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Archive for July, 2011

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:

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. Be a pew buddy – sit with her on a Sunday morning – if she has kids give her a hand with them.
  3. Let her know if you’ve been thinking of her or praying for her (maybe in writing).
  4. 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.
  5. 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?

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There’s been more stuff nicked from the Vicarage garden this weekend. I think this is worse than the coping stones – it was done right before my eyes outside the kitchen window. I was so outraged I took a photo…

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Not that I'm advocating heavy alcohol consumption or anything...

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.

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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.

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We love the kids music produced by Seeds Family Worship in the US. At the moment you can download a free memory song from their website – Romans 6v23.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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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?

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