Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve

I'm sat in my living on the sofa trying not to fall a sleep and hoping the bug I've had all week will behave and it's only 18:30 at 22:00 I need to be at church to run through the service tonight for the first time I've been asked to act as deacon for the watch night service at the Anglican church.. Scary very.

But while I ate my supper I picked up a copy of the big issue that I by from a friend. I saw her today and found that it is her birthday tomorrow. 

One of the articles in this addition is a letter to santa written by the founder of the big issue John Bird he opens his letter 
Dear Santa
I am going to be greedy this year. Not content with a few bags of sweets and socks and hankies.I want big stuff in my stocking please.
Big stuff big Issues!!  as Christians are we willing am I willing to ask big things of God to step out with big requests expecting for them to be answered. What are the things that make us burn with righteous anger in our communities. To see the need and ask God to move and to go further and be the answer to that prayer. Are we content this year with staying where we are with God or moving deeper into Him deeper into that personal relationship He calls us into, or instead will we stay content with ''sweets and socks and hankies'' the choice is there for each of us.

What is the big stuff? 

for John Bird 
''I would like a big box of CLARITY. Followed by some LEADERSHIP. And then, you can never get enough UNDERSTANDING. I suppose the other big want, and I hope you are in a generous mood, is SOLIDARITY.''
What would I write

I would like UNDERSTANDING that we could have that empathy and concern for another even when it's hard for us.. To HEAR and LISTEN to each other and what the other is saying rather than what we would like to hear. That each of us would be JESUS with SKIN on to all we meet.

I'm not going to say the rest of the article to do that would ruining the ethos of the big issue if you want to read it go by it from a vendor or get a back issue.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Eat,Drink, Sleep..

Thats a bit different to how the saying is normally to be found  eat drink and be merry ...........

At the moment I'm trying along with a friend to read Beginnings and Endings daily readings from the start of advent to epiphany... I've not been doing all that well with it to be honest. It's not the format I'm used to that a bible passage to read and a reflection on it then time for my own reflection. Nor that it follows a theme for a couple of days then changes that I can cope with too.. So what is it ... to be honest I'm not all that sure.. but it is challenging..  Let me share with you the reading for December 12th 1kings 19:1-9  The reflection Eat,Drink, Sleep.. the prophet had challenged the people of His day to take God seriously God showed up in fire on the mountain then.  and now he's  despondent alone in the desert...  the answer from God was providing  food...water..... rest. the next part of the story is that again he finds himself on a mountain but this time God isn't in the fire but in the still small voice 

at the end of the days thought is this 
Life out of kilter? Need to find God afresh? Eat, Drink, Sleep. Don't forget that you are a body as well as a soul. The still, small voice is hard to hear when your body is exhausted and you are sleep-deprived. Increase your chances of hearing that voice by looking after yourself - body and soul.
maybe thats what the ouch was in reading these last few days and why its taken since dec 12th to write the post..

we may turn our noses up at the five-a-day healthy eating option and eight hours sleep but there may just be something in 5&8

On Friday (31st Dec)  New Years Eve many of us will make a new years resolution, things we plan to do or change for the coming year  I have already been asked this week if I have one.

How about the challenge that this year it's a 5&8 year  Increase your chances of hearing that voice by looking after yourself - body and soul.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Lion Saves

I have a friend staying with me for the weekend so after a very late start to the day we took a walk along the Albert Embankment toward vauxhall bridge. I've taken this route a few times normally when walking my adopted fore-legged friend. Today though i chose to walk this way to avoid the slushy black mush that was being thrown up onto the pavement by the passing traffic there is nothing worse than when the snow becomes mush. 

Like it or love it the snow makes the place look so different... As we walked I spotted the lions that decorate part of the river wall with snow on them. So went to take a closer shot what i found made me smile. You can just see in the picture above that the lions have rings in their mouths. 

the one on the left though was what caught my eye and imagination instead of the stone ring like it's neighbour this lion has in its mouth one of the buoy's you normally find for rescue.. gripping it firmly in its teeth..
I wonder what was going through the mind of the one who placed it there.. had it been washed up on the slipway with the drift wood and other lost or cast off items. Did it just seem like a fun thing to do. I don't know it doesn't really matter. What I saw as I looked on was  

The Lion that Saves.. 

