Saturday, 30 April 2011

Bloggiog from Blackpool

It is Baptist Assembly weekend and I am sunning myself 'up north' in Blackpool. The weather is warm and sunny and the opportunities to network with friends past and present is great as well hearing inspirational addresses from notebale leaders in the Baptist Union.
Reflecting back on the last few weeks it is clear I am a bit behind with updates!
Holy Week saw us at Walmer prepare for Easter with reflections each lunchtime that attracted 10+ people each day. Good Friday was appropriately reflective and everyone left with both a hot cross bun and a hand crafted 'cross in my pocket'.
Easter Saturday saw the fun and chaos of our Easter Egg Hunt with a good number of children trying their hardest to claim the 500 egg prizes we had available. The creativity of our ladies who entered our bonnet parade was great - not least the winning bunny design.
Easter Day saw an early start with sunshining as we celebrated Easter Communion at 8am in the park. We shared breakfast together in the Hall before joining with Celia in celebrating her baptism with a much bigger than usual congregation.
Before heading here to Blackpool on the day of the Royal Wedding I took a few days holiday seizing the opportunity to finish and submit two of the remaining four outstanding assignments of this semester. Hopefully the last two will be completed in the next few weeks well ahead of the June deadline.
Blogging should return to normal next week and will doubtless include a further update on the Baptist Assembly experience!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Books, Eggs and Getting Wet...

We're unning a bit behind the politicians, but at college we begin our Easter recess after lectures on Tuesday. With a late Easter and the May Bank Holiday it seems we will be away from college for almost a month. This means that if assignments are going to be written and submitted upon my return I need to take my full allocation of books home. This week then, I am like a pack horse laden with books on the Great Awakening, Evangelism, Atonement and commentaries on Paul's letter to the Colossians. That's enough to keep me busy in itself but, of course, when I get home there will be plenty to occupy my time. Easter looms and that at the moment means counting Easter Eggs in readiness for our Easter Egg Hunt. It also means arranging a dry run with our baptismal candidate in the baptistery, checking the heater is still working and also ensuring that our 'wardrobe mistress' has got towels, gowns, etc. ready for the big day. A member of a neighbouring church has confirmed they've finished the mini cross-stiched crosses I've requested for distribution on Good Friday. The guest preacher for Palm Sunday (I'm taking the Sunday off!) has sent through the order of service. Easter invitation cards are bundled ready for distribution. And, hopefully, two members are working on my suggestion to create an Easter Garden in one of the church planters in our grounds that is viewed by bus passengers and passersby every day. So, I have assignments to write after pouring over the books I have at home, doubtless there will be chocolate to eat or at least see others enjoying eating, and on Easter Day the prospect of getting wet as we celebrate our Easter faith with a baptism - Hallelujah!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Removing the blindfolds

It amazes me that my congregation will try anything without protest. As we reflected on the story of Jesus healing the man born blind, so they dutifully put on the blindfolds they had been given and sat listening to the service with their eyes covered.
This sight of them (no pun intended) easily matches that of them blowing bubbles together in church on Pentecost Sunday last year.

When the blindfold came off we celebrated Mothering Sunday with the distribution of plants that the children had decorated and displayed at the front of church while the grown-ups where blindfolded.

This Sundy saw the start of our pledge drive to see whether we can commit to raising sufficient funds over the next five years to sustain either full or part-time ministry beyond my placement. The Deacons have worked hard preparing an information pack which has gone to every member and friend for their prayerful consideration.

Easter looms and nervously but excitedly our baptismal candidate is preparing for her act of witness on Easter Day. Invitation cards for our full programme of Holy Week and Easter services and activities have arrived and we will distribute them to homes locally next week.

Easter Eggs are coming in in a variety of sizes for our Easter Egg Hunt which I will be promoting at school at an assembly I'm taking on Wednesday before the start of the Easter holidays.

With the sun shining, and spring well and truely here with the gardens bursting forth with colour, as an Easter person I am a 'happy bunny' looking forward to sharing with the congregation and the community the Easter story and hopefully, for some removing the their blindfolds to reveal the mystery of our faith we celebrate.