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New Seeds

If you have been reading the blog for a while, you’ll know we are fans of Seeds Family Worship here in the Vicarage, especially their kinetic typography videos. I just came across a couple of new videos they’ve done. Maybe not quite as fancy as the early ones, but still brilliant for teaching memory verses – at home, in Junior Church or Kids Club, in school assembly or even with the full church family on a Sunday.

The first one is John 16:33 – Take heart

 

And the latest production – just out this week- is Hebrews 4:12 – The Word of God

It’s a busy start to the academic year here in the Vicarage. I think it may be my favourite time of year, when I’m feeling all relaxed post holiday, with the last vestiges of summer sunshine lingering and the excuse for the purchase of new stationery. And there are new beginnings – new Ministry Trainees this year, new school years for the kids (and a whole new school for the Joker as he starts secondary education), new plans for church life, a feeling of potential for growth and change.

The new Ministry Trainees moved in a couple of weeks ago. We are excited about all that God will do with and through King and the Shropshire lad. They’ve already been to church services and socials, King has been on a training conference, they have moved chairs and been to the zoo with the Vicarage family (the actual zoo, not just a meal time round the dining table). This morning they experienced their first school assembly. Within a couple of months they should be leading one. There may have to be some training in action songs first. I think we have their heads spinning a little. In a good way.

The Joker began secondary school by being so fast to get to the bus home that he missed me waiting at the main entrance to school. It was a very dull journey back for me on the later bus. But we know he knows what he’s doing. Better than his mum, anyway.

And now my stationery pile beckons. I’ve been told that it’s no good just having shiny new notebooks. I think I need to write things in them.

We didn’t just bring bottles of wine back from France this summer.

So I mentioned earlier this week that our attic is full for this coming academic year… And then I had a tweet from another vicar’s wife who doesn’t exactly have an attic, but does have a space for a Ministry Trainee at their church in St Bees. So I said I’d get the word out. Their location is totally different to ours – rural Cumbria (with seaside!), and there is a lot of work with a local school involved – it looks like a great post for the right person. Cliff, the vicar, wrote to me with some further and better particulars of the post, which might whet your appetite:

St Bees is an ancient church complete with a famous dead crusader and a legendary Irish princess, but with a desire today to bring the Gospel to our community. The vicar is Cliff Swartz, an American who with his wife Katie moved to England in 1997. They’ve lived and worked in Cambridge and East Yorkshire, and had some years back in the States for boarding school ministry in New England and parish ministry in Manhattan. Each time they’ve moved, God has blessed them with a child, which means five children over their seventeen years of married life. They are now never going to move again. Cliff’s wife Katie is the one who would really give all the wisdom to the trainee, but don’t tell the wardens.

Cliff is vicar of the Priory Church in St Bees, which is moving along from middle of the road gently declining Anglican village church, by introducing a ministry with a greater focus on teaching the Bible to all ages and in all settings, and so it is gently growing and reaching its community, by God’s grace. The parish has been excited to have its first ministry trainee this past year. He has been encouraged to stay for the optional second year. We hope to add a second ministry trainee, and would prefer a young woman, but the right person is more important. Twenty pupils went along to a Gloddaeth Holidays camp (glod.co.uk) this summer from St Bees School, and the youth work in the parish is getting off the ground, so there is lots to do in that area. We are small enough to craft an experience to meet the gifts of the trainee, and mix up work at the Priory Church, St Bees School and the North West Partnership which offers the weekly training course.

Housing and term time meals are provided in staff housing at St Bees School. A grant is made available for living expenses along with ministry expenses and training expenses paid by the church council. We are a small outfit, where a broad experience and a safe environment to learn and grow can be achieved. We live in a beautiful, but remote, place, and so insist on the participation of ministry trainees both in the North West Partnership scheme as well as the Living Room, which is the 20-something Christian group run with a church in partnership with us here. And you’ll be home for Christmas.