Jesus is referred to as the Lion of Judah. 

In the chronicles of Narnia C.S.Lewis uses this imagery with Aslan the lion who gives his life to save.

The week we come to the final week of advent as we think about Christ and His incarnation Jesus being born as a child, Emmanuel God is with us , the plan of God to save mankind to draw each of us back to himself.

That great act of salvation remembered at easter in His death and resurrection. Talking about the cross at christmas seems strange well maybe not as strange as you may think. 
Three gifts were given to Jesus by the Magi Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. the significance of these gifts gold it's a gift fit for royalty He is King,frankincense Ancient people burned frankincense, believing it to carry their prayers to heaven. Its use as incense illustrates His role as our PriestMyrrh was used in incense, perfumes and holy ointments and also medicinally. The most notable use for myrrh was for  embalming, and was used in Egyptian mummies. As an embalming ointment it signified that He was born to Die for the world., Myrrh is mentioned as one of the burial spices of Jesus (John 19:39).

So from the very gift brought those of the Magi the recognition of who the small child was and was to become.

who is He to you at this time...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Carols from Central

I love Westminster Central Hall... It's not as pretty as the buildings across the road... not as elegant... nor in many ways does it enjoy the prestige that Westminster Abbey and Cathedral see.. The Abbey will host a royal wedding early next year...

But central has something about it... there's always a warm welcome... until recently I had only been there once for a service in 2008 during a mission placement in Whitechaple. Yet the sunday I went one of the stewards welcomed me that said he recognised me it turned out I had spoken to him one coffee break that spring while he was on retreat at cliff... this summer I went back a year later and there was the same steward again with a warm greeting of a old friend... things like that matter.. yet this welcome went out to all those who came through the door and each was spoken to with a greeting that would have been said at least a hundred times but with a individual touch...

Tonight was no different... 

I was there for the traditional Carol Service which was truly wonderful to see the great hall full and the sound of not 'o for a thousand' but over two thousand tongues to sing was to give a glimpse of heaven on earth of what it will be like to sing before the throne of God. Do I pay too much of a compliment that's not like me..

The service was recorded and will be transmitted at 1pm GMT Christmas day on Premier Radio

The sermon was by Rev Martin Turner he spoke about 'what does it matter' what does it matter about the state of our community when I can close the door and hide... what does it matter about my life when so many think that about themselves... the spinoff from that the Am I bovvered? to use the phrase of Lauren when deep down that's actually where she is hurting that she's not been invited hurting that no one notices.. what does it matter if the Son of God came if He makes no difference in our lives, what does it matter if angles sing yet the song of heaven doesn't reverberate within our souls... 

the close of the service was to send to send shivers down the spine as the lights dimmed and a flame was past one to the other.. I was sat between two strangers I was past a flame to light my candle from their's.. then it was past from  mine to my neighbours.. strangers yet together....

Friday, December 10, 2010

3 in 1

That not the oil for my bike.... 

but the time zone I have been in in one afternoon... Finland    +2hrs
                                                                                          Denmark +1hrs
then finally back in London and back to GMT+0 

was a long day of travelling but like many on the flight we were glad to be on a plane that was going to fly...  so rather than my normal route of Turku - Helsinki - London and time wandering around the shops I was upset not to fly via Helsinki I was eyeing up a Raindeer skin so maybe it's a good thing that Helsinki was out.

so as with other trips this was out the window at Copenhagen 

The colours from this don't really show through but they were great.......

back in London things didn't go quiet as they should... we had to wait to be let off the plane for a while... grrrr

but back now after a trip to tesco ( I nearly wrote prisma lol) I have supper... 

now it's off to bed..... 

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


Right now I should be somewhere above Finland on my way back to London...Rather I'm sat with Glögi and Pepparkakor on my friends sofa. 

This is the first time that I've ever been stuck anywhere. For the past week Finnair have been on strike. So now I have a ticket for Friday evening and hope that a arrangement can be made so I can fly. 

