Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Day after the camp before

Finally crawled out of bed at at around 9:30 am. I hadn't felt really all that tried ubtil walking through the front door. 

Some of the camp posts have been updated with photo's all taken on my Nokia X3 so I'm fairly happy with the out come though one or two are a little shaky.

Some of the events of camp I'll return to over the next few days and talk a little more about.

Thank you to the house-elf for making sense of the text messages and writing the posts :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Tales from cubs' camp in /near Glastonbury day 6

Day 6 (Friday) homeward bound

We arrived home at 5.30ish today - more or less on schedule :) after travelling back via Stonehenge.

The last episode of Dr Who was filmed at Stonehenge. This was the second site this week that has had a connection to Dr Who  Wookey Hole Cave was where the doctor (David Tennent) found out he was going to die.  Since many of the cubs are Dr Who fans (like me) it was pretty exciting!

I've always wanted to go to Stonehenge and now I have! It was busy - too many people to be honest- and I'm a bit sad that I never got to go there when I was the age of most of cubs, because nowadays when it's a site of national heritage you can't get up close to the stones and touch or climb on them. That would have been great!

Hearing the commentaries through the hand-held device about Stongehenge, its history and its people was very interesting. Though the original reason for Stonehenge has long been lost, some of the myths and legends surrounding it (alien theories, the devil and /or Merlin in the time of King Arthur) were fun to listen to.  It was interesting to be there at this time as it's only recently been announced that another henge has been discovered nearby. (link to BBC site on new discovery )

We were all shattered when we got back ... the leaders probably even more than the cubs (who were still hyper!) 

Posted by the resident house-elf. Just because :)*

* My Patch's author is semi-comatose on the sofa in spite of having been revived by numerous cups of tea. Must be time for bed!

Tales from cubs' camp in /near Glastonbury day 5

day 5 ?

How quickly time passes! It doesn't seem a week since I was packing to go to to camp. Tomorrow (Friday) we leave, and head for the 3hr-ish journey back home to London. We're going via Stonehenge - a place I've always wanted to visit :)

Today was the beach and swimming. Yay!

The cubs made their own Tor and St Michael's tower

We travelled over to Burnham-on-sea. The cubs made a bee-line for a hovercraft sat outside its house, and fired questions at the man standing by it. They were Burnham HoverCraft Search and Rescue , and the cubs got to sit in the larger rescue craft!

What was really interesting to me was the brass plaque on the hovercraft house. 

It had been build in a mere 72 hours during a programme called Challenge Anneka- a programme that I often used to watch! To see that house - sixteen years on  - still standing, still in great condition, and providing valuable lifeguard cover on the coast - was fantastic. You don't always get to find out what happens to these sort of things, and today this really touched me.

(Posted by the resident house elf, who is heading to bed after a fabulous day in the west end with Godson and family)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tales from cubs' camp in /near Glastonbury day 4

day 4: Wednesday

30 mins after Akala (cub leader) went to get the cubs up this morning, I went down to fetch them for breakfast ... They were almost ALL still in bed. Their reason? "Akala didn't tell us to get dressed!"...

We left to visit the Somerset rural farm museum. This is a free museum which takes you through farming in the local area. Having played old fashioned "pennyhands"yesterday what caught my eye at the farm museum was the measure of a pennyworth of milk.

To top the visit off there was the chance to make a willow fence, called willow wanging! There was also an exhibition of gloves (inspired by 25 pairs found in a box!) More on this later ...

(posted by see-though faith, resident house elf, who has enjoyed cooler weather this evening here in London - though it was hot, hot, hot earlier in the day!)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tales from cubs' camp in /near Glastonbury day 3

day 3 (Tues) Wookey Hole

Wookey hole is a cave system that has a strange tale of a witch and a priest. A woman (who the villagers were afraid of) lived in the cave. She was deemed a witch, and so the villagers sent for the priest (to exorcise her) ... the story tells that he followed her into a deeper part of the cave until he found some water. He took some, blessed it, and started to sprinkle it around when he heard a scream. Later a stone figure was found in the cave.

