Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The Journey is Nearly Over?

By the end of tomorrow I will have travelled to and from London four times in a week. I feel I know intimately the wrorkings of Southeastern trains and their network services between the Kent Coast and London. If I'm honest I shall not be sorry to end the weekly commute to London for college lectures which will end in just a dew weeks time. Not that I'm counting but I have two journeys for routine lectures left, one for revision week, two for PMP weeks in June and the finally one for Graduation Day on 23 June.
Of course in addition, there's the delight of a coach trip to London for my Ordination, now less than two weeks away.
This past week's extra travel has been in order to attend the Baptist Assembly Meetings - a very different feeling Assembly perhaps because of its location format and content.
Whilst I have been in Walmer, albeit briefly, there has been opportunity to get out into the community at the Broconte event organised by the Parish Council where our church stall raised over £100 for church funds.
Back in London it was good to reconnect with friends from the American Church, catch up on news and enjoy a delicious italian meal.
Since the last blog we've met in Church Meeting, evicted pigeons nesting in the spire and continued our prparations for our Jubille planting scheme.
This week sees the first of our bring-and-share fellowship lunches - a new venture to build community.
Whilst the journeys to London may soon be over doubtless new journeying opportunities will doubtless present themselves as both Pastor and people continue to discern how best we connect with our community and continue our Kingdom building journey.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Too much chocolate...

Easter is behind us but my waistline testifies to it having happened and the experience has been good in many ways.
In the run-up to Holy Week we had an industrious time outside the church leveling the former flower bed and gravel path ready for the arrival and laying of new turf. Already the area looks so much better and over the next few weeks our Jubilee planting scheme will start to take shape as plants which will bloom in reds, whites and blues will fill bed and our new wall planters.
Holy Week began with the usual palm waving on Palm Sunday before we began to journey through Holy Week each day with lunchtime reflections. Maundy Thursday was observed with supper and communion at Victoria, Deal and we gathered for sombre reflection on Good Friday to remember the crucifixion.
Chaos, as ordered as possible, ensued on Easter Saturday afternoon when 50+ children and parents came hunting for Easter Eggs - with over 300 eggs of various sizes to give away there was too much chocolate!
Easter Sunday Celebrations began in the open-air with communion in the park followed by breakfast in the hall. Then the 'big splash'! It was great to share with Frieda and her family in the joy of her baptism - her testimony was very moving!
Catching a few days away, it is now back to college for the final round of lectures and the need to write the final assignments. I've had my exit interview with the Principal who acknowledged my 'distinctiveness' had made its mark!
So, plans for my Ordination start to take shape and the good people of Bloomsbury seem to have that under control. The only worry now is what to wear on the day - nothing fits - too much chocolate!!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

God is in control

I have to admit that I don't usually read The Sun newspaper. However, this week as I travelled to college I encountered a copy left by another passenger. The headline affirmed 'God is in control'.
As my college journey nears its end with a few essays left still to write it is good to be reminded of who it is who has been guiding the process.
This too is true of church life where clearlyGod is control.
I have met with both my field placement tutor and supervisor and reflected upon the way in which God is blessing both my ministry and the church. The Deacons have met with my supervisor and completed my final apraisal form.
It was good to spend time with my support group at Bloomsbury sharing highs and lows of both college and church life.
College is now over until after Easter. Holy Week and Easter services loom and need to be finalised.
I look at the next three weeks when I shall be busy, busy, busy at church and cling to the essential truth that 'God is in control'.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Keeping in touch with friends on the journey.

It is good that we don't travel our journey alone and it is good that we can connect with friends old and new from time to time. Having taken on the role as East Kent Network Home Mission Champion we took a Sunday to remind ourselves of our wider Baptist family and the partnership that helps us support them and they us. We are grateful to be in receipt of a BU Ministry Grant which supports our ministry and it was good to watch BUGB video clips which showed us of similar work to ours in different parts of the country.
Together with friends from the churches of our community we shared the story of the Christian women of Malaysia when we hosted the annual World Day of Prayer service.It was good to have almost every church represented and members taking part.
Another friendship grouping is our local Deal Area Churches Together fraternal. It was good, as always, to meet with clergy colleagues to chat, laugh and plan together.
Interspersed with this was the visit to a care home resident who had been moved to Walmer to be nearer her family but whom friends in the West Country where anxious about. It was good to assure her others were caring and concerned - friends on her journey taking an interest.
Finally, it was good to catch up with old friends passing through the UK on a grand tour of the World - next stop Paris.
So it has been a week of making connections, reminding ourselves of those who take an interest in us as individuals and as a church.
By the time I post the next update, I will have met with my Supervisor and Field Placement Tutors for the final time and also with my Support Group at Bloomsbury. Their friendships, support and interest is greatly valued.
So I, personally, thank God for friends who keep in touch with me on my journey.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

