Meeting the great and good

A photograph of Peter Shilton taken by Nichola...
Image via Wikipedia

Not that I`m name dropping but after last weeks lunch with the Archbishop of Canterbury I went out for an evening meal with Peter Shilton (most highly capped England footballer and goalkeeper) ! I`d love to leave it at that letting you all think I spend all my time with the great and good, hob-nobbing with celebrities, but I do need to be honest with you. Lunch with the Archbishop of Canterbury involved about 600 other people and last nights meal included another 90 people.

The occasion was our local Comprehensive school, Tibshelf sports college, raising funds to send 20 pupils to Sri Lanka to work over there for three weeks. Ever since the Tsunami in 2004 the school have sent groups over to help Sri Lankan schools with rebuilding. It gives the English youngsters a tremendous experience and an opportunity not only to do some good work but to literally see how other people are coping with tragedy. 2012 will see their third trip. Alongside this the school also supports other international work in India and elsewhere. Truly amazing and don`t let anyone tell you that all of todays youngsters are bad. The pupils I have met are a real credit to their school and society.

And I was also impressed with Peter Shilton who gave generously of his time, provided items for the auction, signed autographs and allowed photographs to be taken. On top of this his talk (40 minutes) was warm, insightful, humorous and generous in its perception of other people. He took time to talk to the youngsters themselves, praising them for the questions they asked and encouraging them in the work that they are doing. I had the privilege of talking to him before the evening began and he actually thanked me for attending !!

It was the sort of night where you really believed int he simple goodness of humanity all around you.

Brian made this picture while Rowan Williams, ...
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Been working on the Mission Shaped Ministry course which launches in September 2011 today, trying to get the advertising leaflets sent out. Thank Heaven for electronic mail. Whereas one time I would have had to send out almost 500 fliers by Royal Mail I can now send them out at the touch of a button. This is where e-mail works at its best. The blurb for the course reads as follows…………………………

mission shaped ministry equipping you to plant and sustain fresh expressions of church

You are invited to share a one-year learning journey in a supportive community to be equipped for a lifetime of good practice and learning in growing fresh expressions of church in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire from September 2011.

“The greatest benefit of the course is its practical side and the chance to talk through issues relevant to your situation.”

Leanne Corlett, previous course participant

Who is it for ?        Those exploring ideas for fresh expressions of Church; experienced pioneers who want to reflect on what they are doing; Christians who want their Churches to be more effective in mission; all denominations, traditions and ages; Urban, suburban and rural contexts.

What will you learn ?        How to begin, sustain and grow a fresh expression of Church; qualities of Christian ministry; listening to God in your context.

Features of the course     Designed for busy Christians; Delivered ecumenically; Local and national teachers; Reflection on your context and story; Varied learning styles and resources; Coaching, mentoring, learning networks; An online guide to fresh expressions.

Modules include       Mission Context,  The mission of God, Vision and call, Values, Starting something new, Listening for mission, What is Church ?, Gospel and culture, Team roles and behaviour, Leadership, Spirituality, Discipleship, Children and all ages, Evangelism, Lessons from weaknesses, Handling setbacks and failure, Small group Church, Worship and the sacraments,

We, through the Church of England and Methodist Church in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire allied with the Groundlevel network and the United Reformed Church are delighted to make MSM available locally.

We believe it will be a significant resource for building the Kingdom of God in this area. Individuals are most welcome, but we particularly hope that small groups from a church or fresh expression will come as this will deepen the impact of the course.

The course leaders are Revd M Mitton and Revd M Redshaw.

Teachers include Revd M Mitton, Revd M Redshaw, Revd R Quarton and Mr G Bell.

Course timetable and venue

Saturday 3rd September 2011

Monday 19th September 2011

Monday 17th October 2011

Friday 4th to Sunday 6th November 2011

Monday 12th December 2011

Saturday 14th January 2012

Monday 20th February 2012

Monday 19th March 2012

Monday 16th April 2012

Monday 21st May 2012

Saturday 16th June 2012

Saturdays run from 09.30 to 15.30, Mondays from 19.30 to 21.15, both at St Andrew’s LEP, Station Road, Langley Mill,

Nottinghamshire, NG16 4BP.