Earlier this year I had two guests stay with me, they were stuck in London due to the volcano that erupted in Iceland they were with me a week. 

they joked on sunday that we seem to get tuck in each others countries.... 

my friend already has a house full of 'waifs and strays' plus hubby and daughter oh and the three doggies. Yeah it's tough at times.

but here is a feeling of home.... a welcome.... a place to lay a head.... to be warm..... 

Hospitality is a gift that often goes unnoticed... but its one that my friend has in abundance even when tired... 

I'm thankful that even when plans are thrown out that here is always a welcome..

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Greeting from the frozen north

I'm on my travels again :)

I'm in a and of snow where the country doesn't come to a standstill and everything carries on as normal when the fluffy rain comes. ok maybe not all one school yesterday did close as it was too cold the heating wasn't working and it was about 10c in the classes. 

outside it was almost -20 most of the day though my friends doggies din't mind too much and enjoyed their walk and rolling in the snow.

the evening was great it was my friend and fellow bloggers birthday and we went out for pizza at Dennis's in turku ( made even more famous by the fact that the Beckham's ordered takeout while david was here having a op in the summer you can even order the same pizza the 71. BECKHAM SPECIAL ham, fresh tomatoes and fresh basil) I had to go for one pizza that you wont find in the local pizza shop MAAHINEN and it was great ( go and look it up :) ) 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

out and about

I've been a bit under the weather the last couple of days, and hoping and very much praying my voice lasts the weekend as I'm preaching...

But today I got to escape as I had a visitor for the day :)... and we went into london.. Piccadilly Circus, regents street and oxford street yup on a saturday and this close to christmas it was nice though even with all the people.. though I did get told off by my visitor for the mole, hamster and duck step impressions when people got in the way... 

the lights are up and a Narnia theme this year yay ( hoping to go see it next week when I visit my friend in finland hint hint) 

At Hamley's the biggest toy shop we came home with a new friend.. A beanie boo

Born May 11th 

and called waddle 
I love penguins there great always psychotic love the one in the film madagascar 

the christmas tree was a treat too

 And the window display bears carol singing :)

A nice day :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Around 2000 years ago, the Emperor Augustus announced a census and called everyone to return to their towns of birth to register and respond. Now, on social media sites, the Natwivity (an up-to-date Nativity play) has announced it’s very own… could this be Emperor Augustwus?!
Tweeters and Facebook users can respond by and copying and pasting the details to update their status.
Please feel free to blog, tweet or press this news.

or follow the link on the blog... get the daily updates and messages as we journey together 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Jack Frost

Today I woke to a carpet of frost and clear blue sky... giving my patch a very different view to normal... Though there was very little else that I could see due to the fog...  The heating went on as well it's been on a few times recently but today it was on for 3 hrs.  Even put the liner back inside my coat......

Today the patch looked different for another reason...

for sometime about 10 yrs I've had a nagging to candidate as a Ordained Minister in the Methodist Church. To go before the Church last night was one of the scariest moments I've been through.. many of my friends and family have known for sometime that this was what I was thinking praying through.. to have what I've felt on my heart for this time now to before openly examined to begin that being discerned  by the church is a scary place to be... 

Today I woke to the first part of this discernment within the local church taking place and the church giving me there blessing to continue. Sometime in February I'll go to meet with the district candidates committee and the process willl continue.. before then I need to get my portfolio complete and sent in in triplicate ( have to admit that makes me smile all I can think of with that is Klinger off the tv series M.A.S.H moaning about things being in triplicate for the army)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

We will remember

All Fell silent to day at Westminster and  along Whitehall as the sound of 11am rang out from Big Ben as the act of remembrance took place ... It is a awesome experience standing at what is a very busy junction for tourists and locals alike. 

Remembering those who hold the Burma Star this one means a lot as my grandfather served and was awarded the burma star and atlantic star

Row upon Row of little crosses each with a single poppy lay in remembrance of fallen comrades, brothers, fathers,Uncles, sisters, mothers....  Some  from many years ago some from just a few days lay in the grounds of the Abbey ... 

