Monday, 17 May 2010

Centrefold Celebrity

It will surely be the first and last time that I have found myself a centrefold celebrity. With the return of our newly restored weathervane, its goldleaf finish glistening in the sunlight, the photographer from the local paper was keen to get clicking with his camera. He was also keen to climb to the top of the church spire to capture some unique shots of the local community from the vantage point 80 feet up that the scaffolding afforded.
So in the current edition of the East Kent Mercury the entire centre pages have been devoted to pictures of Walmer, our weather vane, the Spire restoration and if I'm honest rather too many picture of the Pastor! (A search of the on-line photos at will reveal all!)
The press coverage has been great and good publicity for the church. The scaffolding has started to come down today and so the community will be able to see the work that has been undertaken in this first phase of work on the exterior of the building.
Inside we have been busy too...
On Saturday we held our new Fundraising Group's first event - a Table Top Sale. The weather was kind and throughout the morning we welcomed a steady flow of friends, old and new, to the see what was on offer. Tempted by my 'bacon butties' - yes even a vegetarian has to make sacrifices to raise funds for the church - the generous attenders helped swell the coffers by £315.
Over the last two Sundays we have taken the opportunity to focus on the mission of the church in the wider Church. We marked the start of Christian Aid week using their resources on work in Kenya. Every member of the congregation was given their own 'flying toilet' to take home along with a collection envelope to gather 2p's every time their toilet was used last week. This past Sunday we joined with friends in London and across the country celebrating the founding of the London City Mission. Walmer has long supported this work and we have retired LCM Missionaries in our congregation.
For me, formal studies for year 1 conclude tomorrow. I am eager to finish my final assignment due in on 1 June this week if I can. That said I have the joys of Child Protection training organised by SEBA to distract me later in the week plus the need for some creative thinking on how to celebrate Pentecost on Sunday.
Anyway, it will be good to be spared the regular journey to and from London for the summer and focus on the work in Walmer.
Watch this space for another update soon...

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Greetings from Plymouth

I don't think I have been this far west in England before! That said, Plymouth is not the end of the world and appears to be a thriving diverse community. Arriving at a popular easting house in the midst of a stag party with the 'guests' in fancy dress which left little to the imagination it was highly amusing to see sober Baptists lining the bar to place their orders for food alongside men scantily clad in stilettos and suspenders! What an introduction to Assembly!
That said it served as an introduction to an assembly weekend which proved to be refreshingly different to previous experiences.
From the outset the musical worship element was presented as thoughtful, reflective and, for those of us who appreciate these things, not too loud!
An evening of Taize chants and the opportunity to share in Liturgy from the Northumbria Community was refreshing as was the opportunity to sing well-chosen more traditional hymns often appropriately accompanied on the piano rather than the more awkward worship band accompaniment of recent years.
And with Assembly Listeners, frequent 'pauses' for silent reflection and the reflection boards there seems to be a definite attempt to listen to both one and another and to God - less being talked at more being listened too!!
It has been good to gain insights into the mission opportunities and development ideas being promoted by BUGB and BMS World Mission.
The seminars and plenary sessions have been helpful and at times stimulating for future theological and practical thinking.
From Tuesday I will be back home, engaging back with my community. I shall return to assignment writing and college studies.
Plymouth and Assembly has proved a refreshing and positive experience this year which for me at least is a welcome surprise.