Thursday, June 30, 2005

long drive home

So today the Methodist Conference due to a close. It's been good, though felt quite rushed, with some debates being rather hurried. In fact I was cut short myself when highlighting to conference how poor I thought the research on the 20-30s report was.

The most moving discussion was that around the Pilgramige of Faith topic. A collection of quotes on all aspects of human sexuality that had people sharing difficult stories publically. The whole atmosphere was very gracious and it was incredible to observe people with wildly differing views on the subject apologising for the hurt they may have caused those with opposing views. It was such a shame that the national press took this debate and claimed it as something which it was not. The Methodist church has in no way allowed the blessing of civil same sex ceremonies, rather it is one of a number of things the church feels requires further conversation. Particularly in light of human rights legislation etc.

The journey back was quite an ordeal, taking 3 hours to do a 45min stretch as there was an accident on the M5. We came to a complete stand still and I was becoming quite frustrated as there were no viable alternatives to get out of devon! In the end I started to read some Harry Potter whilst waiting for the roads to clear.

Took me 7 hours to get to my parents!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

World Church evening

Again a short blog due to time restraints, there's a huge queue for the computers. Last night I went to the world church event that was set out in a kind of speed dating manner. Small tables with a collection of chairs on which was sat one member of the world church who would share some stories before moving to another table, each change over greeted by songs from around the world. An inspirational time, the best thing I heard: A representative from the methodist church in cuba who informed us that 70% of the church was under the age of 30, why? The answer given was prayer, they open the church for prayer at 5am every day for prayer before work and then on fridays hold a prayer meeting from 10pm to around 1-2am which is attended by over 100 ppl.

Today business continues, we managed to change the report on what kind of bishops that will come to circuits to have a further option of "none of the above" for us to choose from. The Sheffield district with help from others were able to put forward a motion on treatment of assylum seekers that also raised again the issue I mentioned a few days ago. Hopefully this motion will result in a better support from the church to assylum seekers. More later

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Pray without ceasing

This initiative was launched this morning with prayers written in the sand on the beach at Torquay. And was passed with a standing vote this afternoon. I'm really excite about it, and just today I was engaged in a conversation with an old friend who is now serving in Newcastle. He mentioned how he'd been involved in a 24 hour prayer event in response to last years resolution and how it had been of benefit to those who took part. I hope this is one of many stories as people learn to pray in new and engaging ways and to spending time with God, which is often a rarity in todays hectic lifestyles.

On another note I was helping some youth exec friends publisise their fringe event entitled "Gagged by church structures" I had my mouth gagged with tape and stood silently holding a sign promoting the event - I was then noticed by the photographer of the methodist recorder who wanted to take a photo - so perhaps fame beckons?!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Methodist Conference


I've remembered my password and username, which is great cos it means that I can keep you posted of events at methodist conference. The journey down on Friday was long and uneventful, and all this after a job interview in the orning resulted in quite a tiring experience. I happened to arrive at the hotel at about the same time as Roz, being immediately invited to go for a meal with her and her family. Great to catch up with friends over a meal and engage in genuine conversation from people who care, despite seeing each other infrequently. As far as conference business and worship goes, there is little to report that sticks out at the moment. Yesterday I headed to Plymouth for the ordination of Sue Griffiths, a probationer in my circuit. it was great o be able to offer support at such a significant occasion through my presence. The service was formal, as expected, and included quite a lot of standing up and sitting down at various points. However, it was the few moments after each ordinand had had hands laid upon them that they all stood and turned to face the congregation that was supporting them. I got a real sense that here they were ready to serve us and God and to begin the lifelong journey and vocation of ordained ministry.

Anyway, a queue is developing to use these limited computer facilities, so i shall move over. I'll write some more later....

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Another day

I've been too busy to post recently, been doing lots of things. One of which is preparing a presentation to bring to church council regarding our bid to redevelop a property and make it into a chruch/cafe. Anyway, got back from work, after picking car up from the garage and I was dripping with sweat. It's still hot!! Took a quick shower and then finished this presentation to take to a meeting to night, it was only 48k so thought I'd drop it onto a floppy disk. Rooted around in my drawers and found one, haven't used one in ages. Turned out to be a mistake, cos the file wouldn't load on my david's laptop at the meeting. An hours work wasted - still it should come in for the church council meeting. The property group meeting was fairly positive and I came away a good deal happier - it's still a tough project that is going to require a great deal of faith. Only one day left at work, then I'll be at methodist conf - wish I could post whilst there, but don't want to have the bother of paying at an internet cafe or whatever.

I'd like to come back and work at the childrens fund when I come back from conference, I shall enquire.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Still roasting

How hot is it!!??

Church was alright this morning, despite it being jenny carpenter speaking. She had some intresting stories to tell - just too many of them. Cos there weren't many ppl around this morning it was quite hectic for settin up and clearing away, as well as fetching Margorie and Francis from the home. Worked up quite a sweat! Margorie was funny this morning, describing a meal she had been to recently: I had a poppodom - i think they're called - it was all crinkly and filled the whole of my plate. I gave it to my son-in-law.