That we stop this day to remember is a poinient time.. to forget what has happen would be far worse than many of the things that take place.. when we forget our history when we forget these horrific events WWI was the war to end wars when a million men died in a few short hours. the events of WWII, the atrocities around the world that continue today... Yes that 11-11-11 was the signing of the armistice which ended WWI today it is also a time remember those killed across the generations and time.. of friend and of foe... today there was a patch of ground marked for other nations there were crosses for german russian Italian.

Duke of Edinburgh Leaving the Abbey 

Whatever we feel are the rights and wrongs of past and present conflicts no-one truly wins in war let us remember lest we repeat history 

Monday, November 08, 2010

Saints and Soldiers

I Got the dvd of this yesterday and watched it last night it wasn't what I expected...

The film is based on actual WWII events, the film tells the story of five of Allied soldiers ( four americans and a british pilot ) trapped behind enemy lines with information that could save thousands of allied lives. they try to make their way back to their own lines. saints and Soldiers is set  In mid-December 1944, as Hitler's Army makes it's way through the Ardennes Forest in Belgium, ithe starting of a offensive that will come to be known as the Battle of the Bulge. The German soldiers open fire on the unarmed prisoners,  now known as the Malmedy Massacre. 

What struck me through the film was the link in lives and events that drew friendship and hatred together... hiding in a farm two german soldiers come to search one is killed as he tried to attack the women harbouring the Allied soldiers. the other ran into the woods to be caught by one of the others in the band and brought back to the farm...

this is where for me the story really had a human touch deeper than anything we think possible... one of the americans recognises a friend from before the war when he was a missionary they talk and pray.. while the rest of the group are suspicious and want to killed the german... during the night the german is let to escape after giving up valuable details. 

Suspicion grows and threatens to brake the group they continue to make there way through the forest and come across germans again and a fire fight ensures leaving one badly injured when it seems like all is lost it is this german who was allowed to escape that provides a way out to get to the allied lines... 

there is a constant tension between the medic and one of the soldiers nicknamed "Deacon" a christian comments made about what was so interest in the book he was reading....

at the end of the film all but the medic and the british pilot die but something striking happens the medic who was the strongest in the hatred becomes the one who aides the now captured german solider.... and takes the bible from deacon....

Forgiveness, friendship hatred all mix in this film.....

And something much deeper the grace of God actively present in the worst places of human life. 

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Tempus fugit ludus .... Musa sapientum fixa volat instar fructus

This time last year I was just coming to the end of my first month here in lambeth... I'd written to a friend to say I was moving part of that note said something along the lines of what a privilege it was to be moving to London a stones throw from the houses of parliament. You can walk not far from here and find the embassies of many different nations... The embassy I work for is based in north lambeth not as flash as some of those that are near by theres no driver and limousine... no special perks or diplomatic amunity why should there be many of the ambassadors of the king who sent me to london face imprisonment suffering and death....

but paul writes that we are all ambassadors of Christ and therefore should live lives that that represent the one who calls and sends us to a hurting world....

I don't know what this year will bring ... but do know one thing where God calls he equips... that if we stop and listen in the midst of all that is going on around us he will and is there... though we don't always see him... 

He promises that he will never leave us or forsake us that if we draw near to him he will draw near to us...

The choice is will we choose to spend time with HIm....

That we can be salt and light to the communities to the patch that we are called to be in.... in the times of reaping and the times or toil 

Thursday, November 04, 2010


I have a new neighbour.... Just before half term my favourite horse at the city farm Dolly retired.... Today I met  Pimms a four year old pony.... pics to follow as I dint get chance today 

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Cardboard and Glue Guns

I got home from scouts today to find a e-mail from a friend and former workmate from last summer I guess you could say my old patch. 

We'd worked at a place which mad up cardboard advertising posters and frames the ones you see in supermarkets with DVD's on and those big ones in the Cinema's... the few week's I was there were fun and tough. 

Fighting with glue guns for 8 hrs a day or double sided tape which decided no matter what you did wouldn't stay in a straight line. 

