Saturday, 28 July 2007

Blog missing 2

May not blog for the next week as I will be at a beach mission in Borth and not sure if I will be able to connect at all - sometimes mobile phones don't work - but watch this space when I get back for how the mission went as there are always some real highlights!!

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Blog missing

To any regular readers my apologies that I have not blogged much recently - I have been busy getting ready for a beach mission which I am leading next week in Borth in Wales. If you would like to know more check out the website on or if you are in Borth pop in and see us especially if you have children with us. We meet each morning Monday to Friday at 10-45a.m. and would appreciate your prayers for this event. The programme for the week will appear on the website later tonight for any who are interested.
Went to choir practice last night and we sang 10 hymns/songs in just under an hour and it was a great time of praise with our very able musicians giving us the lead. We are preparing for a circuit service in August where we will help to lead the singing. This is one of a series of such events where we are trying to do something a little different - I suppose it is a sort of Fresh Expressions exercise especially as all music used has to have been written in the last 30 years which takes those leading the services down a potentially modern path. If you happen to be in Walsall on Sunday 12th August at 6-30p.m. come and join us at Aldridge Methodist Church.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Hymns, Songs and other things!

Funny thing following my last comments about the Methodist Recorder the church I took the service at this morning where they have the old blue and yellow mission praise one of the door stewards asked me why I never use them as they like to sing the occasional chorus. I had to explain I didn't have those copies and would possibly have difficulty working out numbers compared to the new book - may try it next time I am planned there.
Also had Charles Wesley in the congregation this morning, well the man who dressed as him on the front page of last weeks Recorder and we had a conversation about conference and how it is changing.
Went to a Wesleyan Reform Union church tonight to preach and ended up playing the organ as well - that was quite interesting as it is a really old pipe organ with the console right in the middle of the church at the front and its about 12 foot up from the floor. The volume pedal is strange and the pedal board is straight which caused me a few problems as I am used to a concave pedal board at my home church. The folks said they thought I had done rather well. Spoke about Martha and Mary and the importance of being like Mary and taking time to sit and listen to God just as she did.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Conference Recorder

Just had a skim thorugh the Methodist Recorder which has twenty pages of news from conference and I have to say there seems to have been some interesting stuff but one thing that amazed me and I think will be received with grave doubts by many ordinary members is the move for a new hymn book in 2010. While as a preacher and organist I can understand that the exisiting book does not really meet the needs of a changing church, I wonder if a new book will do any better and is it really a cost that many churches will either want to incur or indeed be able to. I speak to many of our members who would happily throw Hymns and Psalms away and bring back the 1936 Methodist Hymn Book.
There are so many other hymn books about and the increased use of projectors etc that a new hymn book seems a little bit counter productive to me. I really do think that there will be many of our members who believe there are better projects that we could spen the money on.

Why 6?

Been a while since I posed a why so I thought it was time to ask one again and it is one that puzzles me to a great extent and I am not sure that there is an answer or if there may be a number of answers but I believe it is worth the asking.
I understand that our ministers are allocated following a strange system called stationing and I understand that they come for a specific period of time which can be extended but my why is to do with the extension part of the process.
Why can some ministers stay for many years in a circuit while others seem to move around frequently? I went to Conference in 1983 in Plymouth and for much of the week sat next to one of the ministers from our district who is still serving in the same circuit 24 years later - I can understand if there is a minister doing an absolutely marvellous job and in charge of a growing and vibrant church there may be a reluctance to let them move on, but surely the foundation of Methodism is in the very nature of the itinerant ministry exercised by John Wesley.
I look foward to readers views on this.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

