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Posts Tagged ‘Ministry’

We’ve not been feeding people all that much lately. I got a nasty virus after Christmas and seemed to lose steam all the way to Easter. Sunday lunches (our usual slot for planned hospitality) were confined to the Vicarage household plus Dreamer. And I almost began to think that it was too much hassle to have anyone else over on a Sunday at all.

But then, just a couple of weeks ago, we had a sunny weekend. And I was overcome with a desire to barbecue. And that seemed like an easier Sunday lunch to organise. So we invited a family we’d been meaning to invite over for ages. And then we thought about another family who we’d seen a lot over our Easter mission and the Vicar called them but they didn’t answer the phone. So then we invited someone else. And then the second family rang back. And we invited them too. And so it was that we ended up having 18 people for Sunday lunch.

And you know what? In the garden, with the old church hall trestle tables from the shed, lovely sunshine and lots of laughter, eighteen people seemed like a perfectly normal number. And after that, inviting a family of five for Sunday lunch this week didn’t seem like a big thing either. It was actually very lovely to talk to people and enjoy eating with them. Of course I knew that, but I’d forgotten. And then this week I read this lovely post about Scruffy Hospitality by Wesley Hill, and it helped me to remember that the purpose of hospitality is the cultivation of friendship, the sharing of lives. And cooking a bit of extra food is really not that much trouble. It really isn’t.

So I’m grateful this week for a renewed vision for hospitality: scruffy hospitality, messy hospitality, doable hospitality, just inviting people anyway hospitality, hospitality for the saints, hospitality for the stranger, hospitality without grumbling, hospitality that is a welcome and a blessing. And I’m praying that we’ll keep on getting together with the saints and with strangers, we’ll keep on inviting others into the Vicarage for laughing and talking and growing community, building the body. That’s my prayer this week.

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It’s that time of year again! We’re looking for new ministry trainees – two of them in fact. Would you like to join us in the Vicarage after the summer? Our current intrepid attic dwellers are planning to move on before September (God willing) – so we will have space for gospel hearted volunteers who want to serve God’s people and reach out in our small part of the kingdom.

We can guarantee many opportunities to serve in all sorts of capacities – preaching, leading services, gardening, visiting, eating cake, tweaking the sound desk, street evangelism, geocaching with teenagers or hanging out with 80 year olds at lunch club, organising events and teaching the bible 121 for starters. You can live in a flat above our Vicarage and very likely meet Gone, our resident (when he’s not in prison) gentleman of the road. You can eat late night curry from the fabulous tandoori serving pubs up the road and play snooker with Nepali barmen and likely get to sample West African and Jamaican food with some of our church families. You will definitely get to know the Vicarage family well and discuss theology over coffee and ministry over wine and cheese. You’ll experience Vicarage life in all its ups and downs – the joys and sorrows of gospel ministry. You will get a day a week on the Midlands Ministry Training Course and regular supplies of homemade cake. We have an excellent relationship with Lichfield’s Diocesan Director of Ordinands, so if you are thinking of full time ministry in the Church of England, we can help you through that process, or you could just be wanting to do a year or two of Christian service before going on to other things.

The Vicar has posted more details on our church website. One of our current trainees was pointed in our direction by a reader of this blog. He’s off to his BAP for Church of England selection next month. Do you know someone who’d like to eat cake and serve alongside us?

The Vicarage looking pretty – come and join us!

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Who has been sleeping in the holly bush at the entrance to the church? We’ve not seen them, but they seem to have built quite a little den. But since Gone is away at Her Majesty’s Pleasure, we don’t have an immediate suspect. I’m afraid the bush dweller may be disappointed tonight, as we’re clearing out this evening and the Vicar will be taking the debris to the dump.

There’s a funeral in church tomorrow and it’s respectful to the mourners to provide a tidy churchyard. The bush is right next to the church steps by the main entrance door. The church is being cleaned too, as we’ve had scaffolding in whilst damp plaster and ant chewed woodwork right up in the ceiling above the chancel has been removed and repaired. Theological college training can never cover all the bases for ministry life.

Bed (and sitting room it seems) in the bush

Bed (and sitting room it seems) in the bush

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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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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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The Vicarage often seems to be heading for this state

Before the Vicar started at theological college, we spent time with some wise friends, Muso and Holy, who were already living on campus there. Theological college can be a funny old place where relationships are often very intense – with people studying, worshipping and living with one another, you get to see each other in very sharp focus. Our friends explained how college was a community of saints – and also a community of sinners.

Holy knew me pretty well and she warned me that I should be careful how I came across because (she said)

Some people might find you a bit intimidating…

Can’t think what gave her that idea. Apart from me being very loud, self confident and bossy, that is. And quite tall. So I arrived at college fully determined to restrain myself as much as possible. The Lord clearly thought I’d be unable to do this unaided, so actually what happened when we started was that I contracted a horrible virus and was laid up in bed for about a month. No chance of being too scary then. Or so I hoped.

Later, when we’d settled in, I thought I’d check up on how I’d done with the not-being-frightening thing, so I asked a new friend about it. Did she think I was intimidating when she first met me? I’d not done as well as I thought because she replied:

I did at first….  But then I saw your house…

I give you this story as an example of why housework may not be that important. And why it’s good to share our failings. And why sitting on the computer writing a blogpost is *far* more important than doing that washing up. Or any dusting. Ever. Just think of it as ministry.

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Happy Hair

And what would make you more happy about your hair than having it cut for £4, like I did yesterday? And I had the added bonus of being able to have a sweet chat about a lovely lady from our congregation who went to glory a few weeks ago. And I was able to walk to the hairdressers from the Vicarage. Sometimes there are unexpected pluses to urban ministry.

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