What struck me was that hundreds of years on, we still act like that. We have the same sort of attitude to people who don't seem to fit in. All too often they (the misfit) are seen as the reason that things are wrong, and they are made the scapegoat.

I found myself challenged today and want to challenge you too ... Ask yourself whether your actions (and your heart attitude) are more like those of the villagers than the hand and heart of Jesus.

(posted by the resident house-elf who was glad of a heavy shower tonight here in London - it's so much cooler now!)

Tales from cubs' camp in /near Glastonbury day 2

day 2 (Monday) Glastonbury Tor

after feeding the cubs - off they went to feed the animals!It's easy to forget some of them (city boys!) haven't had this type of close contact with animals  when it's second nature for me. They had great fun being close up to hens, pigs and piglets (and this evening they were asking to help with this again!)

This afternoon we hiked past the famous old trees, gog and magog 
Situated near the foot of Glastonbury Tor Hill, stand two ancient oak trees which popular folklore hold to be over 2,000 years old. The two immense and beautifully gnarled trees (named Gog and Magog) were once part of an avenue of oaks that led up to Glastonbury Tor (and, according to some sources, beyond to King Arthur’s castle in South Cadbury).

what is sad is that one of these magnificent trees was recently pronounced dead.. and there are signs that the 2nd tree in part is dying too. coming from nottingham I know how much is valued in the tales of our old tree The Major Oak and the conservation that has been undertaken around it.

.......and on up to Glastonbury Tor. 
St Michael's Tower 

It was busy but great at the top inside the tower, showing the history of the place. Part of the plague states

Richard whiting, last abbot, was hanged on the tor in 1539, when the dissolation of the monasteries was taking  place. 
The beautiful view from the top of the Tor across the counties gives a far different tale to some of its sad past!

(posted by the resident house-elf who is still in hot and sticky London!)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tales from cubs' camp in /near Glastonbury day 1

Camp day 1 / arrival

After a 3h journey and a cool start to the day we arrived at Paddington Farm and a sign which said


First job was moving the very friendly goats out of our field.
Samson and Benny

After lunch it was the supermarket run, supper and time for the camp fire.
We watched an amazing sunset - the oranges reflecting off the old Abbey at the Tor.

They say there is something about this part of England and finding a quiet spot .. it does feel as if you're closer to God here.

(Posted by my friend see-through faith -resident house-elf -who I abandoned back in hot, sticky London!)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Putney And Plums

It seems a little strange taking your day off when most of the week has been spent doing very little due to a  virus. Feeling much more like myself I really just needed to get out of the flat. So with a friend we headed by train to Putney about 10-15 mins away.

What I love about Putney is that they have some great charity shops and we spent a hour or so just wandering through them. Then headed down to sally's @ St. Mary's for coffee and cake which is always good :)..

Then over Putney bridge and through the Bishops gardens and along the river to Craven Cottage home of Fulham FC.

The walk took a little longer than it should of when we spotted plums/damsons in the trees just ready for picking.. 

and not for the first time this summer picking wild fruit became a distraction. Where I'm living there are scattered around  apricot trees and cherry trees...

They all tasted very very nice.. We joked that stolen fruit tasted so much better than from the supermarket. We joked that even Eve understood this....

There being so many berries and fruit still on the trees, or on the ground going to waste makes me ask many questions.

In many countries today (and for me when growing up in the midlands) the summer tradition of going to pick the wild fruit, then washing and baking them, with memories the kitchen smelling of warm sugars, glass jars ready for the wonderful sweet liquid to go in) is still part of the culture. 

We are told that we are in a time when we have less disposible income that people are not spending... yet at this time that there are still vast amounts of fruit going to waste in a small area leads to a thought that we may have tighter pockets right now but even in this.... in the unpicked fruits and berries ... well it  shows me how well off we really are.  In days gone by these would have been picked as soon as they were ripe!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Down on the Farm

Living in South London just a stone's throw from the Houses of Parliament there's a sound that would be more at home in the sweeping english countryside... a city farm. I love this quote from their website 

Vauxhall City Farm is a happy, noisy and vibrant part of Vauxhall that welcomes everybody from all walks of life a chance to escape the city grind and enjoy a little slower pace of rural peace before hopping back on the train or bus.
There are the usual suspects down on the farm, ducks hens, sheep, cows 

watching these little chicks running round was so funny they have feathery feet and were tripping over very sweet...