The residential weekend will be at Bawtry Hall, Bawtry, Doncaster, DB10 6JH.


£299 per person, which covers all materials, refreshments and the weekend away.

Financial support may be available.

Contact may be made through me on


“More and more Christian people are being led to God to plant, sustain and lead fresh expressions of Church. The course is a crucial means by which the Holy Spirit is preparing them for this calling, Go for it !”     Rev Dr Martyn Atkins, Methodist General Secretary.

“The next big step in taking fresh expressions of Church forward is making the right kind of training available in every part of the country. The course is making a major contribution here and I`m delighted to commend it”      Archbishop Rowan Williams.

I don`t know if this has wetted your appetite but whether it has or not please feel free to pass the word onto others AND please pray for us in our preparations.

Heinz means Beanz (always wanted to write that !)

Henry J. Heinz (1844-1919)
Image via Wikipedia

The will of Henry J. Heinz (57 varieties),contains the following words……………..

“Looking forward to the time when my earthly career will end, I desire to set forth at the very beginning of this will, as the most important item in it, a confession of my faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I also desire to bear witness to the fact that throughout my life, in which there were unusual joys and sorrows, I have been wonderfully sustained by my faith in God through Jesus Christ. This legacy was left me by my consecrated mother, a woman of strong faith, and to it I attribute any success I have attained”

James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 381.

What powerful words and what a wonderful testimony. Sometimes people think it is a straight choice between financial, business success and faith; you can`t have one without the other. Instead I think the choice is more about priorities. It IS possible to be rich, famous, materially succesful and still have a strong Christian faith. What matters most however is whether or not the priority is materialism etc or faith in Christ.

In this statement I think that Henry Heinz shows us that his priority is his personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. There may have been 57 varieties of beans but only ONE Lord and he wasn`t ashamed to declare it. Some abandon Jesus in pursuit of success in their chosen field, thinking that the Christian lifestyle is not compatible with the worlds expectations. And yet there are many who have shown us that they can combine Christian ethics, morality and lifestyle with their chosen profession. I`m thinking especially this morning of Kaka the mega-rich footballer, who proudly displayed a shirt in the last world cup declaring “I love Jesus” and who speaks openly and honestly of his faith.

Allied alongside Sir Cliff Richard, our current Prime Minister and our previous Prime Minister (irrespective of their politics or policies), Jermaine Defoe (another footballer), William Wilberforce and others there is real proof that you can be succesful and a person of faith.

A long distance friend of mine

Came across this link this evening for motivational speaker Michael Heppell and found it quite fascinating–making-phone-calls-standing-learning-love-bin.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

Michael (or Mickey as I knew him) was in my Boys Brigade company, in the neighbouring youth fellowship and in the drama group I founded. Always mischievous Michael constantly surprised us with some of the antics he could get up to.

So delighted for how well he has done for himself

I`m NOT in Aberdeen

I recieved notification today that a scam e-mail supposedly from myself is doing the rounds. Apparently, I am stuck in Aberdeen having had my credit cards and my passport stolen. The message then requests money urgently as I`m apaprently waiting to catch a plane home !! Sadly, at least one person made the mistake of telephoning the numbers printed but then thankfully put the phone down. His mobile provider has confirmed that it is a hoax but he had only lost a few pence. It could have been so much worse !!

Today I have lost a tremendous amount of time, dealing with calls and messages as everyone tries to tell me about the scam; I have lost all my e-mail addresses; I have lost all my e-mails of several years ago.

I feel so angry and embarrassed. I know it wasn`t my fault but in a strange cyber way I feel violated and I feel as though I`ve betrayed the trust of all those whose addresses I held. Almost certainly I will close that address down and create a new one which will cause more aggravation, but its a stark reminder of the evil of the world in which we live. There is someone out there who will have walked away today satisfied that his or her job was done. I pray that he/she will find peace and come to realise the damage they`re causing. May the Lord jesus visit them and bless them so that their lives can be given over to Jesus Christ.

Meanwhile, I am NOT in Aberdeen !!!!