Saturday, January 29, 2011

Five Star Doorway

Mayfair Isn't my normal haunt especially on a saturday but today I was off to one of the most sought after postcodes in London. If you are familiar with the traditional version of the game monopoly you will know that Park Lane and Mayfair are the most expensive places on the board not much changes in real life. I've never been around Mayfair, and so walking past the houses and through a lovely park was really nice. I'm sure that on a sunny day this would be even more beautiful. But today it was icy cold and no-one was wanting to sit about in the park and maybe the place to have gone to eat my pack lunch (even if this time last year the picnic was at minus 28) but was far to cold and I made tea and stayed warm.

stayed warm not all could do that today!!! 

The reason for this little trip was to go to a workshop on Homelessness, Day after day in Vauxhall countless homeless sleep under the railway arches and in the underpass between the two blocks of flats where I live. The stark contrast between those who have and those who don't was in sharp contrast as I walked past a guy maybe my age asleep in a doorway. One of the things we were reminded of today at the workshop was that as one person said we are all 3 steps away from being homeless that’s a scary thought

Friday, January 28, 2011

Somewhere over the rainbow

Somewhere over the rainbow

Way up high,
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.

Somewhere over the rainbow

Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.

The words of the well loved well known song sung by Judy Garland in the The Wizard of Oz. The end of the Rainbow is the west end black comedy/ musical that tells the story of the come back again of Judy Garland in 1968 tormented by drugs and drink and life spiralling out of control a place where the words of this song have a very different longing to what was sung thirty years before as a young girl.

Tracie Bennet as Judy garland Photo - official show photo

I've loved the theatre since I was very small after being introduced to it by my Nan like many children here in the uk through the christmas pantomime. Like one of my friends it is something that refills the tank.

 I wasn't expecting what I got tonight. the anguish and life that was shown on the stage was truly amazing. What came through from the actors was a enjoyment of what they were doing and the story they were portraying.

During the show there are a few places where the challenge that faces many of us, myself included comes through so strongly. A mentor,lecturer and friend of mine often uses the this "who are you going to listen to". I was hearing this as I watched the the turmoil unfold, as Judy listened and fell back into old habits as she listened and relied on her new young fiance and said goodbye to a old friend who wanted to and truly cared for her. 

I came away with that in my ears who are you going to listen to, when things are rough, which friends are you going to listen to those who lead to life or those who lead to destruction. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Jesus junk

I'm not sure you can have Jesus and junk in a phrase like the title of the blog post today but sometimes with some of the junk that goes around in church circles that can be true. I'd have said that about plastic glow in the dark crosses yes you read that right they are what some of the youth are wearing.

but Jesus junk stopped me in my tracks this weekend while on a sleep over with the brownies. As one of the guides showed me theres she had promised to after a recent story she told me about it.

Over the last few months I've got to know a couple of the  guides and had some interesting conversations with them. And taken some a fair bit of stick in the form of jokes from them(but have given some back:)) They have taken to asking questions some of which they may not normally ask others they made that known a while back.

What I like is some of the seemingly silly stories they tell me, but have such meaning behind them. One of the stories was while one of the guides was babysitting. she didn't want to turn the light on so they wouldn't wake up the younger child they were watching but needed to get around the room. Not thinking she told me in full flow that she noticed that the plastic glow in the dark cross was giving enough light to see where she was going.

It really made me smile,

Friday, January 14, 2011

Home from Home

 Over the past two years I've spent nearly all my holiday time in a city that has become Home, The saying goes Home is where the Heart is.. Nothing can be truer for me at least as this place and some of the people has stolen mine.. Two years ago I went as part of my college course to do a placement in Finland. A Cliff  College MA student who lives there was to be my placement leader and someone who had become a great friend.. it very quickly it felt like home and has become home.  
I don't know what caught me about a place where I don't speak either of the languages Finnish or Swedish ( and the few words I do now know are not always that helpful and based mainly on words used by my friends to the dogs.) I think the pace of life maybe part of it, the air that is fresher. Maybe it's because there I can stop and just be.. Just a thought 
The city hit the headlines in the Uk recently as David Beckham had surgery there. 
It has to be one of the most beautiful places I've visited, walking along (or on when it's frozen) the river Aura watching the sunset. And down to a favourite place for coffee and Pulla away from home cafe art :).. oh and after a nice walk  (Though walking my friends dogs with her mother in law is always an adventure!!!! ) or after supper there's nothing better than a sauna :)

This year Turku is the Euroopan Kulttuuripääkaupunki  (european capital of culture)..  the program is full and it's not just cultural things as you would expect that are happening.. theres something for everyone.. this weekend marks the opening in style wish I was able to go see..

