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!