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Posts Tagged ‘Ministers wives’

Apologies. We have had the lurgies. And hence the exciting 2014 regular posting phenomenon has gone a bit down the tubes, after lasting for all of about a fortnight. The Queen got sick and then kindly shared her bug with three of the four grown-ups in the house. BytheSea had the Daddy Bear version, involving treatment with antibiotics, I have had a Mummy Bear attack which has merely confined me to bed for four days, and the Vicar has had the Baby Bear lurgies and has felt terrible but still managed to lead a massive funeral and attend a 2 1/2 hr school governors meeting midweek plus all his normal vicaring duties.

Anyway, I’m pleased to report that we’re on the mend and I’m able to have a small blogging catch-up.

FIRST: The winner of the caption competition – randomly generated as I found it too hard to choose – is Shaun. Please email me at thevicarswifey [at] gmail [dot] com to claim your prize of an e-book of The Ministry of a Messy House.

SECOND: Book news: The Vicar reviewed my book (I’m relieved to say that he liked it) – and Claire Musters posted her review on Christian Today (she seemed to understand the writing process in the Vicarage perfectly).

THIRD: Ace apps – I’ve been meaning to mention a couple of excellent free apps – the Bible App for Kids and PrayerMate for iPad/iPhone and Android (free until the end of March courtesy of London City Mission). My kids are a little on the big side for the Bible App but they have enjoyed noodling about with it. It looks like a fun way to get kids familiar with bible stories. Recommended for ages 3-8. And PrayerMate is a truly excellent way to order all your regular intercessions. Over the years I have used various versions of prayer lists and abandoned/lost them pretty regularly. PrayerMate is a superb app which enables me to keep my list fresh and has some whizzy features like alarms and prayer diaries from mission societies (all in iOS, some still to come in Android).

FOURTH: I have come across a couple of interesting programmes on Alba – the Gaelic language BBC service which we can get on iPlayer. There’s a gentle series about ministers’ wives in Scotland (Bean a’ Mhinisteir) and tonight we’re going to watch Reaching Out with Hope (Na Soisgeulaich) which is about three evangelical churches in Scotland reaching out to their communities, including Niddrie Community Church, led by Mez McConnell of 20Schemes. Two of our children have Gaelic names, but that’s the extent of my knowledge, but it’s okay – the programmes are subtitled in English.

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What do wives of Christian ministers do when they get together, other than talk (obvs)? Last week at Hothorpe Hall we managed to take in some great bible teaching, pray together, swap tips for local church ministry and still had time to walk in the Spring sunshine (some of round fields, others between charity and coffee shops in Market Harborough). Er, and there was eating and a frock swap and crafty type things.

I also took time to assess the important question of what Vicar’s wives are wearing. A while ago I blogged on this and thought I would revisit it when I observed this year’s trends. So I am able to share with you that the current Vicarage/Manse look is likely to include one or more of the following:

  • Long boots with skinny jeans or leggings (very popular)
  • Converse sneakers (when boots don’t quite work)
  • Long sleeved t-shirt worn under short sleeve tunic or similar
  • Scarves are definitely in (possibly in place of necklaces, which were less in evidence than previously)
  • Fewer gilets this year (perhaps because of the milder weather, or people had remembered that the conference centre is about 20 degrees warmer than our houses).

Some of the essentials for this year's must-have Vicar's wife outfit

 The enjoyable frock swap run by Frock Chick Hilary Nicholls was a fun way for us to get rid of not-quite-right-for-me clothes – the wide-legged jeans and short boots etc. We were able to get new clothes ourselves and also think about whether such a thing would work as a women’s event back home. I’m not sure a clothes swap would work here (our women are probably too diverse in age and fashion sense), but I think an accessories one would. Seems like a fun option for an evangelistic event at church – just add refreshments and a short talk and you’re done.

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I’ll have lots to blog next week when I get back from Hothorpe Hall where I’m on the Proclamation Trust’s Minister’s Wives conference. I’m being very well fed on a diet of Ezekiel, Luke, tales of minister’s wives from history, seafood pasta and cake.  I didn’t bring a laptop, so I’m using the steamdriven conference centre computer and I don’t want to spend too much time online. There are too many lovely people here to talk to and a wonderful bookstall and space to pray and think.

I was going to upload a great song video we watched yesterday but the Jurassic system isn’t letting me show it to you. So instead, I’m going to commend Open Doors to you and their campaign to get those who are able to write letters of encouragement to Christians around the world who are suffering for their faith. We are writing some this afternoon here at Hothorpe. It’s such an encouragement for us to be here that we want to share some of that with brothers and sisters in far more difficult situations.

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So I’m back from the PT Ministers Wives Conference. I arrived home on Thursday afternoon last week full of beans. This year the conference was rather less densely packed with sessions than previously, so I felt I’d had lots of time to digest the excellent bible teaching (of which more in another post later).

A key phrase came home with me – from a seminar I attended on ‘Bridging the Gospel Gap – Applying the Gospel to ourselves and others’. That phrase was ‘Who is the LORD (in this situation)?’ In the seminar we thought through a fairly trivial example – how we would react when stuck in traffic on the way to get test results from the doctor’s, considering how our reactions under stress indicate who or what is most important in our lives.

I’m so pleased I’d learnt that, as I came home to a couple of tough situations,  both personally and in the parish. I am so grateful to have been prepared by God to remember that He is sovereign in everything. My small challenges are nothing, of course, to those faced by many, and this week the situation in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami puts my life’s gentle meander into perspective. But the truth that God is the LORD in everything helps me to trust him in my minor situations and not be ruled by them. And that truth helps me to pray for Japan and the people there as they mourn and as they search for meaning in the chaos.

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I’m off again today on the Proclamation Trust’s wonderful Minister’s Wives’ Conference. I’m looking forward to being refreshed by teaching from Lizzie Smallwood and Vaughan Roberts, chatting to friends from dawn until dusk and being encouraged by hearing what God is doing in many different places.

It’s hard to believe that it’s a year since I was last at Hothorpe Hall. We have been living in our Vicarage for two years now. We moved in during February half term and the Vicar was inducted on 10th March.

There seems to be a pattern in moving to a new parish: a while ago I blogged about the ‘I hate foreign’ part that happens early on. But a lot of clergy say that the second and third years can be tough – when you start changing things more and your weaknesses become more exposed.  It’s when you begin to really know your congregation and your parish and they you. I think we’ve found that true – last summer felt like quite hard going. But now we are very encouraged by signs of growth.

And only yesterday the Vicar launched a big new initiative: we are aiming to increase the number of small groups. We’ve even had fabulous banners printed up. Designed by a Vicar’s wife, natch.

Does your church have small groups? How are they getting on? Any wisdom could come in very handy…

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