other blogs

Have been looking at some of the other blogs about during the last few days using the links on some of the sites I visit regularly. It is quite amazing the wealth of stuff out there and as with anything there are a range of views on a whole host of topics some of which I agree with and some I don't. I imagine that there will be times I may post items that are not too well accepted by others but that I suspect is the nature of blogging.
I think the most important thing to remember is that for the most part the views expressed on individuals blogs are the thoughts and views of that individual and not necessarily in keeping with what the official viewpoint of the denomination that the person belongs to. In fact I do have a warning on my blog because I may say the odd controversial thing about Methodism as there is I believe some silliness that goes on in Methodism as well as in other denominations.
Surely one of the most important tasks we have is to present the gospel to those who may come across our blogs by accident.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Somebody once told me that Sunday was a day of rest but mine today has been far from that. Went to Pleck this morning where I was playing the organ and following a conversation last week our minister did communion without the aid of a safety net(worship book) and I have to say he seemed far more relaxed and I felt it was a really good service - he had six good hymns as well so that was good, my son said he had enjoyed the service very much.
Did a trip to Oswaldtwistle (near Accrington) this afternoon and the drive both ways was horrible due to heavy rain and spray - arrived back at ten to six and had to be out again at 6p.m. to help with a service at St John's, Pleck. This was the last joint service we will do with the current Vicar as he is off to Penn at the end of July.
Glad I am back at work tomorrow might be able to get five minutes rest during the day!

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Circuit mergers

Not long got back from circuit meeting where two items we discussed were to do with meeting the Circuit Budget and the possibility of the three circuits that cover parts of Walsall becoming one circuit or two circuits rather than the current three.
One of the points made in both discussions was that our church numbers are declining and I recognise that this is true of many churches not just those in Methodism. We discussed various options relating to the possible ways ahead for the circuits but no mention was made of what I believe to be the fundamental issue here and that is declining membership, or conversely how we increase membership which would help both the financial situation and may help to remove the concerns about having to close churches due to dwindling membership which may lead to the eventual forced merger of circuits.
I do wonder if some of the things that are happening with fresh expressions will help to bring more people in to churches and whether there needs to be a wider take up on some of these ideas.
I remember reading years ago about a church that used to have a traditional service in the morning and more modern services in the evening and as a consequence had two almost totally different congregations. They then started having the services the opposite way round once a month and those who normally only came to one or the other attended at their normal time and found there was something in the services that they could quite enjoy. Before long services became a mix of traditional and modern and membership started to grow.
How often do folk in our churches discount something without even experiencing it?

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Singing Practice.

Went to singing practice tonight and had a great time - sang a lots of worship songs, some of which many members of the group didn't know but they really seemed to get into the songs and it ended up being more of a time of praise and worship than a singing practice. Our musicians will be missing next week so I asked the group if they wanted a night off but they said no they wanted to meet and I could play the piano. We are practising some songs that we may use at the next Circuit Service which I am leading on the 12th August at Aldridge Methodist Church at 6-30p.m. (whoops that might give some people a clue to my identity - if they don't already know).

Vestry Prayer for Sunday 15th July

Almighty God, and loving father, we come to you today and look to you to speak to us through your servant n......., and through the words we hear, read and sing. Help us to worship you in spirit and in truth and to do this freely.Help us to love our neighbour as you love us.
We ask your blessing on all who gather here today and that we will be encouraged in our walk with you through our fellowship today, in Jesus name. Amen.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Wierd and Wonderful Web

I never cease to be amazed by what you can find on the internet - I was looking the other day at George Melly following his death and found a thing called the DeathList which he was on. Quite simply a committee meet once a year and choose 50 celebrities who they think will die during the coming year. I checked it out and I am not on it so I suppose that means I am not a celebrity or I am not going to die this year.
Some of the folk on it were Billy Graham; Karl Malden (Streets of San Francisco) Ernest Borgnine (another handsome actor) Eli Wallach (Cowboy film star) and our own Dame Vera Lynn.
Apparently they keep score and the highest score was in 2004 when 14 of the 50 died. Last year 13 died and so far this year there have been 3 deaths.
Perhaps you might want to check it out in case you are on it.

An apology

Sorry to any readers who were looking for a vestry prayer for this week - I have been having some problems logging in to my blog which appear to have sorted themself out so here I am. I did speak to one dissapointed reader who has been taking the prayers in for the stewards at her church to use, so it looks like at least one group of people are using them - perhaps I should continue and try to post earlier in the week.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Is it just me?

Hello readers sorry I have not posted for a few days but had one of those weeks when lots going on with work and meetings etc.
I have to say that I am not a great fan of liturgy and consequently I am not very keen on the Methodist Worship Book. Is there anybody else I wonder who the liturgy does nothing for?
Our Minister uses the book every time we have communion and it really does just feel as if we are reading it to me.
Last Sunday I heard a number of older people saying 'not the book again' should I speak to the minister and suggest that he occasionally does the communion service without the book? Any thoughts would be welcome!