Borders Mission Methodist Circuit

          This is the new logo (below) for the Borders Mission Circuit which is due to be launched on 1st September 2010. Isn’t it great ? I feel it sums up all that we’re trying to achieve in our new patch, as well as reflecting our heritage as a mining area. Please hold us in prayer.



A duck walks into a pub and orders a pint of beer and a ham sandwich. The barman looks at him and says, “Hang on! You’re a duck.”
 “I see your eyes are working,” replies the duck.   “And you can talk!” exclaims the barman.
 “I see your ears are working, too,” says the duck. “Now if you don’t mind, can I have my beer and my sandwich please?”
 “Certainly, sorry about that,” says the barman as he pulls the duck’s pint. “It’s just we don’t get many ducks in this pub.. What are you doing round this way?”
 “I’m working on the building site across the road,” explains the duck. “I’m a plasterer.”
 The flabbergasted barman cannot believe the duck and wants to learn more, but takes the hint when the duck pulls out a newspaper from his bag and proceeds to read it.
 So, the duck reads his paper, drinks his beer, eats his sandwich, bids the barman good day and leaves.
 The same thing happens for two weeks.    Then one day the circus comes to town.
 The ringmaster comes into the pub for a pint and the barman says to him “You’re with the circus, aren’t you? Well, I know this duck that could be just brilliant in your circus. He talks, drinks beer, eats sandwiches, reads the newspaper and everything!”
 “Sounds marvelous,” says the ringmaster, handing over his business card. “Get him to give me a call.”
 So the next day when the duck comes into the pub the barman says, “Hey Mr. Duck, I reckon I can line you up with a top job, paying really good money.”  “I’m always looking for the next job,” says the duck. “Where is it?”
 “At the circus,” says the barman.
 “The circus?” repeats the duck.
 “That’s right,” replies the barman.
 “The circus?” the duck asks again. “That place with the big tent?”
 “Yeah,” the barman replies.
 “With all the animals who live in cages, and performers who live in caravans?” says the duck.
 “Of course,” the barman replies.
 “And the tent has canvas sides and a big canvas roof with a hole in the middle?” persists the duck.
 “That’s right!” says the barman.
 The duck shakes his head in amazement, and says .. . ……………
“What would they want with a plasterer??!”

Yes its an old joke but doesn’t it illustrate how some people cannot see beyond what they know; not prepared to try out new things; not prepared to see if they have other skills; sometimes not even recognising that they have anything unusual about them. I’ve just got back from a meeting of the soon to be created Amber Valley Methodist Circuit and I spent this afternoon in a meeting of the leadership of the soon to be created Borders Mission Methodist Circuit. In each we were looking for people to take up responsibilities and thankfully they did. However in my experience there are many people in many different organisations (not just Church) who cannot conceive of doing things differently, of exploring skills and talents or of any change at all. I wonder why this is ? Perhaps its a basic human need to stay in our comfort zones of only doing what we’ve always done instead of taking risks; however history is littered with the risk takers, some of whom failed spectacularly but of others whose risks led to wonderful things. Advances in medicine, votes for women, the creation of the welfare system, the unity of Protestantism and Catholicism, the advance of the Christian church and so on.

So I want to applaud the risk takers, give thanks for them. and maybe challenge all of us to take a risk for God.

What next ?

Dear friends
I’ve just come back from our annual trip to Skegness for Spring Harvest, a Christian gathering of over 8,000 Christians at the Butlins site and also at Butlins. Minehead. The combined total of people gathering when including the additional weeks is nearer to 20,000.
For about 15 consecutive years the Redshaw family have made this annual pilgrimage (the Woods family for even longer) and it is part of our regular planning.
As with previous years some of it has been good and some not so good. Worship in the Big Top each evening was led by the Codnor Chapel favourite, Graham Kendrick. In the main his worship leading was exceptional, but he did let things down a bit on a couple of occasions by being over~repetitive. Bible teaching was led by one of my favourites Krish Kandiah who is able to bring some real truths out of the Word and yet ensure that they are relevant to today and to my understanding.
I also managed to fit in some seminars on rural evangelism with Alison because of her forthcoming move to Crich (only 10,000 words between her and Ordination!). Combine all this with good quality preaching from the likes of Steve Chalke and all-in-all it has been a good week.
At the same time about 8,000 gathered at the more Methodist equivalent, based at Llandudno called ECG. We can add to this the Cliff College festival, New Wine in Lincolnshire and other similar gatherings around the country and whilst recognising that some of these will have the same Christians going to more than one event it still adds up to about 100,000 Christians choosing to seek out what they consider to be quality worship and teaching. However, I want to ask the question “What next ?” You see I’m not interested in an annual top~up to make me feel good or holier than others; No, what I want is to be changed, improved, affected so that my Christian journey is better than before or so that I’m a more effective witness for Jesus or so that my walk with him is closer.
Cuthbert Bardsley (I think), former Bishop of Coventry famously said during the Toronto Blessing period “I,m not interested in how many fall on the carpet, I’m more concerned with how they get up again.” In other words he wasn’t concerned with the outward show of Christianity that can be dramatic, showy and more concerned with an inner enjoyment or a selfish hedonism. He wanted to see evidence of an inner change that not only blesses the believer but blesses those around him or her. John Wesley sought the same when he spoke of the evidence of changed hearts. I too want that in Christian faith; not just a head knowledge, nor just an emotional heart response but a balance of the two in which the Lord Jesus can be glorified and can be seen to others.
Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying I’ve got there but I am sharing my hearts desire and I invite you to think about your own faith and what you want it to be. Together we will make a wonderful community for Jesus.