But tonight it was great to hear that some of those guy's have semi perminate contracts rather than the wait for the call on your way home to find if you were needed the next day... they were and are hard working guy's... 

the other side of this was to hear the news of my friends family and how the grand Kids were growing... that he had got a new job...

we never know as we journey through life how lives cross and mingle but what impact they leave on our lives... but even though it was just a few weeks that I was there in Benfleet there will always be a part of that place in me i still have the scars from missing the a and hitting my hand with the hot glue...

I learnt a lot form those guys but most of all to be real, what you saw with them was what you got  and it was great... you got there respect by doing the same by pulling your weight... yeah there were grumbles and jokes I was on the end of a few.... questions and conversations...  one of the ways a question was asked was by starting with I don't mean to be rude but ............ genuine questions from real people 

one of my favourite conversations was a group telling me what they knew of the easter story what we got to was this...

that there were these guys who arrested  jesus and they took him to another guy who was in charge ( pilot) and then loads of people wanted him dead so they got some wood and put him on a cross.... 

we got the story down to the wood coming from B&Q and the crown of thorns well.... we got being made from stolen barbed wire off a near by warehouse fence...

it was a real meaningful way to hear the story being retold as it came gritty,rough and ready and most of all it was very real...

we often as leaders and preachers struggle to find relevant ways to repackage and share the message of the gospel to people day after day last summer I had it shared by those I worked with..

I'm so thankful that I got to spend a few weeks in their patch last summer there's a lot that the church can learn from being open honest and real... not projecting a false image but actually saying this is who we are a group a people journeying together hurting together and after a 14hr shift you hurt laughing together teasing the boss.... and being supportive they may not have got what I wanted to do but the day before I came for my interview there was no place else I'd have been than with that team in Benfleet and after the writer of seethroughfaith they were the first to be told I got the post in my new patch...

Monday, November 01, 2010

All Souls

Last night at the local Parish church of St Peters we celebrated all souls.... I went last year for the first time it was really interesting as those who through this year had lost loved ones wether friend or family joined together to celebrate and remember their lives as part of the service a list of names was read it was a simple but special service on the service sheet it says this 

welcome to our service of remembering those who have died. During the service there will be an opportunity to light a candle. Why do we do this ?

Lighting a candle is a prayer 
when we have gone it stays alight... kindling in the hearts and minds of others the prayers we have already offered for them

lighting a candle is a parable  
burning itself out it gives light to others.
Christ gave Himself for others 
He calls us to give ourselves

lighting a candle is a symbol
of love and hope  of light and warmth 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Just a thought

Came across this today  



Made me think that's all so thought I'd share it.....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Yesterday afternoon I was invited to a meeting about a project that the parish and circuit will be involved with in December this year... The forgiveness Project 

It's a exhibition of photo's and stories of people learning to forgive in many different circumstances.

The F word normally it's a way of speaking about a particular four letter word in the english language..  so using that phrase for Forgiveness !!! why is it so hard to say and mean and give it.  To hold onto a hate of someone because they hurt you.... 

Within the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples the words we know as the Lord's Prayer 

      Our Father in heaven, 
      Hallowed be Your name. 
      Your kingdom come. 
      Your will be done 
      On earth as it is in heaven. 
      Give us this day our daily bread. 
      And forgive us our debts, 
      As we forgive our debtors. 
      And do not lead us into temptation, 
      But deliver us from the evil one. 
      For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen

To be forgiven as we forgive....

No it's not easy nor do I have the answer....

But watching the film presentation my thoughts went back to 2002 when I spent time in Israel in Jerusalem and heard the story of a elderly Palestinian man who's house was searched by the army they pulled every draw and cupboard apart leaving the place a mess.... the mans response was to continue doing what he was doing making tea he offered those in the house a drink..... 

Not sure if I would have been able to do that..... 

forgiveness is letting go of the right we think we have to hold things against those who knowingly or not hurt us...

Desmond Tutu writes 
To forgive is not just to be altruistic. It is the best form of self-interest. It is also a process that does not exclude hatred and anger. These emotions are all part of being human. You should never hate yourself for hating others who do terrible things: the depth of your love is shown by the extent of your anger.
However, when I talk of forgiveness I mean the belief that you can come out the other side a better person. A better person than the one being consumed by anger and hatred. 
Being angry isn't the problem Jesus got angry turned a few tables upside down and caused chaos in the temple yet just a few days later He went to the cross out of love His dying words at the cruel treatment and those who did it..
Father FORGIVE them for they know not what they do  
What impact would there be on our own lives how we treat others out of a place of forgiveness rather than reacting out of our place of hurt... for families or communities to do the same... 

