Archive for September, 2012

I spotted this new gospel outline video from Glen Scrivener recently. I was reminded to post it on here after last night’s Messy Church, where we began a three part (obvs) series on the Trinity. I’m not sure many of us would choose to begin sharing our faith with something we see as complicated, but Glen shows us that it’s actually a great place to start.

Check out the 3-2-1 website for more details.

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There is some good news about our high street. The Indian sweet shop and essential source of Vicarage samosas has not, in fact, shut down. They are just closed on Mondays. Phew.

However, Padda’s supermarket (together with the two other associated shops) is still shut. Theories as to the reason for its closure are still unconfirmed, but added to the speculation about immigration issues and bank woes was the suggestion that the shops may have been closed by Food Standards. A few people thought the shop fridges were not cold enough and also that Food Standards were the only people who could shut a shop down so quickly.

So we are still devoid of a handy source of aubergines, lemons, poppadoms and large bags of onions. You’ll be relieved to hear that we’re just about coping. What happens next remains to be seen but it’s looking like the reduction of retail options in our tow-un is continuing.

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One of the many excellent things about living in the inner city is being close to cheap local shopping. This includes being able to buy 10kg bags of onions and samosas about 100yds from our front door – very handy for this curry loving Vicarage. Paddas is an Indian grocers which sells everything you need for curry and much else beside – there are two shops, either side of the dual carriageway. Then there’s a meat shop ie a butcher which doesn’t sell beef and a ‘sweet’ shop, selling samosas, pakora and eyewateringly sweet Indian treats.

Well, it was excellent. Because this morning I went out in search of onions for tonight’s curry and four shops were shuttered up. I thought perhaps there’d been a family bereavement and went further into the tow-un in the hunt for my groceries.

I asked the chaps in the shop I went into what had happened. Was it a death, or perhaps a raid from Immigration? But they said that the shops had been shut ‘by the bank’. And that theirs might be next to go because Mr Padda is their landlord. They said it was ‘Mr Cameron’s fault’ and laughed like they thought there might be a little more to the story.

I hope their shop stays open. On the way home I saw a lady with a shopping trolley who was walking painfully towards the town. I asked her if she knew what had happened, but she was just aware that the shops had shut. She said she lived around the corner and had found it so convenient to shop there. We’ll miss you Paddas.

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I have kept on forgetting to blog this – I was too tired before the summer and now it seems a bit late. But just in case there’s someone with massive skills in rapid filling of forms, a desire to serve alongside the Vicar in our multicultural inner city parish, and a good appetite for homemade cake, how about checking out the advert on our church website for a Families and Communities Worker. The deadline is this Friday, so you’ll have to get your socks on if you want to apply!

If it’s not the job for you, do please pray that the Lord sends us just the right person, and that God’s kingdom will grow here.

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This summer I was sent a review copy of Emma Scrivener’s book ‘A New Name’. Emma writes a fantastic blog on identity, body image and faith. You should read her blog and her book, whether these particular things are issues for you or not. In them both, she deals with the heart of what it means to be human and where we can find satisfaction for the hunger we all feel deep inside.

The book is the story of her own battle with anorexia as a teenager, and as a grown-up married ministry wife and seemingly sorted Christian. She describes the addictive nature of controlling your eating and how, despite seeming to be outwardly ‘cured’, she was still a captive of fear, pride and self-will. And she describes how Christ met her with grace in her brokenness and showed her that he could satisfy all of her longings and all of her hungers.

Once I picked this book up I couldn’t put it down. Emma’s writing is witty, lyrical and provocative. She doesn’t pull her punches when she describes the ugliness of anorexia, but the book is full of humour and hope. Once I’d finished reading, the Vicar devoured it in a couple of days and was similarly challenged and inspired by hearing how God met with Emma in the depths and brought her healing.

If you long for anything, this book is for you – it’s a must-read.

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How do you go about training a couple of Christian lads who are thinking about possible ordination? We have a programme that includes a bible training course and lots of practical experience in church life. But sometimes the unplanned events are the ones that help to give the deepest insight into Christian ministry.

A messy tomb in poor focus

And here we have a picture of a fenced tomb outside the church. On Saturday morning we had a churchyard working party. Local kids joined adults as we swept leaves and cleared bushes to make everything look tidier.

By Sunday afternoon a bunch of children (including some of those who’d helped tidy up) had dragged a bunch of stuff they’d found in some bins inside the fence round this tomb and were dancing on top of it. The rubbish collection included bits of wood, a couple of old chairs and some plastic ride-on toys. The black plastic chair that was on top of the tomb had been cleared away by the time I took this picture.

The kids weren’t very receptive to my request that they clear up, but Radiohead and Sweet Tooth headed out to sort things out and managed to get the kids to help tidy up the mess they’d made. It took a while and some swearing (and not from the grown-ups), mind.

Afterwards the new MTs were able to spend some time chatting with parishioners who been watching the hooha (and helping to persuade the kids to take responsibility). Not necessarily what you’d choose for a training opportunity, but valuable all the same. And quite a way to meet the neighbours.

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The other thing this week (which I bizarrely forgot to mention earlier) was a short-lived campaign online to get Next to withdraw from sale a grim t-shirt showing a woman in a sexually provocative pose. Alongside the picture of the woman were extracts from a book which included a bible verse, taken from The Message. So not only was it demeaning women but there were also possible copyright issues about the bible text used. This is not what I expect from Next, where I bought some socks for the Joker (aged 9) only this morning.

The campaign was short-lived because Next withdrew the t-shirt from sale in the space of an afternoon. People were alerted to the issue through a couple of blogposts, Twitter and Facebook. They then contacted Next through Twitter, Facebook, email and by telephone. And Next responded swiftly.

It’s always worth complaining.

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