And the more unusual suspects 
You gotta love the Hair !!!!

I started getting to know the staff, volunteers and regular visitors to the farm in November last year through the riding for the disabled. To be part of this has been a real blessing to me, to see the wonderful group of kids every other thursday and how they have grown in confidence over this time and the hugh smiles they have. 

Going down for the very first time was way beyond anything I knew and 4 yrs. at bible college don't equip you for!!!!!  Though I had worked on a city farm at the secondary school I was at in Nottingham  horses were a very different "animal" altogether. Learning about the different horses ( they all have their own characters and one or two are naughty I've lost the string from my hoodies thanks to one and a couple of zippers) how to groom, clean a saddle, how to walk at the side and lead a horse for the lessons.. 

At palm sunday the Shetland pony from the farm played a big role in the procession as we all followed the cross between two of the parish churches...

There have been great times of fun and Chat over a wheelbarrow full of horse manure it's time to reflect too. Strange but true, that mucking out is a humbling experience, it doesn't matter who you are outside the stable if your part of the yard team if muck needs shifting, you do it.

wonder how many of us in leadership are willing to do that, or is it a job for the cleaners, would we be willing to kneel and clean the toilets at church !!!! or clean muck on the car park.... to talk the humble roles as a servant as Jesus did ? 

In the cool of the stable there is that feeling, how you react how you are about yourself how you are with the horses. they hear many confession through the day and just listen, and at times come close almost as if to say I hear you. 

How much can we learn from the horses in this way, as we walk along side people as they share there life stories with us. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

bedknobs, broomsticks and house elves!!!

That's pretty much how the it's been since sunday afternoon...

I came down with some sort of summer flu over the weekend :(... waking sunday morning with a very hot and sore throat not helpful when your preaching and it being a assessed service for my local preachers corse reaching sunday I was so thankful that my voice held out. ( me with no voice for some would be a answer to prayer before anyone thinks of commenting)

Unusually for me I spent the yesterday in bed mainly due to my house elf ( a friend who's visiting for the summer), and watching in between sleeping Harry Potter.

I'm not one for taking time off and had a sign in my last office that read

Don't Phone in sick Crawl in Dead

 and another that read 

if I can breathe I can work

one thing that made me smile was when one of the professors gave Harry Chocolate when he felt weak after coming into contact with dementors ( prison guards from Azkaban) at the beginning of the third film and something he does throughout the film, 

Jokingly I asked my house elf  if I could have that when I felt weak and tired too I got a smile and a dark chocolate biscuit.

Sometimes as with the chocolate we don't always realise what it is we need, being told to eat chocolate that first time harry was confused, 

being told to go lie down, to be woken up with fruit or a drink, a meal made,  having the bedclothes washed and changed when suffer with fever by a friend was so very much not how I would normally have tried to cope with a fever

That the little things have been done for me and I'm not the best patient , Thats been so good but yet so hard, to accept. none of it was asked for, non of it was implied but out of love it was given. 

Time to go back upstairs again

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mary and Martha

Luke 10:38-42 Mary and Martha,

This is the gospel reading for tomorrow in the revised common lectionary.... I know this as I'm preaching... and using the following story to open with...

There is an ancient Scottish legend that tells the story of a shepherd boy tending a few straggling sheep on the side of a mountain. One day as he cared for his sheep he saw at his feet a beautiful flower -- one that was more beautiful than any he had ever seen in his life. 
He knelt down on his knees and scooped the flower in his hands and held it close to his eyes, drinking in its beauty.

