Spirituality of Mission

The Mission Shaped Ministry course just gets better and better. This is a course run in Lincoln, with one evening a month and the occasional all day Saturday, looking at how we engage in ministry and in particular focussing on Fresh Expressions of Church.

This evening was one of the best as we looked at the ten marks of an Apostle, people who are learning that they are

1  called and sent

2  greatly beloved

3  seeing and listening

4  taking nothing for the journey

5  going two by two 

6  praying and depending on the Holy Spirit

7  bearing the message

8  wounded healers

9  living rhythmically

10 being adventurers

Starting from a strong Biblical context the course examined what each one meant for those of us engaged in Ministry today. This is challenging stuff and it is really stretching my thinking. I`m glad to have joined the course and this sabbatical is giving me the time to explore it properly.

Second week gone

Began this week still feeling strange that I was relaxing, while Alison was going out to work, and while Lesley was still running the circuit office in my study. It had been a great weekend visiting Dad and seeing friends from Consett, and then on Monday morning back to earth, trying to avoid Lesley so that I didn’t get caught up in circuit work. Mind you, she is terrific at telling me to “keep my nose out”. I think she rather enjoys it !

Monday night saw me going to Lincoln for the Mission Shaped Ministry course I`m a part of. Excellent night looking at the spirituality of mission. More on my sabbatical page.

This afternoon had a pleasant hour with Sue, my colleague, who`se recovering from a hip operation. Good to see her looking better, although extremely bored. She`s concerned about the length of her grass and is hoping someone from the circuit will volunteer to cut it.

Tonight (Thurs.) I’m writing this having packed cases, checked passports, money etc. for tomorrow we’re off on our 25th wedding anniversary cruise down the Rhine. Left Dad, who is looking after the house, with a list of instructions and telephone numbers, and then at 1.45 a.m. we`re off. Very much looking forward to it. Excited. Tell you all about it when we get back. Look it up under Rhine Cruise on the menu board at the side.


The Malt Cross

First day of my sabbatical and I ventured down into Nottingham on the evening to attend a meeting at The Malt Cross, which is a Christian run pub in the centre of Nottingham (St. James St, just off the Market Square). Apparently it was one of the worst pubs in Nottingham, not so long ago, with real violence involving drinkers throwing glasses from the balcony into the bar below !!

Howver, it now retains its decor (which is pretty spectacular), its pub menus and drinks, all combined with a Christian ethos. There is nothing lying around to suggest a Christian base, such a leaflets or church notices, but the whole ethos is contained in the staff and their relationships with whoever comes for a drink and a meal.

We were told of how conversations would arise and people would be comforted, counselled, encouraged by Christian bar staff and management. This is Christianity at its best, not preaching, but getting alongside people.

May I recommend The Malt Cross to you all next time you`re in town. Look it up, enjoy the atmosphere, have a meal and a drink. Its a pretty special place.

One Week Down !!

Well, the first week is over; 1 week gone and only 11 left !

Seriuously, it has been a wonderful pleasure not having to worry over anything in the circuit or any of the churches this week. Woke up early on Monday morning (in fact I haven`t had a lie in yet !) and it felt very strange to be able to have a leisurely breakfast, wander out for my paper and generally relax.

All week I’ve followed the same pattern, walking the dog, reading the paper, catching up on the telly and generally `chillin-out` as the youngsters would call it. Personally, I call it `slobbing` but, hey, I don`t care.

However on Monday evening I went to `The Malt Cross` in St. James Street, Nottingham, where the latest Fresh Expressions seminar was held. The Malt Cross is a Christian run pub. More about this on my Fresh Expressions page.

Started reading a book about the history of Christian Spirituality. It looks promising.

Ended the week by visiting Dad in the North East, meeting some old school friends, Chapel coffee morning and worshipping in my home Chapel on Sunday which was led by Rev. Terry Hurst, the Minister who was there when I candidated. It was good to see Terry again. He preached on making a difference, and I`m not sure if he will ever fully understand the difference he made to my life, with his care for us as a family when my youngest daughter was born, and later with his wisdom when I felt called to the Ministry.

So, all in all, its been a good week and a good start.

Only sad note is that I visited Alisons Dad in hospital. He`s not good at all really. Please hold him, Freda, Alison and Stuart in your prayers at this time, that the right decisions will be made.

Off to Lincoln tonight for the next part of my `Mission shaped Ministry` course. Tell you all about it next time.