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Archive for September, 2013

It’s a busy season in the Vicarage. These last few weeks we’ve had a Confirmation service, multiple bring and share lunches, sick kids, secondary school open days and a new Ministry Trainee all arriving at once. And to top it all, my book is about to be published. Less than a year ago I was up front for a few brief seconds in a seminar at the Midlands Womens’ Convention and next Saturday, as a direct result of those few words I shared (mainly about this blog), my book will be available prior to the official publication date at this year’s convention at Derby County Cricket Club.

Normally IVP send their authors their own special copies before the book goes on sale. But my book has gone so close to the wire that the first copy I see will most likely be with Jonathan Carswell of 10ofthose, who is running the bookstall at the convention. I shall be at the convention with some lovely ladies from my church, but am hoping to be about near the bookstall for a bit. Maybe I’ll see you there?

The Good Book Company have been publicising The Ministry of A Messy House too. We had this flyer in the post a couple of weeks ago:

Look! On the same page as C S Lewis!

Look! On the same page as C S Lewis.

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We have a Vicarage first – a Ministry Trainee recruited through The Vicar’s Wife! Our newest attic dweller moves in this coming Saturday after a whistle stop application-interview-appointment process following my blogpost advertising the vacancy only a couple of weeks ago. The children’s worker at our new lodger’s home church is a reader of the blog and when she saw the ad, pointed him in our direction. It will be great to have a full house again and we are looking forward to getting to know BytheSea (as the Joker has titled him) in the coming weeks. We are grateful to God for such a swift answer to prayer.

All full in the Vicarage attic

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I know we’re all thinking about Back to Church Sunday and Harvest and everything (gosh, it’s a busy term – and we’ve got a confirmation to factor in too), but before you know it, it will be Halloween. And the brilliant Glen Scrivener (of Anti Santy Ranty fame) has produced a great new video to get your congregation or youth group thinking. A great reminder that the light triumphs over the darkness.

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Coat Conundrum

Well, the new term is underway and we’re back to parish life in full swing. Our midweek groups are back on, we’re getting frequent callers at the door and there are kids squealing in the churchyard in the evenings. And coats being thrown on the church hall roof. Of course.

Wondering if a ladder and a tall vicar will be enough to solve this one

Wondering if a ladder and a tall vicar will be enough to solve this one

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It’s not all cake in the Vicarage. There’s bread too. Last week I made my first couple of loaves of sourdough.

I’ve been making my own bread on and off ever since we lived in Singapore and the only bread to buy was either ridiculously sweet chewy sliced rubber stuff or tastier but eyewateringly expensive. I started with a bread machine that broke from overuse and since then I’ve generally used my Kenwood mixer to make the dough. I very often make dough for pizza at home or for breadsticks for our weekly Cake and Chat community coffee morning. Although, after watching The Great British Bakeoff the other week, I think I may be making the sticks all wrong – they’re doughy rather than snappy. Still tasty though. I hardly ever make a proper loaf.

I’ve been thinking about sourdough for a while. It’s the bread of geeks, as you’ll see if you google it, made without any added yeast but a starter made from flour and water which is left to brew its natural yeasts. And then I was reading the side of my flour bag (I suffer from acute narrative hunger and need to read everything – one reason why the internet is so bad for me) and there it was – a sourdough starter recipe. So I consulted Annalise Barbieri’s lovely blog because I knew she made sourdough and also some recipes I found online. And then I gave it a go.

The flour and water concoction magically became my starter over the course of a week and a very sticky dough became my first loaf.  Although it spread out rather alarmingly, it came out of the oven with a lovely crust and proper airy texture. The second loaf was less airy but less spread too. I’m finding it a fun way to make bread, especially since the recipe I’m using doesn’t involve much kneading, just a brief punch a few times over the course of a morning. It also keeps really well, although there’s not much been kept. Sourdough has a low GI and is easier to digest than bread made with added yeast. And a loaf cost less than 50p to make. Brilliant.

A couple of days after starting my starter, I discovered that it’s Sourdough September. So I seem to have timed it quite well. Anyway, I’ve just pulled a new loaf out of the oven and I’m going to call a friend now and invite her over for coffee and a slice of bread.

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The lovely Radiohead left our attic yesterday. He’s headed back home and is busy applying for jobs in teaching. So now there’s a space in the Vicarage for a new Ministry Trainee.

We’re looking for someone who has a passion for people and for seeing God at work in their lives. You don’t have to be considering ordination, although the Diocesan Director of Ordinands would be very happy to see you and two of our previous attic dwellers have taken that path, and Red, who’s still here, is aiming for a dog collar. Perhaps you’d like some time to think about ministry life, or just want to serve in a church before going into something else.

A fondness for cake and the ability to negotiate your way around a cluttered family home might be an advantage. And you should know that we have a cat, a fish and a rodent. But you don’t have to have the rodent sit on your head if you don’t want to. If it’s not for you, maybe there’s someone you know who might be up for Vicarage life. Do please point them in our direction.

More details can be found on our church website. And below you can see a pic of Radiohead and Red in their attic living room, where they are able to escape from the pets, the clutter and the mayhem. If the kids don’t follow them up there…

Working hard. Or possibly on Facebook.

Working hard. Or possibly playing games. There’s time for both.

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