Saturday, 26 September 2015

Jesus you're my mobile phone charger

You're my mobile phone charger
I plug into you and I am energised
I can keep going because of you
But when I further to plug into you
I loose focus and energy and am depleted

Again this was sparked by Andy Freeman's worship on the Mission Shaped Ministry Course today.

Jesus is knocking

Revelation 3:20-21 “Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you."

Jesus is knocking
On my door
Should I open it
I'm just not sure

Should I let him in
Opening door wide
Coz if I do
There's no where to hide

What a silly fear
Coz let's be clear
I know in my heart
He's already here

So I'll open the door
I'll welcome Jesus "hi"
"Come into my house
You're welcome in my life"

Thanks to Andy Freeman for the worship at Mission Shaped Ministry Course which led to this poem today.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Miscarriage and Pastoral Care Grove Book

Tina Hodgett and I have been thrilled to see the publication of our book Miscarriage and Pastoral Care by Grove Books.

It is summarised as:

Despite being relatively common in women of childbearing age, miscarriage can sometimes feel like a taboo subject, with churches—in common with society at large—often lacking the understanding and insight to care sensitively for those whom it touches.

This careful study explores the theme of miscarriage and the pain, loss and grief that surround it, examining how churches can best support individuals and families who have suffered pregnancy loss.

CMS Pioneers

In June I became a CMS lay pioneer minister, joining other risk takers and God followers as a part of the CMS community.  It was an amazing day and the community is a source of strength and inspiration to me every day.

CMS mission pioneers

Bible stories in Bemba in action

These photos are what it was all about.
One book of bible stories
In their language
In their hands
Changing lives

Contemplation for all #prayer

I accidentally stumbled upon this amazing Tree of Contemplative practices and want the to share it as widely as I can.

In church settings you'll hear all about the importance of contemplation and often it is taken as meaning silence or retreat or stillness. 

There's no denying that these things are important to many and can do most of us some good, but some of us have always felt that we are best fed by action. 

Now we can be open about this fact and embrace different ways of contemplation.

© The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society
Concept & design by Maia Duerr; illustration by Carrie Bergman

PPP Messy Church Confirmation

On the fourth birthday of PPP messy church we came together for the most amazing celebration. Seven of the messy church mums were being confirmed at St Nicolas Earley by the Bishop of Reading, Andrew Proud.  I knew the day was going to be emotional but I hadn't expected it to be quite as powerful as it was. 

I had put off writing their cards until the morning; and as I wrote a poem, with a specific verse for each of them, I could send these movement of the Holy Spirit.  I was tingling with joy and hope and love and could not wait to be a small part of their huge day.

We started the session as we always do at messy church; gathering with a story. Today I'd chosen to tell the story of Jesus' baptism and then I sent everyone off to the various craft stations.  The 100 or so adults and kids crowded around the tables decorating cup cakes, forming colours of faith bracelets, creating a large piece of handprint art and making doves of all different sorts.

As hands were washed the mums stood with the Bishop, ready to go into church and be confirmed by him.  (See the photo in the article below in The Door paper.)  + Andrew led the service perfectly, with words for all ages and a relaxed approach; explaining what was happening and inviting the Holy Spirit to move in and around all present. 

And after it all we ate, altogether, in celebration.  What a celebration.

I had tears in my eyes through it all; tears of joy and friendship and amazement at what four years of doing as God inspired could do.  It was everything I could ever have hoped for for those women and I will never forget it.

But you know what?  It's not the end.
These women are the future; of messy church, of church, of God at work in this place, their homes and everywhere they go. How awesome is that!

Fresh expression story: Oakwood Forest Church

Oakwood Forest Church has been written up as a fresh expression of church on their website.  This is the first Forest Church to be included in this way and our hope is that it encourages other pioneers to explore this way of being church in their communities.

Fresh expression story: PPP Messy Church

PPP Messy Church has been featured as a fresh expression story on their website.  It's well worth a look; and whilst you're there why not look at some of the other amazing ways of being church.

Now I'm off my mood stabiliser...

Two years ago I agreed to taking a mood stabiliser to control my bipolar.
The depression was terrifyingly low.
That was the start of a major journey with my physical health.

Within two months of taking Quetiapine I was suffering with my asthma.

Within four months I couldn't walk and breathe but no one knew why.

Within six months I could barely function at all, my breathing was laboured ever at rest and still there was no clue why.

They upped my asthma drugs.
They added in new drugs.
They tested my lungs and my heart.
They tried yet more drugs.
They tried no new drugs.
They took blood every week.
They were confused every week.
I stopped calling for results.
I started researching.

That's when I started asking questions about this mood stabiliser; and that's when I got the answers I hadn't expected.

At last someone listened and agreed.
So I started a slow withdrawal.
Really slow.
Slower than that!
It had to be slow because the risk of wick withdrawal was death.

Five months later, at half my initial dose, my body got to the end of its tether and started to shut down.
My organs could take no more.
I could take no more.
So I took no more.

[There's probably a book in this last two years but I think I'd rather forget most of it. But one thing I'll never forget is the amazing support and prayers of friends in and out of church.]

I came off that mood stabiliser.
And I haven't looked back.
Not once.

But.... I have noticed one strange thing....