As he held the flower close to his face, he suddenly heard a noise and looked up before him. There he saw a great stone mountain opening up right before his eyes.
 And as the sun began to shine on the inside of the mountain, he saw the sprinkling of the beautiful gems and precious metals that it contained. With the flower in his hands, he walked inside. Laying the flower down, he began to gather all the gold and silver and precious gems in his arms.
 Finally with all that his arms could carry, he turned and began to walk out of that great cavern. Suddenly a voice said to him, "Don't forget the best."
 Thinking that perhaps he had overlooked some choice piece of treasure, he turned around again and picked up additional pieces of priceless treasure. And with his arms literally overflowing with wealth, he turned to walk back out of the great mountainous vault. And again the voice said, "Don't forget the best."
 But by this time his arms were completely filled and he walked on outside. All of a sudden, the precious metals and stones turned to dust. And he looked around in time to see the great Stone Mountain closing its doors again.
 For a third time he heard the voice… This time the voice said, "You forgot the best. For the beautiful flower is the key to the vault of the mountain."
 Don’t forget the best. We can never be able to truly grasp any precious thing in this lifetime, unless we can grasp the unsurpassing beauty of the MOST precious thing in this lifetime.
Don’t forget the best be maybe that is the message of today’s Gospel story.  The gospel is all about Mary and Martha … or should I say Martha and Mary? 

Like martha it is very easy for us to get so caught up in the day to day, like the Shepard boy it can take a short time to loose sight of the gift that opened up all that God has in store for us. 

Don't forget the best... Don't forget that in the story of mary and martha that there is a third person there. 

we can loose focus in the story making the importance that we are to be more like mary, that she is the role model for us.. yeah there is that... but it's not about being mary or martha but about being both... having a balance between spending time with Jesus and Working for (with Him)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

That garfield feeling

When it comes to mornings I tend to find myself in the same mould as Garfield.. I HATE them. I have a mug that was brought for me a few years ago with just that sentiment.

I dont have to say the the mug is well used. 

I've tried many different things to get up and why in part I decided to go to the parish prayers. It is something I have to get up for a starting point for the day ( and being honest I don't always manage it.. what is great depending on how you look at it is that there is more often than not a question the next time I'm there about where I was.

This evening I checked my email and found this 

Morning is God's way of saying: 
"One more time Live Life... 
Make a difference... 
Touch one Heart... 
Encourage One Mind.. 
And inspire one Soul."
A few years ago I did a bible study over about 6 months looking at Mornings tracing through from the Old Testament through to the New. One passage still stands out to me from exodus 16 about manna and quail. though it is speaking about the grumblings of Israel in the desert against the Lord its this one passage from verses 6-7 

The passage that set off my thoughts the first time round, Many of the great hero's of faith have spent time in the early hours of the day spending time with God. Mark records in his gospel that 

is this a gentle reminder to change my day around, not having the just 5 more minutes then diving out of bed and round to the Church building just in time for 9am. even on the days when I'm not swimming. 

Swimming and Showers

Not sure really which way round to put that heading though the shower in the locker room was so much warmer than the one on my way home. Coming out of swimming today I got a few feet down the road when the heavens opened big time... 

View down the road toward Vauxhall Bridge on my way home 

It would be the day when I had left by waterproof top at home... getting soggy wasn't the worse thing nor was it that the washing was on the line doh!!!!!!! 

Sat on the coffee table is my cell phone hopefully drying out.. Maybe now is the perfect excuse to get the iphone at last.

Now the suns out gain 

When I moved to Lambeth one of the things that I decided to challenge myself to do was to make morning parish prayers at 9am and midweek Eucharist at 10am, and to get fit physically. 

Over the summer this time last year I got a job working in a cardboard factory which was a fantastic time and worked with some of the best guys you can meet. 

To get to work meant either catching the bus at silly o'clock am and getting in late, the other option was to cycle from Leigh-on-sea to Benfleet doing this July to October started as real hard work ( not to mention being back in a factory after 10 years of working for the church and being in college)and to begin with pain. 

yet as time went by the ride became easier an a time to pray, for the day, the guys, the company.. and much quicker it started by taking 45-60min and pushing the bike up something called bread and cheese hill by the time I left to come to Lambeth I could cycle all the way up the hill and was home in 20-30 mins 

The hill rises on a 10% incline(about 1.5km in road distance) That’s a long hill!!  and  yeah it seems much further an way steeper than that :( !!!. though going down it when your hot from the cycle in was always worth it on sunny days, agin not so good on wet one's. Why bread and cheese well as with many place name in England it was a practical name, coming about in the Edwardian era when motorcars on the way to Southend-on-Sea would boil over by the time they reached the brow of the hill.  Chauffeurs would eat their bread and cheese lunch while the engines cooled. It was not long before a public house (there is still a pub there with the same name  ) was opened to take advantage of the trade.

