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Posts Tagged ‘Lichfield diocese’

The September sunshine is streaming through the Vicarage living room windows as I type. Yesterday the Engineer was off school for a teacher training day and we had a lovely time at the park with his friend, playing in the early Autumn warmth. I’ve been quiet on the blog this month, but not only because of trips to the park and the temptation to sunbathe in a garden that has usually been warmer than the house. In addition, I was writing some other things, explained below.

Our sunny September park

Our sunny September park

At the beginning of the month I took the plunge and put my name forward to stand for election to the General Synod of the Church of England as a representative of the laity of Lichfield diocese. There are 22 candidates for six places, and you’ll find me fifth from bottom of the list and can read my election address. You can also identify me by my surprising middle name. With so many people standing, I am praying for wisdom for the electors and trusting God’s sovereign will to be done throughout the next synod.

And at the end of the month – this weekend just gone – I got to speak about mess to a group of clergy spouses from Chelmsford Diocese at their annual retreat in the beautiful surroundings of Pleshey. Following publication of The Ministry of a Messy House my Twitter friend from the diocese, who organises it, asked me if I’d be the speaker and didn’t seem to mind that my speaking experience was very limited.

It was a real pleasure to meet her face to face and to share some of the things I’d learnt whilst contemplating (and writing about) mess. It was especially good to talk with a group of people who I know are often overwhelmed with extra mess not of their own creating – ecclesiastical, emotional and spiritual. We laughed a lot and encouraged one another. We shared recipes and tips for mess containment. We prayed and we sang and we gathered around the Lord’s table. I enjoyed myself very much and came home encouraged and surprisingly energised, with some new recipes to try and thankfulness to God for the work of the gospel in Essex and East London.

October is kicking off with the excitement of joining the youth group on their first ever weekend away together. I suspect there will be as much chatting as the weekend just gone, but with added running around and screaming. The joy of youth work, eh?

[Edited to add some words I lost in a draft and then found again]

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And training, and the opportunity to preach and to lead youth work, school assemblies and Sunday services, the experience of living in a busy inner city vicarage with a messy family which includes a couple of teenagers (and a younger one), and a year or two seeing what God is up to in multi cultural West Bromwich? Anyone?

The Shropshire Lad is moving away next month to a new job and to be closer to his beloved. King is spending another year in the attic and so now we are looking for an attic mate for him. Maybe you? Or someone you know?

Our Ministry Trainee scheme has produced three ordinands to date, two of whom are now curates. Another is waiting to hear about his BAP. So it’s a great way to explore vocation in the Church of England – and our Diocesan Director of Ordinands is very friendly and helpful. But you don’t have to be thinking about ordination and others have joined us and taken the skills they’ve learnt into other fields. There are many opportunities to serve in the church – music, technology, visiting, evangelism, teaching the Bible to all sorts of people in all sorts of ways. There is great flexibility for development of existing gifts and discovery of ones you never even knew you had. And it’s lots of fun. And there is cake.

Generally our MTs attend the Midlands Ministry Training Course one day a week and there are opportunities to attend other training conferences and courses through the year. The Vicar meets with the MTs for supervision and there is also training in youth and children’s work with Dreamer, our Families and Community worker. Our church website is a bit undeveloped at the moment after it fell over a few months ago, but details of the post can be found there (and if you can do websites well that would be great too!).

And did I mention the cake?

Muffins and cheese straws NB Church hall table cloth!

Muffins and cheese straws (please excuse the church hall table cloth)

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If you saw my pretty pictures taken from Dudley Zoo, you’ll remember that the Black Country is a beautiful place. And so are its people. And that’s why you should apply for a job here. Especially if you are ordained, because three evangelical Anglican churches (fairly) local to us are looking for new leaders:

St Matthew’s Walsall is the civic church for Walsall. Lots of opportunities and challenges in a multicultural town of over 67,000 people. Job vacancy details on their website.

And Holy Trinity Heathtown is in a deprived part of Wolverhampton but has a lively congregation wanting to reach out. Advert, parish profile and summary from the Lichfield Diocesan site.

St Matthew’s Tipton is the closest to us. and affiliated with New Wine. Advert and profile, again from the diocesan site. Tipton is another typical post industrial Black Country tow-un, with high levels of deprivation and a great need for the gospel.

So don’t delay! Apply today! I don’t *think* they’ll be using Dave Walker’s application process.

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We’re home after a few days in London doing Londony things (art galleries, museums, the Tube, queues). The hallway is full of half emptied suitcases, books and random hairbrushes and the Queen is padding around in her cat onesie singing loudly and failing to organise herself for Guide camp. We were back in time for our Light Party at church last night – about 35 kids and a similar number of adults making things with paper and glue and felttips and then singing and thinking about the light of Christ before consuming plenty of chocolates and mini eclairs. Lots of fun to see so many families out together and lovely to be able to chat with many of them. We think we may need to prepare extra oranges for the Messy Christingle this year…

I came home to a couple of responses to my book in the actual proper post – a lovely encouraging letter from a Twitter friend but also a completely off topic response from a reader of the Express and Star, asking me about a tricky passage in 1 Samuel. I’m still working out if and how to respond to the latter.

And Lichfield Diocese have made the video of me public, so I can post it on here. The island in the kitchen isn’t looking any better today:

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Our local paper has just published a piece about the arrival of Happy, our new ministry trainee. I love the line where the Vicar is described as ‘unlike anyone I’ve ever met’.

As the Express and Star have commented, the diocese is struggling to find clergy for vacant posts. We are praying that God would guide Happy as he explores full time ministry. And we are praying that more folk would come and join us in reaching the lovely people of the Black Country with the good news of Jesus.

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