Went to visit m+d for lunch and helped my dad set up his new computer.

Just finished looking over the re-development plans with Alan, who was able to shed some really useful feedback. I can see a hectic week approching...

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Stannington Brass Band

Just been to see them play at Stanninton Methodist church as part of the events that have been planned to say farewell to Bryce Fletcher, the Deacon there. Went really to show some support to Bryce, and I do enjoy a bit of Brass music, was a bit shocked to find I had to pay to enter! If I'd've known I'd have stayed at home. The music was pretty good, and sounded incredibly loud in the fairly small venue. It was funny watching all the old dears jump out of their skin when it started up. There was some piano solos as well, not my cup of tea, minutes of plinky plonky stuff. No disrespect to the pianist though, who was pretty good, just didn't play tunes I like.

Went on a bit too long too, wish I'd left at the interval, cos the brass band only played some Disney pap and the theme tune to Groundforce after that.

It's absolutely roasting.

Hardly slept at all last night cos it was so sticky, hot and humid. Least I got a bit of sleep this afternoon. Not much work at the construction site so the afternoon was free for reading and sleeping in the garden.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Rice Meal

At the moment the finance ministers from the G8 countries are meeting in Sheffield and this evening they were having an exclusive meal at the Cutlers Hall. They were also invited to another meal, one in Devonshire Green where they could join hundreds of people sharing a meal of rice. A simple meal, that constitutes the staple for a large proportion of the world's population. I thought it was a great idea and went along with some friends from church and work. It wa a great event, loads of people sharing in a meal in order to raise awareness of the Make Poverty history campaign. There were several speakers, by far the best was Inderjit Bhogal, who again raised really valid points (rather than spouting pop stars he'd seen, like the first speaker). Reminding us that even the simple meal we had shared today was more than a lot of people would eat today, and for that reason many people would die, and it's not by handing out charity that will solve the problem, but campaigning for a fairer world that enables there to be sufficient for all.
There were loads of police around, and despite it being peaceful, their presence really does leave a feeling of unease. Was going to take my camera so I could share some photos of the event - but I forgot!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Methodist Conference

Had a meeting today with most of the delegates from the Sheffield district, including some ordinands too. It was interesting to hear what people had to say about the agenda, and I must confess I've hardly read any of it, I've been far too busy. And it's hardly good bed time reading. It seems that most people have concerns over the oversight report, which is good, cos I think it's ridiculous. There are so many issues the church should be debating and discussing rather than bishops and stuff, that to the majority of people is completely irrelevent.

We talked about making a notice of motion to raise the plight of asylum seekers in this country and the disgraceful way they are treated by the system. There was an incident involving some members at a church in Doncaster that I really feel needs to be highlighted at conference. Here's a bit of background:

The particular matter which both concerns and appals us is that at approximately 7am yesterday morning (16 February) the XXXX house was, without any warning, entered by people apparently acting on Home Office instructions. The people concerned had a key, but the door chain was in place. They therefore literally broke into the house, woke the family up, and took them off in a van to the Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre near Bedford. We understand that 7 men and 3 women took part in this intrusion. Can you imagine what a devastating effect such action had on this family, particularly on vulnerable young children? It may not be too strong to say that this action amounted to a form of child abuse, and I have no doubt that the nightmare of strange people breaking into their house and taking them away in a van will continue to have serious psychological effects on these children for many years, if not for life.

What possible justification can be given for this action? The family have lived at this address for over two years. They have been exemplary, law abiding citizens. They have settled well into the local community in every way. They are very happy in Doncaster. There was absolutely no reason for anyone to think that they would suddenly leave the area. To break into their house is simply inexcusable. This family have suffered terribly in their home country, and in 2002 felt compelled to leave home, family and friends, in fear of their lives, to seek asylum in this so-called civilised country. They genuinely fear for their lives should they be forced to return to their country of origin. How can we claim to be a just and caring society when we allow this sort of thing to happen? This family were already in a state of great anxiety and under enormous stress. This action has only made things far worse for them.

Hopefully we can get some kind of action from the church on these kind of attrocities that are happening right across the country.


It's been a great few weeks for music, some cracking albums have been released. Cos I'm not too flush with cash at the moment I've decided to postpone a hair cut in order to purchase some albums today. So I'm currently listening to these two excellent cds:

Sunday, June 12, 2005


Was really busy over the weekend, from working at construction site to preparing minutes for church council to applying for jobs. Exhausting.

Sunday evening we made a start on getting some resources together for the 24 hour prayer event, doing some painting of sheets. It was a bit disatsterous to be honest - but we had a good laugh.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Sharing food

Had a good day at work, been busy doing all kinds of stuff. It's a nice place to work now I've finally go the hang of what I'm supposed to be doing. Being listening to some of the new Magic Numbers album (i know it's not out yet - but that's another story) Look out for it on Monday.