There are one or two things that I really would like to go and see and maybe I'll get I'd love to hear Turku Philharmonic Orchestra  play again I had the privilege  to go to the independence day concert on december 6th which was fabulous. A comment that made made smile during the speeches that day that Turku was the capital of Finland when Helsinki was still a small unheard of village.. 
So this isn't my normal type of post I know the thoughts were started by a message from Turku 2011 saying thank you for the hugh interest and they were sorry that the site kept crashing :) 
So if you thinking of a weekend away why not think about a trip to this years Euroopan Kulttuuripääkaupunki

Thursday, January 13, 2011

pay it forward

If you don't know thats the name of a wonderful film based on the novel by CATHERINE RYAN HYDE, pay it forward was the answer to a question set by one of the characters in the book a teacher to a group of eleven yrs olds in his social studies class ( see the clip here). what unfolds from this idea was amazing.. I used the film in a bible study with a group of boys who wouldn't normally have chosen this film they were enthralled by the story and the characters. 
                        The challnge today on a friends Facebook status reads

Pay it forward 2011... I promise to make something handmade for the first five people who comment here. They must in turn post this and make something for the first five who comment on their status. *The rules are it has to be handmade by you, and they must receive it before 2011 ends (p.s. this may involve something as simple as a batch of cookies...)

How about that for this year.... not a clue what to do but why not write a card, or drop some flowers off to someone...

Saturday, January 08, 2011


How do you teach a bunch of 3-6yrs about what the covenant service is all about... When many of those in our congregations struggle with it. The words are not easy and  leave us all with food for thought.

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield
all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.

Hard words to say they should be. Just take another look at what your saying. Lord I'm yours, all that I am, all that I have is yours. I give up any rights that I think I have. The fact is it's not about me  at all.  No it's all about you, your will. I'll accept what comes my way and  no matter what I'll follow you. That is some promise that is being made. What if, just for a moment what if the church actually lived that way.. if I truly lived that way... what a statement that that would be to those around us..
What is a promise, why do we make them? How do we make them.. 
All important questions questions that tomorrow in junior church we are going to look at.. under 5 points... 

1) Think - why I am making this promise
2) Time - do I have time to keep the promise or will I make the time to keep it 
3) Energy - is your heart in the promise 
4) Materials - do I have what is needed to keep the promise
5) Know how - how do I keep the promise 

For the children we'll say this tomorrow

Thinking about the covenant prayer how to explain to this bunch of 3-6yr olds redefines what it means and the difficult words it holds. how ever you comes to it it is not a simple prayer. 

Friday, January 07, 2011

chick chick chick chicken

chick chick chick chicken lay a little egg for me.. well this one wont lay a egg for me but its great it was a gift for looking after the hens for the rector and his wife... 

made out of recycled metal I love it ... 

Sometimes its the simple things that mean the most......

That's the one !!!!

That's the one is a phrase that was used by one boy at Archbishop Sumner school where I was leading the school Assembly.... It being Epiphany I decided to take three presents with me.. and asked the head to choose three children to help me.. so they looked in the bag and chose a present to open. Now these three presents were very different, one was wrapped in brown paper, one very nicely in sparkling paper, and one nice but with two types of paper... 

I asked them the question "why did you choose that present" there replies "I liked the paper" and "it looked expensive so there might be something valuable in side"

what really struck me was the comment by one boy... they say "out of the mouths of babes" come honest answer and truth well that was so evident yesterday. The reason he chose the brown paper present " cos that's the one Jesus would have chosen" wow 

And He was right.... 

it wasn't the point to what I was going to say it had passed me by I was focused and had missed something so simple...

Monday, January 03, 2011

Santa's and chicks

Christmastide doesn't officially finish until 6th January the twelfth day when we remember the wise men bringing there gifts. Theres still chocolate santa's at a reduced price on the shelf... so I thought I was caught up in some strange time warp when I went into Tesco's to pick up some flu meds to find a shelf full of chocolate bunny's eggs and cows... I was glad the lady next to me also stopped looked and exclaimed surly i'm seeing things.. It wasn't just me..

yes the manger and the cross are intimately woven together in our history without there being christmas celebrating Christ with us God taking on human form that He may draw us back to himself there would be no easter no offering of new life through the cross... We do remember this at christmas in the making of the christingle the red ribbon that represents that sacrifice...

but chocolate chicks on 3rd january 2011 this was a little bit too early for me... 