Ripley Town Council Civic Service

Had a simply wonderful town council civic service today as we led Councillor Ron Ashton (Mayor of Ripley) in his thanksgiving service, at the new Ripley Methodist service.

Over 100 people were there form various boroughs and from a wide variety of local community groups. I spoke on John 21:1~19 and on the need for people to learn to trust, invest, and release other people. To do this we need to forget any past hurts and move into the future as one. I put forward the idea that this was TRUE community.

Many people remarked afterwards that it had been good and challenging. What more can I ask for ?

Another “this is the last time……” occasion as many said they will be sorry to see me leave the town of Ripley, when I move on into pastures new, The Borders Mission Circuit. Today makes one acutely aware of how the clock is ticking on my Ministry here. Only about 112 days to go….. Its very emotional.

Update on Spring Harvest.

Got back from Spring Harvest on Friday. Tried to put a few things on the blog while wasthere but the wi~fi was too slow to allow me to do anything other than keep an eye on my e~mails.

S.H. was good in many parts although I chose to dip out of much choosing instead to simply have a rest. I contented myself with Krish Kandiahs Bible Study in the morning and Big Top celebration at night. If ever you get the chance to read Krish’s work then do so; he is a real down to earth Christian who opens the Bible in totally relevant ways.

The evening celebrations were interesting. In the main powerful preaching although we have a strong suspicion that Steve Chalke simply rehashed a sermon he used several years ago (I can’t complain because its not an unknown concept to me !!). However the evening celebrations were spoilt somewhat by Graham Kendrick. When he chooses to truly lead the worship he is extremely good, but when he gets onto a route of teaching a new song and then singing it endlessly it is infuriating. One can’t help but think that the new song is the one he’s trying to promote at the moment. This happened on several occasions and yet on others he could be inspirational.

All in all it was a good week and already we’re starting to plan towards next year.

Ash cloud

Please remember to hold in prayer all of the Icelandic folk whose lives have been jeopordised because of the volcanic eruption in the last few days, especially those who have been made homeless.

Remember those trapped in airports all over Europe.

Spring Harvest

Only one hour to go and we’re off………………………………………  Sounds a bit like the start of a Grand Prix doesn’t it ? That hopefully letd you in on our excitement to be heading off to Spring Harvest, our annual Christian festival held for three weeks at both Minehead and Skegness. Thats 6 weeks of Christians gathering from all over the country and world to celebrate God on each of the two Butlins sites.

As a family we’ve gone for 16 years now and in many ways our year is built around it; good quality teaching, fellowship, challenges, peace and a chance to recharge batteries after what has been a very tough few weeks with the pressure of circuit changes and house hunting going on. Its an opportunity to spend 6 days with good friends in worship together and I value it enormously.

I feel more ready for Spring Harvest this year than ever before

Only 55 minutes now and counting………………………………

Ha-way the Lads !

Spent a great evening last night in front of the television watching Newcastle United beat Sheffield United and go back to the Premiership. actually they had already been promoted by virtue of Nottingham Forest not winning against Cardiff, but it was still good to see the lads on home territory gaining another victory that may yet carry us to the title of Champions.

I know this won’t mean very much to many of my readers but coming from the North East football is all important. I had to smile on the news tonight (north~east news) when some Geordies were asked about important events of the last 24 hours and most of them mentioned the football; only one mentioned the General Election !        Football reigns supreme.