Tuesday, 30 March 2010

It's a long way up!

This week's reflection is dominated by the experience of climbing to the top of the church spire. Now shrouded in green netting and scaffolding it was a remarkably safe experience to climb the 10 ladders to the very top. It was a shame that it was a damp, overcast day so the photo opportunities are limited but I shall venture to the top again on a sunny day armed with my camera.
The reporter from the local newspaper has been chasing me for old picture of the church for a 'now and then' feature she wants to run in the pre-Easter edition. It's nice the media are chasing us for a story rather than us pleading for coverage.
Palm Sunday worship was both moving and memorable as we had an all-age service reflecting on Hans Memling's painting 'Passion of Christ'. Everyone seemed to offer positive feedback on the interactive nature of the worship. (It was good too to have friends from Bloomsbury in the congregation too!)
Holy Week observance is marred a little by the need to be in college on Monday and Tuesday but everything is prepared for the forthcoming activities and service for later in the week.
We have counted 320 Easter Eggs ready for our Easter Egg hunt - hopefully the weather will be kind. We've had a 'dry-run' for our Baptism and now need to hope both the plumbing and the heating hold up.
Easter promises to be both busy and joyous - return for a report next week.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Feisty and flowing

It has been an interesting week. For the first time in our studies something touched a nerve within our class and at our PMP lecture last week we started expressing views in ways that thus far had layed dormant. It was good to hear some of the more timid members speak out and what started within PMP continued in our Reflection Group. Encouragingly, this freedom to share continues in the new week and it brings fresh engagement with our lectures as we start to shed our inhibitions and share what we truly believe. Long may it continue!

So from the 'feisty' discussions in college to the flowing discussions and activity of church life.
We continue to encounter 'People on the edge of His pain' in our Lenten studies. I have met with a small group of members to explore whether we might form a 'Friends' group. Interestingly our discussion moved from this more passive suggestion for fundraising to a far more pro-active, mission focused, approach with the team flowing with ideas for outreach activities and an enthusiasm to organise them and find others to help rather than rely on the already over stretched Deacons to do it. Exciting!

We also have met in the first of our responsibility clusters where we focused on 'Fabric'. In small groups we spent time auditing the condition of the building inside and out and identifying things we'd like to improve or change. This list is quite long and we need to prioritise things under headings of DIY and Professionals. There was enthusiasm for some work days to reduce the DIY list which again is encouraging.

Easter looms and it has been good to finalise all the service orders for services up to and including Easter Day. (We have a dry run for our baptism scheduled for this week to reassure the candidate -and me- of the logistics of the day.)

Sunday saw us uniting with our friends from Mongeham and Deal for a united service here at Walmer in the evening. It was good to share together with our friends who supported the evening in greater numbers than in the recent past.

Hopefully, on my return from college today I shall find that fliers for the Easter Egg hunt have come which I can take to school for them to distribute to the pupils. I'm likely to brave the scaffold tomorrow to inspect the works ongoing on our spire. News of this and of our Palm Sunday worship which will be , as we warned the congregation last Sunday, different! What would they (or you) expect?

Monday, 15 March 2010

I've been gardening

After a winter of virtual farming on Facebook with the advent of spring (or at least a couple of days of sunshine and warmer temperatures) I have spent some time in the garden. Lettuce seeds are planted as are a row of potatoes and the newly prepared vegetable patch has room for some additional planting. Out the front, some general pruning and tidying has been done and now I wait rather impatiently for the daffodils to finally flower.
On the subject of daffodils we marked Mothering Sunday reflecting on the tradition of the church to go 'a-mothering' and remembered our church roots in Deal and Eythorne. The children distributed daffodil posies to the congregation and we enjoyed simnel cake over coffee.
Cleaning of the spire in preparation for the architect's inspection has been completed - you can already see the difference the labours of the stonemason has brought.
The EK District fraternal at Canterbury was not as well supported as it might be and it is a shame that the dialogue between the churches I recall from my youth is not as strong today. That said, we prepare to host our cluster Baptist's Together service this Sunday with our friends at Deal and Mongeham.
Our Lenten Bible study series continues to prove popular and both the afternoon and evening sessions this week were poignant as we reflected on the experience of Mary on 'the edge of Jesus' pain'.
Plans for the Baptistmal service on Easter Day are well in hand and classes with the candidate are progressing well. Easter Cards have been delivered to all the local homes (1000 cards) and we hope some 'new' faces may come and encounter Easter with us.
The college routine of lectures and assignment writing returns this week after Reflection Week although the memory of Roy Searle's helpful Retreat Day last Tuesday lingers on.

Monday, 8 March 2010

A Day off...

Well it wasn't exactly a church free day nor was it a different experience, I spent my first 'Sunday off' from my responsibilities at Walmer back at Bloomsbury. It was great to be back amongst friends and have the opportunity to publically thank the church for its support of my 'new' ministry away from them. It was good to spend time chatting with folk who are not able to keep up with the news via this blog and to give some additional background information to those who take a keen interest in Walmer and how things are going.

As someone who struggles with taking 'time off' it was good to have a day that was full of familiar experiences and encounters to keep me occupied and so not worrying about what was happening back home.

But this blog needs to bring others up to date so here's the latest news...

The scaffolding on the spire is finished and as I blog from college, work on the initial stone cleaning should be underway. The Architect plans to inspect the state of the spire, thus far only assessed from the ground, and decide on whether any changes to the schedule of works are necessary.

The Deacons met this past week and it was good to have Alan as our newly elected deacon with us and sharing his wisdom in our deliberations.

We have encountered Judas this week in our Thursday Lenten studies and it has been encouraging to have good group discussions both at the afternoon and evening sessions.

Having rescued Alan from a visit from the Jehovah's Witnesses last week it was my turn to have a visit this week. Having corrected their assertion that Revelation was one of the writings of Paul and challenged the thrust of much of their Biblical interpretation the two ladies decided they had would end our doorstep conversation after 45 minutes. Although I assured them of my prayers for them they seemed reluctant to offer the same for me - I fear I'm noted in the book as one of the lost souls.

Our Fairtrade Coffee Morning was a great success. We sold all the Fairtrade stock I had brought from Bloomsbury for us to sell, all the delicious doughnuts provided by Dennis where eaten and we have a hall full of both regulars and visitors.

Added to all this I've had my picture taken for the local paper (again) which will be followed by an interview this week with a reporter about our spire appeal.

We've agreed a date for the first of our new 'responsibility cluster meettings' the Fabric Team will meet to discuss priorities for work on the bulding inside and out.

So it's been a busy as usual and the future promises more of the same...
Mothering Sunday is next followed by a Baptists Together Service on Passion Sunday evening. Palm Crosses are ordered, Easter Eggs are being stock piled for the Easter Egg hunt and preparations for the Baptismal Service on Easter Day are in hand.

Keep following for news...