On our Pathfinder Venture this summer we’ll be studying the bible in small groups with the young people. Our leader, Tim Ambrose, has made this great video with some very funny tips on leading a study:
Archive for July, 2011
Posted in Bible study, tagged 11-14yos, Bible study, camp, Children, Christ, Christianity, CPAS, dorms, faith, funny, Kids, leadership, Pathfinders, small groups, summer holiday, top tips, venture, video, Vimeo, young people on 25 July, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
Posted in Church, Vicar's wife job description, tagged Christian, Church, CofE, encouragement, faith, five ways, help, list, minister's wife, Ministry, parish, Vicar's wife on 14 July, 2011 | 19 Comments »
A lovely parishioner visited me yesterday and brought a bunch of flowers, knowing that I’d had a pretty stressful few days. Sometimes being the Vicar’s wife can feel lonely. You’re in a weird situation that not many people understand and people keep on calling at your front door asking the Vicar to mend their bikes (amongst other things last night). So when someone from our congregation thinks of me and lets me know they’ve been thinking of me, it really warms my heart. A little encouragement goes a long way and helps me to persevere.
And then a Vicar’s wife friend on Facebook asked for some help in drafting a talk on ‘Five Ways to Encourage a Minister’s Wife’ (she’s not just speaking to Anglicans). There were lots of great ideas there – and they’ve inspired me to write my five:
- Treat the Vicar’s wife as a real person, a normal member of the church family. Don’t give her too many messages for the Vicar as she’ll feel horribly guilty when she forgets.
- Be a pew buddy – sit with her on a Sunday morning – if she has kids give her a hand with them.
- Let her know if you’ve been thinking of her or praying for her (maybe in writing).
- Make sure she regularly gets on the Minister’s Wives conference, or a retreat, or something spiritually refreshing, and try to ensure she gets enough time with her husband.
- Flowers, wine and chocolate, obviously, or even an invitation to Sunday lunch for the whole family.
Many of these things would encourage any church member, but I’ve tried to highlight some of the things I’ve found especially encouraging myself. What do you think?
Sundays in the Vicarage can be rather busy and stressful. This Sunday was no exception, as you’ll know if you follow me on Twitter. I thought I’d share a picture of the Vicar helping me (and some lovely visitors) to cope before we ate lunch.
Posted in Inner city, tagged BBC, deprivation, health, high street, hydrogenated fat, Inner city, obesity, Poverty, public health, Radio 4, rescue, Sandwell, save, Sheila Dillon, Tesco, trans fats, West Bromwich on 11 July, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
This weekend the Engineer’s godmother, Song, told me that our tow-un had been mentioned on Radio 4′s Food Programme. But not in a good way. It was in a programme looking at the effects and prevalence of trans-fats – factory produced fats which are used in cheap foods and which are linked to obesity and other health problems. Some national companies like McDonalds and KFC have signed up to a pledge to remove all trans-fats from their food by the end of this year. But small independent companies, like most of the ones in our high street, have generally not signed up.
The Food Programme’s presenter, Sheila Dillon, visited our high street (at around 15 minutes into the programme) with Sandwell’s Director of Public Health, Dr John Middleton. Dr Middleton says that Sandwell has been described as ‘fat central’ and that the quality of food that can be bought in the area is a factor in the obesity issues here.
And last week our local paper posted an article about how the high street here is one of the worst in the UK. The rental prices for retail property in the town have plummeted because the profits that can be made are so low that retailers are reluctant to operate here. So nearly all the shops sell cheap or heavily discounted products, which brings us trans-fats in the cut-price food and then the associated health problems.
So here, unlike Bristol, here we’re waiting for Tesco to save and regenerate our high street, as their new superstore is built. Saving and regenerating the town’s people, however, is something only God can do.
The other week the Engineer’s godmother, Song, invited the Vicar and I to join her at David Austin Roses on the Vicar’s day off. We enjoyed our visit very much – they have gardens full of beautiful fragrant roses and a great tearoom. And more than that, Song went away with a lovely pink rose to cover a bank by her house and we came home with three rambling roses for our garden wall. We decided we could use them to deter coping stone thieves and nosey kids who like to peek over the wall. And they’ll look fabulous and smell delightful.
The Vicar has planted two roses by the back garden wall, with wooden posts and connecting wires, and another by the front door. Now we just need to get our plants to grow and bloom like this one. What do I need to know?
Posted in Faith, tagged Bible By the Beach, Children, Christian, Church, extempore prayer, faith, families, grown-ups, intercession, Junior Church, Kids, M&Ms, prayer, Skittles, small groups, Smarties, students, Sunday school, sweeties, sweets, youth group on 4 July, 2011 | 8 Comments »
Recently we have started a new way of praying in our Junior Church. I was fresh back from Bible By the Beach, and the fantastic youth and children’s work that went on there. And from there we have snaffled an idea which helps our youngsters to think of something to pray for, and that encourages them to pray for a variety of things. Our secret: sweeties!
Every week the leader goes armed with a packet of Skittles (M&Ms or Smarties would work too). They go in a bowl and at our prayer time each child takes a sweetie. Then they say a prayer triggered by the colour of the sweet. Depending on the colour selection, you can make up your own code. Ours is as follows:
- Red – a sorry prayer
- Purple – prayer for the sick
- Green – prayer for the world
- Orange – a thank you prayer
- Yellow – prayer for the church
- Blue (when we have the special packet) – anything you like!
This would work for any small group – even grown ups who want a different way to pray. And good for families too – our kids love it!
Posted in Church, Inner city, tagged bikes, bomb, cannabis, cars, Church, church hall, community, crime, dealing, drugs, Immigration, Inner city, news, Police, raid, Rolls Royce, Semtex, suspicious package, theft on 1 July, 2011 | 1 Comment »
We had some excitement in the parish today – a ‘suspicious package’ was found in a house just round the corner that was being raided for drugs. Residents in houses close to the raided property were evacuated, and we were asked if we could accommodate them in the church hall.
So we were there with the teapots and some biscuits, on and off all morning, whilst we all speculated about what was happening. I quite enjoyed myself – particularly because I met a couple of neighbours that we’d not previously had the chance to speak to. It was a bit of a pain for them, though – one friend was without her diabetic medication, another lady had her two young children with her, but not their toys, people needed to get their cars to get to work. Most folk took the opportunity to go shopping in town but returned later to hang around and chat at the end of the street or pop into the hall for more refreshments.
Finally, after about 31/2 hours, we were told that people could go home. I stayed behind in the hall to tidy up and the local PCSO and his Sergeant came and chatted. Turns out the suspicious package wasn’t Semtex, as had been suspected, but something to do with with preparation of drugs. They seized cannabis wraps from the property and made three arrests. More drug dealing – the house next door to that one was raided a few weeks ago and seizures made for the same thing. I reckon you could probably raid a couple of houses on every street in this parish and find evidence of drug use or dealing.
The police were quite cheery, as these arrests were made on top of two successful operations locally earlier this week. A house just opposite the church was raided and found to contain a stolen motorbike and 27 stolen bicycles. And only last night they carried out some checks with immigration officials. They found illegal immigrants, but also some dodgy vehicles that were being stripped down, including a vintage Rolls and a BMW that had been nicked from Police HQ.
So a good week for clamping down on crime – well done to our local coppers. It does make you wonder what’s happening behind closed doors when the police aren’t calling. And makes us pray for this broken parish all the more.