libby Morris,Rex Garner,Dave Freeman,Johnny Speight,Joan Young,Clovissa Newcombe,Anna Carterett,Kenny Lynch,Barney Gilbraith,Howard Douglas,Thomas Gallagher,Tricia De Dulin,Ian Wilson,Ronnie Brody and Dennis Golding.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

my office

This is the view from my macbook of my office...I still have a bit of sorting to do! My bible commentaries are not in order and if you asked me for a book on emerging church I just simply wouldn't know where to start to find one. But, that will come all in good time. Today I worked on putting up door hangers for my "special clothes" and putting stuff in draws and the filing cabinet - very good work!

eco guitar

Check out the simon lee eco-guitar! Makes me wish I was in a rock/pop band.

You can check out even more fantastic eco/ethical consumer goods at the ethical superstore. It is genius!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

it's wednesday already

...where has the time gone?

I have a short break between the afternoon bible/house group and a funeral visit to have a cup of tea and some maltesers so I am not going to write much (sorry about that).

I have had a busy day - spent the first part of the morning with Henry theologically reflecting on the last week and discussing hot topics of the day (so hot that they can't be repeated here! Intrigued? Well, hard luck!). I then went off to Radio Merseyside to record a little piece for the radio. The religious producer Wayne Clarke is doing series about vocations and has interviewed a number of us who were recently ordained Anglican deacons as well as a catholic deacon. The series will run over the summer on the Sunday morning show (so I can't hear it live but I think they have the weekly listen again facility which can also be accessed nationally on-line) so I will let you know when I am on!

I had better go and drink my

Monday, July 14, 2008

sunday sunday

Yesterday was Sunday and contrary to popular belief it is not the only day that I work - but it is the most concentrated working day, in that everything focuses on church. I am not sure I have had a typical Sunday yet but I will talk you through yesterday:

7.30am woke up (as usual)

8.30am woke up again (Eva hadn't properly woken up so I fell asleep again)

9am got up

there is a gap here where time is variously spent on these things: eating, praying, panicking about my sermon, choosing which clergy shirt to wear (does my bum look big in this? etc), fretting about the washing, bossing the family about, finding keys, finding sunglasses, finding bags, making a list, getting the cake ready (I took the cake I made for ordination to church for finishing), finding the keys (again) walking the 15 steps to church.

10.30am arrive in church - today I was at St John Chrysostom (hence the short walk). I was greeted with much warmth and excitement. I handed over my cake to Nell who was on kitchen duty and then prepared for the service. On this occasion preparing for the service amounted to putting my careful prepared sermon, bible and notes =under the lectern, visiting Sunday school, praying with Henry and others in the vestry and making sure I had the appropriate books.

I am still getting used to the services in both churches - every church has it's own way of doing things and it can be quite confusing but I am starting to get the hand of the various new ways.

my sermon went ok (I think), everyone seemed to be with me on it - it is always hard to distinguish between your own agenda and what God might like to have said at any given moment. I guess you put the ideas out there and hope for discernment. My Romans 8 sermon threw out a number of ideas and I got some good feedback and comments. I also got good feedback for my porter cake - which went down very well! I am not sure which went down best - sermon or cake!?

I was home by 1pm - and due out again at 2.30pm so I had some lunch and a sit down (nearly fell asleep). Some of us from both churches went to the Cathedral for a service for the visiting Lambeth Bishops who have been staying in the diocese. It was a moving service. It was great to pray with and for them. I know Lambeth is going to be a challenging time but also hope it is an opportunity for Bishops to catch-up, relax and be edified by being in communion with each other!

I was back by 5.30pm and flaked out on the sofa! That was me pretty much done for the day. I did watch George Gently on BBC1 which was a reasonable way to end the day...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

music hall

I am just adding the final touches to my sermon...nearly there. I am sure I will have last minute nerves but the preparation stage is almost complete.

Today has been quite exciting. The long awaited trampoline is nearly assembled. I hope it doesn't go the way of the garden furniture - which was removed without consent on Wednesday (I got it back but there was an incident!). So, I know that prayer for the security of trampolines is not that conventional but it would be great if you get a moment! Eva is out there bouncing as I write - she has always wanted a trampoline so it very very happy. I might have a go shortly.

We spent the afternoon at the theatre - well actually it was an old warehouse on the dock road decked out as a theatre. The show was Smoke and Mirrors: a Cabaret for Liverpool. We got free tickets because we live in North Liverpool so the Loudon family took Henry Corbett (my boss) out for a jolly. It was very jolly actually, though the matinée was a bit of a struggle for the performers! As music hall is my second love (God and the church being my first - naturally!) I was intrigued by their interpretation of the style and content. From a performance point of view working in that style is tricky but I think they pulled it off (even if we, the audience, weren't helping them much). I loved the music and despite the fact that the story was quite dense I took my hat of to the sterling effort made to combine social commentary and entertainment.

Anyway, I off for a bounce.

Friday, July 11, 2008

3D journey to the centre of the earth

Today was my day off and I really needed a day off. But having had a jolly evening with Phil on Thurs I was feeling a bit jaded and really could have done with the day in bed. However, instead I spent 2 hours at the bank having a finacial healthcheck (it's not looking good!), had a lovely lunch with Gaby Malcolm who I hadn't seen for over a year and 1hr at the health centre having a family healthcheck (I am in need of a bit of an physical overhaul!). The day was topped off by a family trip to Fact to see 3D journey to the centre of the earth. This was Andrea's idea and Barry, Kim and Jess (aged 8) came too. The 3d glasses were fantastically geeky but loads of fun and the film - even though it's plot is a bit predictable - was great. Having got used the seeing in 3D there were plenty of shocks and thrills to keep the kids happy and Andrea screaming. I can recommend both Fact (for its comfort and cleanliness) and the film for it's fun factor.

I am absolutely shattered and really need to get to bed so I am off now. More culture tomorrow as we are off to a show with my boss Henry in the afternoon. We have a trampoline to put up in the morning (oh joy!).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

sermon - Romans 8

I have to write my sermon today - no really I have to write my sermon today! Nothing can come between me and the love of my sermon writing (a misquote from Romans 8.39)...However, we have the plumbers in fixing the thermostat (it will be good to be able to wash my hands without fear of scalding) and things are still a bit tense in the community which is laying heavy on my heart so I must engage in some careful praying at some point (which means it will not just be my general praying most of the time sort of praying). So, prayers for my praying would be appreciated!