I missed the ride, the prayer time when I moved,   there is for me a link between spiritual health and physical health. When one starts to go off track it isn’t all that long before the other wanders too.

Swimming twice or three times a week has been a great start to the day, (though its been afternoons recently, and going with a friend) then prayers, then into the rest of the day. Cycling the mile each way.. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Door to door !!!!

Tuesday has become one of my favourite days for two reasons door to door and cubs. 

Yeah you read that right Door to Door, when I first came to my new patch I new no one. As part of my job description I was given the task of making links with other community groups. 

So having been shown round the patch by one of the Anglican Ministers i picked up the file from the office and began to ring round introducing myself and seeing where links may be made. The team from London City Mission was one of the groups that links have been made with. Each tuesday we go out into the community going from door to door introducing who we are are getting to know the community. 

It's been a amazing and humbling time, as people open up the homes and lives... today was just that as we spent an hour talking with a lady who's family are suffering right now, praying for them as we spoke and a word that we would continue to pray.

There was time of joy hearing of one lady who was met on her door step a couple of weeks ago, who had just received a letter that she had a job interview, one of the team had offered to pray for the job... He forgot all about it and met her on the street, her words to him
"you prayed and I got the job"

I never thought i say that door to door would be something that i enjoyed or looked forward to doing. On many of the mission week that I was on as a student or with other teams working with churches door to door always seemed to be a stop gap, that thing that was put on the timetable when no one knew what else to do with the team it always seemed a waist of time.
I wish I new then what I do now
Yes it still puts me on the edge of my comfort zone, but the relationships that have opened up through a few words on the door have been worth it.

What is the hardest part is the follow up, that going back a second time. This though is what has made such a impact on many we speak to, putting action to our words. Not just going once but making a point to go back and talking listening to their story, letting them tell there stories is so important. 

one such story today made us all laugh, a gentleman was telling about his new little dog, but how when he was walking his old dog a fireman asked is ...... house down here ( most of the blocks of flats in the area are called something house ) yes he said and joking said it probably mine on fire... yeah... ouch.... when he got to the block it was his flat that was a blaze thankfully there was mainly only smoke damage in the kitchen. He had us all laughing as he told many a tale....

Coming back on a tuesday afternoon I more often than not feel I've been blessed more than being a blessing.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wrestling with Grace

Today has been spent wrestling with grace sounds a strange idea maybe. I've been writing a assignment on the means of grace and how they relate to the mission of God. One of the books I've been reading for  this was by Kevin Watson A Blueprint for Discipleship 

 "what is grace?" 

Watson tells the story of a class he had at seminary on friday morning  turning up half asleep for a three hour class ( I can sympathise with him as he wrote). Getting there finding out that the lecture had a task for them that morning to go out and ask people three questions. One of those was that question asked above "What is grace?"
He recounts how 
" I remember being terrified that someone would respond, "I don't know. What is grace?" I did not know hat I would say if the question was turned back on me "
and asks what would you say if asked what is grace?

What they found as they shared back in class in talking to people out on the street that was that most people they spoke to did not have a good idea about what grace is. They had ideas and opinions about church and christians and Jesus but when it came to grace they found it hard to explain.

(writing the essay today I know what Watson means :) )

Watson suggests that the question of what is grace and of how we interpret it is 

 a crucial question because grace is the foundation of the Christian life. According to scripture, grace plays a primary role in our salvation
Durring bible study with a friend two simple questions are often asked
  1. what does this mean in my life
  2. what does this mean in ministry 
I found myself asking what does this mean in my patch what does this mean for the people living here in vauxhall and lambeth in 2010.  What does grace mean to them, to my neighbours.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Working in the Joint parish and Circuit of North Lambeth each week the Revised Common Lectionary is used in the 4 churches. Until moving here it wasn't something that I had followed while preaching all that often ( even though I get them emailed at the beginning of each week:(  ). Even now it's only when I'm preaching do I know what the following weeks readings are or on the occasions that we look through them at the team meeting. 

