Thursday, 30 April 2009

Lucas unleashed - review

Well Jeff Lucas has done it again - he has managed to put together a collection of stories that make me laugh, cry and think just as it says on the back cover.
I always feel a great affinity for him and what he writes and this latest collection is full of those unusual or are they usual things that seem to happen to him. There is even a chapter entitled 'I could be wrong' which is well worth reading and should stir a few reactions.
If you want something easy to read and yet thought provoking then give this a whirl - you never know you might enjoy it!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Local Preachers Continuing Development

Following on from my previous post, more from the district meeting I attended the other evening.
During the course of the meeting we were talking about Positive Promotion of Ministry (PPM)and that marvellous topic that makes many preachers eyes glaze over came up - those readers who know about these things will know immediately (and may have glazed over) that I am referring to CLPD (Continuing Local Preacher Development). It did seem that five of the people present who were either ministers or local preachers were broadly of the same opinion that this was an area where very little happened. One of the local preachers present said that he felt that for many of our longer serving local preachers they felt there was no need for this type of thing and that they were doing things well. I am fairly certain that if we were to do a straw poll in any circuit the result might be different to what any of us believe.Perhaps the name itself is part of the problem.
I said that I firmly believe that every one of our local preachers should be assessed once a year in the same way that our preachers in training are assessed and given that ADR (Annual Development Review) may well become the norm for ministers there may be a bigger case for introducing this type of process.
We had during the meeting discussed back to church Sunday which is in September and one of the people said perhaps we should have regular back to church Sunday's but only on 'special' Sunday's when there was a good chance that anyone coming for the first time might be in with a reasonable chance of attending a good service.
We also discussed briefly the 'retirement' of local preachers and this is another area where I suspect we find it quite difficult to suggest to a preacher it might be time they 'retired' and it may be an annual assessment could make that process a little easier. From a personal point of view I have someone who will tell me very clearly to stop if she thinks I have lost it.
I have to say I liked the idea that was floated a few years ago of having a 'Preacher Emeritus' status for those preachers who were no longer able to take services and had effectively retired but unfortunately it did not prove to be a popular idea with preachers themselves.
There was some mention of how preachers meetings have changed over the years and some talk of how you would often get two well respected preachers who would often be almost up to fighting in the preachers meeting where they disagreed on a point or on the development of a fellow preacher in training. Perhaps we were more passionate in the past or perhaps this is a reflection of how society in general often is - no commitment or passion for anything.
Maybe readers have some thoughts or opinions or then again maybe not!!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

More thinking!

Yes folks I've been exercising the little grey cells again! It was really brought about by my attendance at a district meeting last night of the Unit for Church Life group and discussions around welcoming and making people feel at home in our churches. There were a range of views around the table but generally it was felt there were lots of people doing reasonably well at this but others doing very badly.Mention was made too of how we do things that are automatic to regulars but anyone new may not know or understand - a prime example of this in our circuit is that some churches stand when the offering is brought forward while others sit - I have never found out why so don't ask me!
The other thing that struck me was that I seemed out of my depth at times last night when conversations included a number of acronyms/abbreviations which it appeared the other five people at the meeting were well versed in and to some degree assumed I was as well! Wrong!!
Some of them I worked out such as TDO (Training and development officer) but others I still don't know about what is CDIM for instance or ADR which I think is possibly annual development review and is something our district is piloting and then there was PPM (fortunately in full on the agenda but immediately shortened.
I have to say I didn't like to keep asking so just tried to go with the flow as they say and hopefully kept up reasonably well.
For all that it was an enjoyable meeting with lots of laughter and some very useful discussion on a range of topics.

Friday, 17 April 2009

It Worked!!!

I am well impressed with myself! I managed to do this without having to consult my resident computer expert or Dave Warnock. I can see lots of links appearing in future posts now I know how to do. Thanks again to Methodist Preacher for the suggestion

Still thinking!