Went to a service tonight at Victoria hall which was hosting various workshops around Make Poverty History and I went along to one hosted by Inderjit Bhogal. He is a very intersting man to listen too, there are many things i don't share with him theologically, but e has really made me think and challenged me in the past with some of his teaching. When it comes to issues of justice there are few better informed people than him. Some things hit hard, some people, he said, complain that it's not worth giving aid to Africa because their leaders are corrupt. The biggest corruption, is not the leaders, but the fact that parents have to watch their children die, because they can't give them enough food. Or for children watching their parents die, through lack of food.

He talked of Jesus' vision of a kingdom where all people sat/reclined at a heavenly banquet where there is sufficient for all. Where people gather from all nations, from the north, south, east and west. The challenge, when you take Eucharist that small bit of bread and sip of drink is all that some people will eat that day. Why don't we make a time where we share a meal in a kingdom of God manner, where all are invited. And where to do this, outside in a park, at your house, at your church. Who do you invite? There was more, and it's certainly raised some ideas in my mind.

Almost famous

Volunteered to help out at a function on Thursday morning. It was the launch of the 0-19+ partnership in Sheffield which intends to ensure that the various agencies communicate in such a way that children and young people who are being abused don't fall through the net, as was the case for Victoria Climbie. An intersting venture. Anyway, they needed someone to help set up a projector and stuff for this breakfast meeting and I don't mind getting up early and said I'd help out. Fairly straight forward set up, loaded the presentation for the top bod and pressed B for a blank screen. You need to press B to start your presentation I told him, took him about 20s to find the B key!
After the presentation they opened the floor to questions and no-one was taking the opportunity, so i had a few questions that had come to mind during the talk. They asked for my name and the agency I represented, had to do some quick thinking, cos I could hardly say - oh I just came to set up the powerpoint!
All members had a copy of this publicity document, and the photographer from the Sheffield Star wanted the top bods to pose for a photo with their documents. Meanwhile I was turning the projector off and shutting down the computer and had put my document down. When I went to pick it up again I noticed it had been swiped by the speaker. Come the afternoon i picked up a copy of the star for the jobs and there was my publicity pack in the arms of some bloke. That was mine I thought, almost famous.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Spare 150k anyone?

Just been doing the sums for our proposed vision for a new building to meet for worship. Cafe chruch, post modern church, a place, a space, and time to meet God. But we don't have the funds. Thing is we can't raise the funds, cos we need a project for people to be willing to fund. And in order to have a project we need to purchase a building. And to purchase the building we need to have a plans to redevelop in order to get the money the Methodist church has, that we gained from sale of old building, plus to acquire change of usage from council. See the predicament. Do we scrap the whole idea. Or plough on, hoping that the church will agree a project that will have such a great short fall, believing that God will provide in some way.

There are a few other options, but they entail years of fund raising and sitting with an empty building - not my idea of fun, plus I can't guarentee I'll be around in a few years anyway.


in fact can't really articulate the problems and frustrations that this has arose (in some ways it is good, I never think God gives you anything easily - he really wants to see that faith) But it makes everything so much harder.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Blimey Charlie!

Busy evening, community centre meeting from 6:30 til 8:30, had to leave early to go and see Andrew C about finances for church and this property we want to buy. My head's spinning. It's certainly not straight forward - thing is we have quite a bit of money from the sale of our old building, but we have to get back levies that were taken by the methodist church. Which requires more form filling

it's just a nightmare.

Think I'll have a beer and go to bed. Ring property bods at manchester in the morning and hopefully progress the form filling


New album out today, purchased it from tesco on way home from work (which I'm quite enjoying now, shame it's only another few days). Not really had time to listen to it yet though, only first 6 tracks, but Fix You is absolutely stunning. I love that tune. And I love the way that on a number of Coldplay tracks they have guitar riffs of just one or two notes like on this track. It just works so well.

Sin City

Went to see this film over the weekend. Interesting, not a gripping plot really, but very interesting cinematically. Based on a graphic novel, every time I think about the film, in my head it's more like a graphic novel then a film, like a series of static pictures rather than moving stuff. So in that respect it's really good. Visually stunning, very dark, and I probably wouldn't bother seeing it again. Not as good as Tarantino in my opinion, but then I'm not familiar at all with the Frank Miller novels. Worth seeing...

Thursday, June 02, 2005

It's getting better

My job that is, beginning to get a better feel for what I'm supposed to be doing.

Last night had a meeting about a 24 hour prayer that we're planning for the circuit. I was getting quite excited by the end of the meeting, I could see the thing taking place in my minds eye, and it was looking pretty special. Just hope that we can get people involved from around the circuit who haven't previously done any 24:7 style prayer, and that they can be envisioned to take the idea for their own church. Ideally I'd love to see all the churches in the circuit taking part in the methodist year of prayer next year.