There is a proper advert that Cliff sent me but I can’t get it to load up, but you can download an application form from their church website or email him vicar [at] stbeespriory [dot] org. BytheSea came to us via this blog last year because the Children’s Worker at his church is a reader. Maybe you or someone you know might like to work with Cliff and Katie…

Ministry and the seaside, an enticing combination

My lovely daughter turned 13 whilst we were away on our Pathfinder Venture. I popped my head round the door of her dorm to say Happy Birthday. Her first teenage words to me:

Go away Mummy!

(In her defence, I should probably mention that she was getting changed at the time….)

There’s all sorts of summer news on our Ministry Trainees past, present and future:

1. Our first Vicarage Ministry Trainee, Happy, was ordained into the presbyterate at the end of June. He’s going to come and celebrate Holy Communion here whilst we’re off on our summer holidays. Happy’s dad was ordained deacon this Petertide too.

2. Rocky, who survived a whole two years in our attic, was ordained deacon at the end of June. He and Bee are now living a short car ride away from us, excited to be serving back in the Black Country.

3. Gambit, who was a Ministry Trainee in our church in Wolverhampton, was also priested this Petertide. We were very happy to join with him in serving young people on our Pathfinder Venture just last week.

4. BytheSea, who’s been living with us this year, went to his Bishop’s Advisory Panel in early June and has been recommended for training. He’s now finished in the Vicarage and is off to train at theological college in September.

5. Red has also left us, to be a Ministry Trainee at the church where his fiancée is already working. He is hoping to go for Church of England selection in a few months’ time.

6. Very excitingly, two new Ministry Trainees have been appointed to join us at the end of August. King is coming to us from Essex via studies in Wales and The Shropshire Lad is from the opposite end of Lichfield diocese. Although it’s sad to see BytheSea and Red leave us, we’re excited about all the things that God will do with a change in the staff team in church and the new gifts and attributes that the new MTs will bring. Do please pray for the new-look Vicarage household. These are the first Ministry Trainees to come to a house with a teenager in it….

Woody and Buzz

Because I lose this number every year I thought I’d put it on the blog. And I thought you might need it too. If you are doing a Child Tax Credit return and you are an Anglican clergy family (or, I’m told, a spy or other sort of strange profession, but I’m also told it only applies to Anglican clergy – a perk of the established church, perhaps), you don’t call the number they have on the Child Tax Credit form. That would be too obvious.

You have to call their special secret number: 0345 302 1493. And unlike the main number, it is only open Monday-Friday from 8.30-5pm. Today it is experiencing ‘high call volumes’. And you only have until 31st July to call them. But at least you won’t spend hours on hold to the wrong number first….

Our plaster disaster is taking a while to sort out. I think we’re at 5 weeks meeting in the church hall on Sundays now. The builders have been busy removing great chunks of plaster and replacing it, and have been putting protective epoxy on some of the woodwork (I think, I wasn’t taking in the detail very well). They’ve had a lot to do – it all needs painting to match the existing decoration too. A much loved saint from our congregation went on to glory a couple of weeks ago and it would be lovely if the church could be ready for her funeral next week. I spoke to the builders as they finished yesterday and I think we’re going to be on track for finishing in time.

In the meantime, there is an enormous scaffolding structure occupying the whole of the front of the church. Our building is a great space, and pretty flexible as Victorian churches go. But getting scaffolding and builders sorted out is a lot more complicated than when there’s a bit of plaster coming down in the bathroom at home. Various brilliant members of the church have been involved in finding, contacting and appointing the contractor and organising diocesan architects and what not. The Vicar has had a hand on it all – including a trip to the top of the scaffolding. And I’ve been letting the contractors in and out for the last few days. There’s been a fair few people involved.

Next week could be a bit tight and is sure to require all hands on deck with the mops and dusters once the workers have left. We love our building, but it can be quite a lot of work. The photos are pretty rubbish, I’m afraid – but you can get an idea of the scaffolding size at least. The work is going on at the junction between the main roof (painted a shade of orange) and the wall between the nave and the chancel (a version of magnolia). Damp and ants were our problems. Hopefully the epoxy should stop the damp and the lack of damp will discourage the ants and we’ll not have anything more fall from the heights for a few years. I’m staying optimistic on this.

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