Sunday, January 02, 2011

What would you give

Today I went to two VERY different fellowships for worship...

The second was a little bit different as it's aimed at the gay community and meets once a month in the methodist church building in vauxhall. I don't want to get into the different arguments and politics about the right or wrong of this so please respect that.. The sermon and service theme was based on epiphany and used the readings for today used in the rest of the parish and circuit and I must admit I enjoy the occasions when I get to go the welcome is always warm and the fellowship after over food is always fun even if I'm the odd one out :). At the moment there is a very interesting question being asked amongst the fellowship is how to open up to others so that all are welcome.. thats a vey real question for us all how do we make ALL welcome not matter what their background might be..

  As part of the sermon we were told " The wise men brought three gifts with them as they followed the star towards bethlehem" .. and then asked 
 "what gift would you give Jesus" 

What I loved was the response that came back from the congregation.. a hug, a meal, a place to stay, a drink, and my favourite from one guy a fellow traveller from nottingham :) was this
'' I'd give Him a foot massage as He would need it after all the traveling''

Those were not what I was expecting but really made me begin to think what would I give him.. those weren't what you would call text book answers the ones that I expect to here at a Bible college or study group... these were answer that came from the person they were real and from the heart..

we sing in the carol in bleak mid winter the words to the final verse are 

What can I give Him, poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

What can I give Him? what ever your answer let it come from the heart 

Saturday, January 01, 2011

U.F.O's over vauxhall

In the summer I posted about strange things in the skies on a sunday afternoon.. well tonight a reoccurrence took place floating past was more balloons but this time they were captured...  and now float in my living-room :) a proud moment as the prey was caught and brought back :) reminded me of trying to catch the dandelion seeds in the summer as a child. What it must of looked like as I tried to catch the bunch that came my way I don't know but i know those who tried to get the smaller bunches that were flying by looked very silly too :). 

We can be far afraid of being free of being playful of being a child when as adults there are so many things that can hold us back.. I heard this story recently

one summer on a daddy daughter day a dad took his 7 year old daughter to disney land . She headed straight for Space Mountain.  The dad got worried that his little girl would get scared but she loved it 
To her delight, they rode it twice.
the following summer they went again, now eight, again dragged the dad to Space Mountain. standing in the line she read the warning signs and began to worry. and turned to her dad telling him she no longer wanted to go on the ride. confused the dad asked why she had changed her mind when last year she had enjoyed it so much her reason this year I can read...
Things get in the way, maybe it's what people will think, maybe its we can now read we all have those but what if's that run through our thoughts taking ourselves way to seriously ... 

last year I went with a friend to wales for a holiday, while she sat and read I flew a plastic kite like the ones i used to buy with pocket money on holiday as a child... and built a sandcastle. while building it people stopped by commenting on it, with the same feeling "I wish I could do that" or "its good to just let go some times and not be adults"my friend came down to tell me it was really time we got going again, commenting on the castle she pointed out the gates   and bridge over the moat.. kneeling with hands on hips my reply proudly defiant that is a portcullis. 

I wish I could do that we all can let go and be like children trusting and just being free, just being living in the moment not thinking what others may think.. I wonder if thats why during the 90's karaoke became so popular it was a type of permission to do the silly songs and entertain like many children still do...

God wants us to be who he created us to be, to use all the senses and enjoy life yes we all have responsibilities that we have to fulfil but to be to rest to play to be like a child and live in that moment to enjoy life and not worry what tomorrow will bring or what people may think.

so the next time you see a dandelion seed floating o the wind you have permission to catch it hold it and blow it onto the wind again. or go window shopping with a friend arm in arm.. 

and yes this goes for those of us who are in leadership too we too need to be able to let go and be... 

New Years Eve part 2

We were just in the middle of communion when the fireworks went up in London to mark 2011 not just a new year but a new decade..

Before the service I had been invited over to a new years whist party which when I got the invite I hadn't got a clue what it was to be honest I still don't really get it but had a wonderful hour there.. before heading down the road to prepare for the service..

one of the big jobs was trying to find a robe that fitted I felt like part of the three bears tale too small too big just right. 

so for those who have joked about it here it is 

The curate preached a short sermon but longer was not needed the one thing stuck out are we able to look at the person before us and see good in them to see past race or religion and see the creator God see His image in them... 

In my new years eve post I said that understanding and hearing and listing would be on my wish list to santa... 

if we are there listening and hearing the wishper of God we may just be surprised where we see His and and voice this coming year