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!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

If you can't think of anything positive to say then don't say anything at all...

I know that this is very important so I am not going to winge but I would really value your prayers for the protection of our house and probably more importantly that the causes of crime, deprivation and poverty are dealt with and that young people are given a vision of hope and not despair. If you have a bit of money spare then please give generously to the NSPPC.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Today I was at the first post ordination training day finding out about what further supporting and training is on offer for me now I have started my curacy. To be honest it is quite impressive - much more input at a diocese level than I had expected and given the fact that the group of us who were ordained 10 days ago (was it really only 10 days ago!) are such great people to be with and train alongside I think it is going to be fun as well.

I also went to see an old friend who works at Hope Everton lecturing in the drama dept there. Margaret and I used to teach together at Edge Hill . It was great to catch up and think about how we might do some bits and bobs together.

I have one more parish thing to do - at 7.30 I am off to a care home to take part in a service with Henry and some of the members of St John Chrysostom church. I am shattered but I am loving this job!

Monday, July 7, 2008


We put the dishwasher on this morning (yes, we have a dishwasher - my mum bought it for us as an ordination present, she said that we couldn't live in a vicarage without a dishwasher! I did point out that it didn't appear to be a clerical essential but she was having none of that...I gave in in the end). Anyway, I put the dishwasher on this morning and it vomited up all the dirty water onto the kitchen floor! Oh joy. It seems a small thing under the sink had wobbled free and from a small thing lots of yacky water flowed (I am sure Jesus would have told a story about this sort of thing being like not founding your faith on solid ground or something like that). So, I was supposed to be writing a sermon on Romans 8 and instead I was phoning clergy housing and wiping up water. I wonder if this story will be of any interest to the congregation on Sunday!? I suspect not. Looks like I will have to find another time to catch up with Paul.

I am off to meet the diocesan media officer and attend the Shewsy AGM. So, I'd better get a move on.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

first sunday

Well, today has been my first proper Sunday in Everton as a rev...and it has been great. I am very tired and my poor old brain is fried with names, events, traditions, directions, readings, prayers and lots of other new stuff - But, I was expecting all that so that's all fine. I will sleep well tonight particularly as Mark is home and I don't have to get up early to take Eva to school.

The first of three services today was a baptism, which after the wedding that took place at St Peter's yesterday was a great way to meet a load of very well dressed people who live in the parish. Everyone was in their finery for both services and the church looked great. Welcoming in a small child into the church family is always a pleasure particularly when the parents are able to come to the vows with such clarity and down to earth commitment to church, God and their child. I had the privilege of leading the prayers - my first intercessions as a curate!

Eva has had to follow me around all day and she has been very very good. I am proud of her resilience. We had a great lunch then at 4.30pm we went to St John Chrysostom for their evening communion followed by the 6.30pm communion at St Peter's. I returned home at 8.30pm very hungry and grateful that rain had suspended play at Wimbledon and I got to see the last set of the mens final. They might have had a miserable day trying to dodge the rain but it was great for me to catch it live as I ate my chicken and avocado sandwich. I must get an early night as I have a sermon to start to write tomorrow - Romans 8...and looking at my diary for the next week I will be needing every minute I can get tomorrow!

Friday, July 4, 2008

3rd from the left

This is a picture featured in the Church Times (if you click on it it will get bigger). I think it was taken immediately after the actual ordination moment. We have our bibles in our hand. I am on the 3rd from the left.

tea with the bishop

Despite the fact that today was my day off I broke up my lying around watching the tennis by having tea with the Bishop of Warrington, the Rt Rev David Jennings. I had been looking forward to his visit because he is such a pastorally sensitive man and easy to talk to. I was able to share some of the more difficult things about my first week (there are not many) as well as celebrate it. Also, he blessed the house - which was great. This house has a very positive vibe about it and you get a sense that it has seen a great deal of action. To have the Bishop bless it for us was very encouraging.

Mark has gone off to Bristol to take pictures at Olly and Hannah's wedding so Eva and I are looking after each other this weekend. It is going to be quite busy - a wedding at St Peter's tomorrow and 3 services on Sunday. The poor child will be take to all of these unless I can find an alternative - the life of a curate's daughter is a hard one.

Anyway, I think I had better go back to the tennis and more tea.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

first week

I have got half way through my first week as a Deacon and I am having a blast. I am not saying it is laugh a minute because it isn't but it is fantastic!

Today I went to see Sister June in Formby to have a pray and a chat. June is affectionately know as 'the healing nun' as she is an excellent healer (I know God does the healing! but you know what I mean?) - she uses bach flower remedies to promote self healing. Now, I haven't worked all this completely into my theology of healing but I have always found going to see June, praying and focusing on healing very useful. I have been to visiting June for about 8 years and her support is invaluable. June came to my ordination on Sunday and wanted to have a chat about a few things (she is concerned that I get enough space to myself, say no when I need to and look after myself). I accept all June's advice even if I am unable to take it!

Having made the journey to Formby it was rude not to stop into Waitrose for Key Lime Pie (not on June's list of advice), I will be enjoying a slice soon!

In other news...I found out be theology degree results today. I got a 2:1...and I am made up! After all that stress - particularly over the exam - it seems a bit of an anti-climax. I can't believe that I am not dancing in the streets of Everton but it doesn't seem all that important any more. I am sure it will come in useful. In fact I am going to be preaching on Romans 8 in a couple weeks so I will be grateful for Steve Finemore and his exacting exegesis bootcamp. Perhaps later I will allow myself to celebrate with a glass of wine and a few nibbles. Yes, I think I will!