D'oh I'm a Simpsons expert?

Amazingly my assignment on The Simpsons for the Cultural Hermenuetics module has been marked and returned with a mark beyond my wildest expectations. Similarly my reflections on the Thailand Trip have been marked and so all the assignments for Semester 1 have been completed.
Having taken a break for half term in Berlin - cold and snowy - its back to college for the final round of lectures and their associated assignments. Colleaugues are sharing joys and frustrations experienced as part of the Settlement process and I'm glad not to have that added stress.
In Walmer we continue our planning for the Jubilee and Olympics. This week sees the resumption of Friday Night Pizza with our two teenage girls. The Sunday Club team are preparing worship for Mothering Sunday.
The local paper has printed a photo and article on our new Badminton Group and, this week, should feature the knitters and photos from the Ukraine where the latest shipment of jumpers etc went.
Lent has begun and with our Anglican friends we are running a series of studies exploring the theme: 'Finding Welcome'.
Life therefore remains busy and full of challenges with little time to watch anything as trvial as The Simpsons.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Home Run....

So the final semester of my degree course begins. Two assignments from the previous are still being marked but assuming they make the grade it is just the assignments for my last three modules and the dreaded PMP folder that remain to be completed. Guidelines for the arrangements of the forthcoming Graduation Day in June have been circulated.
Today, compulsory modules on Early Baptist Church History and Encountering World Faiths have begun. Tomorrow, my option of Module Exploring Spiritualities will round off my college days for the week.
The last two weeks at home has seen further planning for our grounds project to mark Olympic and Jubilee year. We've marked education Sunday with a visit from Ruth Gouldbourne, braving a heavy snow fall which gave Ruth and Ian a challenging journey back to London.
We celebrated a blessed Church Year in 2011 at our AGM on Saturday acknowledging that together we had achieved such a lot and that our finances were in a healthy state.
This week sees us host the rehearsal for the forthcoming Womens World Day of Prayer Service and the first of our fun Games Evenings for this year is scheduled for Friday.
I've rashly booked a holiday in Berlin for the Half Term break where I will meet up with an old friend who is a Lutheran Pastor.
The next update is likely in two weeks ... watch this space!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Semester end looms...

Ok, so Christmas happened, and although it already seems a distant memory it needs to be recalled. Having hoped for snow, which never came, the week before Christmas saw time spent decorating the church for the season - battery operated (health and safety compliant) candles flickered and our alternative Christmas Tree reminded us that a story beginning with a baby in a manger leads to a man dying on a cross and more...

Our all-age Nativity saw everyone get involved in re-telling the familiar story despite the wise men's enthusiasm to get to journey's end without following the star on the 'long' journey around the church!
Traditional readings from the King James Version of the Bible (acknowledging its 400th year) were well by a group of new readers at our Carol Service. The families kept coming and coming for our Family Carols on Christmas Eve which filled the church and was a great encouragement. Christmas Day saw another full church of young and old.

Between the holiday weekends there was time to write an assignment - a further achieved in the first week of the new year!

The pressure is on to write 3000 words on my specialist subject - The Simpsons - D'oh, why did I opt for Cultural Hermeneutics?

We are preparing for a busy church year and our AGM is in three weeks time when we will reflect on our finances and our life together in the past year, dreaming dreams together for 2012 and seeking to discern God's will and plans.

The Vicar comes to preach this Sunday as part of Christian Unity Week and we anticipate Ruth Gouldbourne's visit on Education Sunday in a few week's time.

With the deadlines looming for the end of the penultimate semester, the pressure is on but updates will come here even if regular readers may need to prompt me.