Yes folks I am still thinking! I did look at the Methodist Recorder but there was nothing there that really grabbed me, although I do have to admit to being a little annoyed each month when we get an 8 page supplement about Alpha and Holy Trinity Brompton which reduces the actual pages of the recorder by 8 pages. I tend to think this is a little bit of a rip off - bad enough the Recorder costs £1-50 for 24 pages which works out at 6.25 pence per page but effectively this goes up to almost 10p per page when the supplement is included.
On a totally different topic I am reading the latest book by Jeff Lucas - 'Lucas Unleashed' which is Wesley Owen's Book of the Month so look out for a review when I have finished.
And on another totally different topic Methodist Preacher commented on my last post and suggested I should use some handcuffs to put links in my posts - it sounded like and interesting concept so I thought I would give it a go!
Check out Methodist Preachers item about cleaning the church

Thursday, 16 April 2009


Yes folks that's what I am doing - thinking! Now you may be tempted to ask what I am thinking or conversely you might not be interested at all.
For those who are interested I am thinking I should write something deep and meaningful or then again perhaps I should write something really controversial! Perhaps I should take up one of the themes being discussed on other blogs - is/was the resurrection real? (see connexions) Now there's a really interesting topic that might be worth a look at, or perhaps I should have a look at the evils of gambling but then perhaps not as Methodist Preacher is covering that. Perhaps I could comment on something in the Methodist Recorder which is usually here by now but due to school holidays will probably not arrive until mid morning - I may return to this one as there were a couple of things in last week's edition that I found quite interesting. Not sure that can happen two weeks running though -generally the most interesting items are the letters page and the advertisements.
Perhaps I could just sit her and write some absolute drivel - whoops!! that's what I've just done. O well better go now as it's almost time to go to work where no doubt there will lots to do as usual.

Monday, 13 April 2009


I took two services yesterday and as you might expect thought about the Easter story but took it from a slightly different angle.
I began by asking the congregation if they remembered the TV programme TW3 which of course was also known as 'that was the week that was'. Quite a few of the did remember it and I went on to share with folk a little of what I had been up to this last week which had been very busy (only one night when I wasn't doing anything). I then brought the folks thinking round to the week that Jesus and the disciples had and the whole range of emotions they would have gone through - imagine the joy and excitement of the entry into Jerusalem and then the sadness and grief as the Lord was taken from them and died.
And then we get to Easter day with Mary going off to the grave and finding what in her mind must have been the absolute worst case scenario - the body of her Lord was missing. Imagine how fast she must have run back to tell the other disciples and the state she was in when she got there. I think she may have had a bit of a job persuading the disciples that the body was missing, after all they were solid sensible men. When she did persuade them they too ran to look in the tomb only to find that Mary was right. I think this would have been an interesting scene - perhaps Mary might even have said I told you so!!
Of course there was more to come - their emotions must already have been over the place and Mary stayed in the garden for a while where she saw what she thought was the gardener and she engaged him in conversation asking if he knew where the body was - the 'gardener' then said just one word 'Mary' and immediately her blinded eyes and deaf ears were opened to the fact that here was her Lord - risen from the dead.
Now it may be that she broke the four minute mile the first time but I guess this time she would have run even faster and been even more agitated when she got back and shared with the disciples that she had seen the Lord. I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall to see and hear the disciples reaction to this one.
The thing that really struck me about this story this year was the deafness and blindness of Mary to the presence of her Lord. I wonder how often we are like Mary in that we neither see or hear the Lord - sometimes possibly because we choose not to. And how about the world - how much of Jesus have they seen this Easter or were their eyes blinded by the eggs and bunnies and hot cross buns of the commercialised Easter?
I pray that the various processions of witness and re-enactments of the story along with the various open airs and things like the dressing of crosses will be a tangible witness to the greatest story ever told and may bring people to enquire what we were doing and why? I pray too that we will be able to share with folk what it was all about and what it was all for.