Congregational assumptions

I think I have identified two different assumptions that are consciously or subconsciously made by congregations about the work of members of the ministry team.

Assumption 1. The Vicar is very busy and working EXTREMELY hard (even if they aren’t)
Assumption 2. The Youth worker is not busy and not working hard (even if they are)

Interesting how people’s perceptions of a role or person work!
(Please no irate disgruntlement from clergy …. I’d be the first to recognize the HUGE demands and high workload that the ordained role carries with it)

Germs and Faith

I was due to be doing the preach at my home church family service this morning and wading into the Red Sea, or at least the text of the parting thereof.
All well and good until the Rector e-mailed to say that he’d been absent and we didn’t have anyone who looked remotely like a worship leader … or in fact any musicians! Given that I have a total dearth of any musical ability, this presented a not insignificant challenge!
I e-mailed the Rector something like, “aarrrrrrrghghgh???” and he agreed that we would have to abandon the idea of a proper 11am service and plump instead for an extended coffee time!
“Phew!” I thought and barely registered the fact that he had said, that I could then do something different if I wanted!
Idly checking the Church web page, I discovered this:
time to party.jpg
No pressure then! (Cue minor panic from me)
Anyway to cut a long story short (very unlike me I know), after coffee there was an open invitation to the upper-hall and we had a kind of all-age informal exploration of ‘FAITH’ based around the reading from Exodus 14. We did some interactive stuff, shared some stories and thankfully everyone was really up for a messy, informal, communal exploration of faith.
At one point everyone made pipe-cleaner models of something that illustrated faith as a conversation and thinky type ice-breaker. I asked various people what they had made and why! I asked one young boy what he had made and he held up a random shape and said it was a germ! I nervously asked, ‘why?’ and he said, ‘germs exist but you can’t see them and you can’t see faith either!’ …… Genius!

Interestingly my youngest lad made a fish as he explained “because they eat fish in heaven!” ….. we have yet to fully explore the theology of this 🙂

Mama Mia

Cracking evening out last night! I went to see Mama Mia at the cinema and absolutely loved it. It was a feel good, laugh out loud, sing along masterpiece of stunning cinematography and choreography ……. a kind of High School Musical for Adults (in a good way!)
mamma mia banner.jpg
A wonderful piece of cheesy life-affirming musical humour, and unusually for me, I want to go and see it again!
Oh yes: I can dance, I can sing. dig, I’m the dancing blogger

Camping trip

combitent.jpgGiven that our holiday didn’t happen we were very excited to be heading out on Saturday for an overnight camping trip in the Cotswolds. This was also our first chance to try out an old trailer tent that we’d recently and cheaply acquired for just £50!
What a weekend to be camping though! The rain appeared in every guise in its repertoire and we were completely, utterly and bewilderingly soaked, with the tent awning giving up even aspirations of rain resistance.
A Summer camping trip??
As it happened it was more like (and feel free to groan here):
The winter of our discount-tent!*
(*with apologies to Shakespeare and Steinbeck)

A generation under stress?

A generation under stress.gif
“Many teenage girls see self-harm as normal behaviour, according to research from Girlguiding UK and the Mental Health Foundation. The report – A generation under stress? – found girls aged 10-15 felt under pressure to grow up before they felt ready”
This is definitely on my reading list!

A grief observed

Summer this year has been a strange affair and unlike our planned trans-Europe odyssey, involved a lot less physical travelling, It was (and is) instead a major emotional journey.
My mum had been ill for a number of weeks with a virus, but a week before the holidays was hospitalised. It became apparent that her condition was much more serious than originally diagnosed, with Lymphoma as the prime suspect. We cancelled our holiday and were up and down to the hospital in Birmingham while the Doctors ran tests as mum’s condition worsened. We spent the Thursday and Friday up at the hospital and at last had some good news that the type of Lymphoma had been identified and they could begin Chemotherapy the next day. The Consultant was cautious but optimistic that mum was treatable and we returned to Newbury in a much more positive frame of mind.
However at half past six the next morning a phone call came that changed everything, I was needed at the hospital immediately. I arrived at my mother’s bed side two hours later to join my sister and dad, fifteen minutes after she had passed away.
It’s been a tough few weeks. I’m back at work now reflecting on all that has happened and adjusting to the fact that I no longer have a mum.
Grief is a strange companion! it feels like it has a life of its own, it comes and goes seemingly at random. Sometimes it’s strikingly present and sometimes it is bizarrely absent, there is no intermediate stage it appears, but when it does visit it is overwhelmingly tangible.
But there has been good stuff too. Discovering how many lives were touched by my mum, the huge turnout to the funeral, the kindness of both friends and strangers. I also found that writing the Eulogy in a friends house over a dram or three of Glenkinchie was a cathartic and healing experience!
Those of you who knew, thank you so much for your prayers, thoughts and good wishes.

Mobile shed

As both of the regular youthblog readers are away on the Isle of Wight at the moment (completely independently I should add) I am disinclined to pen much. But in case anyone stumbled blindly onto the site looking for ‘Transvison Vamp’ or information on Ecclesiology in a post Christendom paradigm, then here at least by way of compensation for the lack of useful stuff, is something that made me smile:
You can’t have your cake and eat it, they say
BUT you can, it appears, have your shed and drive it!