Todays gospel reading  was the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). I've heard many studies on this passage and retellings of the story using different types of people to look at who is my neighbour.. 

One retelling was when I was still in Nottingham... Our church was close to both Notts County and Nottingham Forests grounds.. And as you can guess it meant that our church was divided almost 50/50 between the two teams  and often led to much friendly banter. One thing we did agree on was that Derby county was as with a certain character in a popular children's book it was "them who weren't named" . 

The preacher this day decided to recount the story using football supporters  (done many times around the country) and yeah you guessed it the good Samaritan in his story was a derby fan ... ouch... makes you think.....

Today was very different the preacher didn't major on the question of who is my neighbour nor on the different characters in the story... His question for us today was
What can I do for my neighbour
In many communities the answer to that could be as simple as just getting to know them their names... Giving just a few minutes in your day as your in the lift to talk. the simplest thing can often be the most profound....
There is a song that isn't sang to often now but one we sung a lot at asks  when I needed a neighbour were you there.

maybe one day we will start to get the question right and begging to ask what can I do for my neighbour. and the creed and the colour and the name wont matter.. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Missing Lives

A walk along the South bank of the river led to a very different atmosphere  a quiet corner in the midst of a almost carnival style atmosphere.. A display caught my eye and being interested in photography I wondered over.. To find the last thing I'd expected.. A Large display that seemed out of place yet so much in place at the same time
Earlier I posted about masks and how we use them, one of the most haunting stories as I read was that of a mask used in terror..  someone who had been a teacher came to the door of a home in a balaclava and forced a boy and his father into a van they were never seen again. this happened in the or on the last days of conflict. The teacher lived in the flat above his victims...

A friend told me a few years ago how he had survived the atrocities in Rwanda just short time after he was put on the school bus the village where he lived was destroyed. Another tells of how they left with their family their home in what was Yugoslavia  in the early days of the war.

The story's may no longer be top of the news but for thousands of people the struggle to find what happened to a father, brother, sister wife husband,mother, friend still goes on..

against one photo a mother said.. after dna tests on a bones found in a wood, she lost her husband and two boys. how can I bury a bone, mourn when I don't know which of my boys the bone belongs too...


If your in london then take a few moments for a detour and go
Or maybe think about supporting the work by getting hold of a copy of the book Missing Lives......

 For the first time in war DNA has been used to match blood and bone, reuniting families divided by death, enabling survivors to find closure and to begin to live again. These fifteen, heartbreaking Balkan stories - told by Rory MacLean and Nick Danziger, two of Europe's most sensitive chroniclers - represent a tiny proportion of an immense tragedy. 'Missing Lives' gives a voice to the unacknowledged suffering of these families, to all who went missing by force, and reminds us that in war - whatever the technological advances - there is no greater loss than the disappearance of those we love.


Last night a long awaited visit to see The phantom of the Opera. 

This was a show that for as long as I can remember I have wanted to see... where better to see it than in London's West End, a place that is almost becoming a second home for a friend and me :)... And was very much worth the wait...

One of the songs called Masquerade set in a ball... 

the owners of the theatre joke of the Phantom not being able to make it... in the chorus two sections really stood out
Paper faces on parade.
Hide your face, so the world will never find you!
Every face a different shade.
Look around -
there's another
mask behind you!
The second part  being 
Seething shadows
breathing lies.
You can fool
any friend who
ever knew you!

The original author was interested in story but led to be a lawyer by his father never let this aspect of his life fall to far away. led a interesting life and one that in some parts resembles the story of the younger brother in the Prodigal Son inheriting a large amount of money and loosing it all within a year.. though inheriting after his fathers death. He to came too his senses
Not downhearted, Leroux begged a job on L'Echo de Paris in 1890 and was asked to combine his knowledge of the law and love of the theater as court reporter and drama critic! It was as an investigative reporter that Leroux found the greatest satisfaction at this period of his life. His paper allowed him to probe suspected malpractice in the local police force and public administration and his hard-hitting reports not only exposed several corrupt officials but also made his name as a journalist.This passport to adventure took him from Finland, south to the Caspian Sea, through Italy, Egypt and Morocco, frequently disguising himself in order to be able to witness events at first hand.