The Exhibition will be on at St Anslems Church kennington Road Kennington London from 29th November until 9th December 2010.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Not sure what's happened over the last few days with the posts :(. There's been a lot of paper work to sort out and on sunday had a trail service for my local preachers course... it was a very interesting morning it was at a church I haven't been to before. 

I got there with my friend early and had chance to walk around it was a lovely crisp sunny morning. 

looking round and taken pictures there was a voice behind us.. if you want to know about the place you want my mum and dad... a passerby commented we spent 20 or so mins standing there on the street talking to a stranger as she asked what we we doing. and then called out to a guy walking past then there were four standing there talking about her patch it's history how they had been bombed during the war the rebuilding that happened. the change in the community over the years...

not the normal way I prepare but was privileged by the open  way she told her story... stories are important... listening to each others stories is special...  

I may never see that lady again, but her story is now part of me 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Tonight was the end of a long wait for my friends daughter. She had never been to the West-end theatre though me and my friend have been a few times over the year I've been in this patch. We've seen.....

The Phantom of the Opera
Les Mis 
We Will Rock You 
Dirty Dancing  
Sister Act 

Les Mis for my friends 50th had to be the most special of shows that we have seen, the struggle between grace and law of hope. It being the first time my friend and I had been together and had the most wonderful seats in the stalls on the front row....

Lion King was great the look on my friends daughters face when she realised where we were going was priceless... again we were back in the stalls surrounded by colour and sound... 

How my friends daughter hadn't worked out where we were going I don't know sunday we went to see the lion king exhibition at the national geographic store and watched the film.

 two things really hit me at the exhibition the detail in the masks and clothes

With Rafiki 

n the costume was amazing and unlike the film Rafiki in the show is a woman 

the second thing was this quote on one of the walls 

That made me wonder how would someone sculpt me whats the trait that comes through in me to the world around me 

Thursday, October 14, 2010


No that's not my bad spelling again but rather the name of a way of spreading the story of christmas...  through interesting thought from mary and joseph to the wise men through modern media, Facebook and twitter the messages given in 140 characters the limit for a tweet 

What's it all about 


  • Reinforce the story of Christmas
  • Allow the 21st century audience to engage with the story in a new way
  • Create a space for Christians during a cluttered time of the year to remember the story
  • Create a way for Christians to engage their friends with the story in a thought-provoking, yet fun way

Want to join in then follow the links 

through the link at the top of the blog 

If it's not for you then pass it on to someone else who might :)

Writing this I'm thinking this doesn't really have much to say about my patch or does it... 

I think it brings a very relevant question about how we relate to those living in our patches..  How we share the message of Gods love in the world both by word and by deed...

How do we pass on the message to those in the 21st century who are inundated with so many other things vying  for their attention, time, loyalty....

to present the gospel in a way that is accessible to those who are now so far removed from having any connection with a Christian community... who no-longer no the "stories of old" those that even my generation can just about remember.. those like the young boy who walked past us at easter and turned to his father asking dad why are all those people standing round that cross?? an innocent question but one his father couldn't really answer.. or the young girl walking past a nativity scene asking mummy why is that baby surrounded by animals.

Introducing the gospel to a new generation in a fresh way.... the gospel is always relevant how we present it and live it isn't always.

Tonight at guides was a moment when one guide present a argument as to why the part of the guide law she had to defend was important spoke about caring for creation being good users of resources. and then said this is important as in genesis 1 God said thats what we were to be.... then looked at me, and semi puzzled semi questioning said i got that right... the grin when it was affirmed was worth the cold walk up on a dark night. Questions coming from this group over the last few weeks have been a mix.. from what the bible says about tattoos and pearcings, to s-x before marriage.... it started by being real, trying to live and speak the gospel... 

being relevant, not trying to be cool, or trendy, but real......