We all wear masks for many different reasons... though not always for the good, masks that we make to protect us or at least we think they do.

 Just down from where I live at vauxhall cross is  The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), often known as MI6where masks and secrets are part an parcel of everyday life 

The song led me to thinking and wondering what masks do I wear, do those who live as my neighbour wear and what led them to put those masks on. What are the masks of the people in my patch of garden.. And how to come alongside, to bring Jesus into those places those private fears... 

In the phantom the mask was to cover a disfigured face... 

what tortured souls lay buried beneath a masked smile in the lift... a well dressed life hides a what is truly going on. the smiling face we put on as we walk into the church building not letting our brothers and sisters be Christ to us. hiding behind the words "I'm Good, Thing's are good"   I know I am and have been guilty of doing that.

When I've been asked in the past to share testimony I start it something like this

Have you ever taken a mug out of the cupboard from the outside it look fine. You place you coffee or tea bag in, it still seem fine. it is only when you put the hot water in that the crack that has been there hiding just below the surface just out of sight shows it's presence.
The cracks had been there for some time but hidden, waiting for that one time when stress, weight or heat would be to much and things come apart...

During the show the young women whom the phantom has become attracted to pulls the mask off to show what lies behind. without any walking alongside, without any place of having dealt with the fear. that mask being removed was terrifying, painful devastating.

To let someone walk with you, slowly ( though often faster than would want) letting God into those fears, giving him those experiences. That is a hard place to be. It's a raw place a very vulnerable place... Am I willing to let Jesus come and remove the masks that are in my life...  or to continue to be like the person in the song to fool any friend who ever new you or to be real and honest that others may feel safe to lay aside or at least begin to remove there mask one sequin at a time!!!!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Dust Sheets & Scaffolding

A large green looming chrysalis was what greeted as I was arriving to my new flat in October... Major works were being done by the council. Waking up you don't extpect to see anyone outside your bedroom window when it's on the 6th floor and took a little getting used to.

For those in the flats here the work was very welcome... old windows that frames had warped and no-longer shut. Replaced with modern double glazing. The fun was having them replaced. My windows arrived in January ( just after all the snow) they were late due to vandules steeling the steal changes that ran the lift attached to the scaffolding...

It was freezing.... all was going well the frames went in well untill the final central window was about to go in... There was a knock on the living room door.. "erm excuse me".... You know something has gone wrong.. "we have finished but...."

You guessed it the window had broken. instead was a wonderful bit of wood!!!!!!

Windows in at last :) 6 weeks later and the difference was great- new window finally in.. and when the gas bill came £100 less than the last bill...

that's good news for many of those who living in the same building on incomes that already low have to make things stretch further during the cold spells... £100 per quarter makes a big difference.

Today the finishing touches are being done... last week the scaffolding came down and the new building emerged completely... there's a difference in the place today the dust covering had kept the light out and that had a effect on those living here.. Simple small things have changed this week... There's less litter in the lifts.. and around main doors... people are reclaiming there balconies. Hanging baskets are up..

I can feel the difference.. Even though it was just 6 months of the covering I had deal with.. the scaffolding had been up over a year.. the dust and noise is no more....

let there be light....

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

A New Patch

This time last year the college year had just past and as with many others had just graduated with a BA(Hons) in Theology from Cliff College . And that great summer past-time for new graduates the finding of a job.....

Finding where the PATCH that was to be mine would be. And thats where the title for this blog comes in... MY PATCH, and from the parable of the sower . Jesus here speaks about different types of ground that seeds fall on when sown.......

October 2009 the new patch of ground... was to be in South London... Hmmm a Midlander moving into the sound of BIGBEN and PARLIAMENT . It had never crossed into the thoughts of actually moving to London... North Lambeth Methodist Circuit.... and living in Vauxhall, on the site of what was the old spring gardens

Vauxhall- view down the street...