We continue to walk and wander on a fairly regular basis. On our weekend away in February, Pete challenged us to think and look for alters in the world… these are places that can help us discover God in the everyday environs we find ourselves. There are many that we can discover in nature, a broken tree, a tree stump, plants or flowers, the sky, hills and fields… even in the faces whom we walk with
and the strangers that we encounter. I have also discovered these on urban walks, architecture, graffiti, sounds from buildings and parks… Alters in the world can be discovered anywhere if we choose to try and discover them, why not try and find one the next time you are out and about.
I have just returned after another great walk around Earsdon wandering along the wagonways, we were searching for the sunset… and after we had finished and had a refreshment break we were rewarded with one… There is something incredible about walking just out of
the urban sprawl, the faint noise of cars, but here we were amongst the wheat and greenery as well as horses grooming each other.
As we walk, we talk with each other sharing our day and the joys and sorrows of life, moving around each other being community. A few weeks ago we wandered on another walk, but there was a few more with us on that occasion, including children running around and dogs going in and out of the stream. What has struck me as we have walked, is that each one provides us with some
new experience, and I am learning to capture the moment and to thank God for them.
This last week on the longest day of the year we wandered around the Cobalt Business Park for our Wayfarer walk of about 3 miles. The reason we choose this venue is that on the top of the hill there is a large sun dial and you can view much of our locality and it gives a great view to watch the sun go down.
The Cobalt Business Park provided a few surprises, in the
midst of the office blocks and new industry as to how peaceful and tranquil it is, there is also a memorial to those who perished in the concentration camps under the hands of the Nazis, a stark reminder of our history and the uncertainty of our present times.
We saw Canada Geese and their young as well as a few ducks, nature found its home in the midst of work and
business. The walk took us around the whole site on the old railway lines and new found pathways. Some of us picked up litter as we went and we paused at the end to think about the longest day and ponder on the light and darkness that provides us with the rhythms of life and then we prayed for our community. And so we witnessed the sun go down below the clouds to lead us towards the start of summer giving way to autumn… although I’m in denial about that as I love the summer!
I found this great post about #XmasAngels! Fantastic!!!
Last week certainly took us by surprise. Back in September I received an email offering a plan for Christmas, the crazy idea of placing hundreds of knitted angels in Romiley as free gifts to our c…
Source: Knitted angels
I have been dreaming about this for a number of years, I was inspired by the fresh expressions team in Scarborough when they lit lanterns on the beach as an act of remembrance for loved ones. It has taken the beachcomberFX team a while but we eventually committed to making it happen this year. We didn’t want to just use the same idea, we decided to link it with remembrance weekend, the next thought was what to do?
We decided to try and design a poppy on the beach but it would be dark so there was no chance of drawing it into the sand… so after a few ideas we thought about using battery powered fairy lights.
The weather was kind and it was fairly mild for a November evening and so as folks gathered at Riley’s Fish Shack on King Edwards Bay for a relaxed evening we began to arrange our fairy lights and lanterns… we had thirty lanterns, and over the next couple of hours each one would be used, towards the end of our time there the sky cleared and the moon gave us extra light. I had the opportunity to chat to a few folk who saw what we were doing from the top and had walked down to ask. Some came from the Riley’s to take time out to remember a loved one or to think about those who perished in wars.
I spoke to a few people about who we were and what we were doing down on the beach. It was met with kindness and generosity. We spoke to locals and visitors of all ages and gave out free chocolates. We posted photos on social media through Sunday@thepub’s twitter account and our own and through instagram and facebook. Others took photos as well and shared them on social media. This was the first of what we hope will be a few ideas that we can do as a result of this. Next year we would like to do it for longer and make the poppy larger with double the amount of lanterns! Watch this space!
Racism is a social issue which we ALL need to address. This is a small preliminary collection of online resources gathered by Dr Alison Phipps, myself and others which offers various kinds of advic…
Hi folks, this is really worth a read, powerful personal story about the situation in ‘The Jungle’ – Calais
There I was, fresh from middle class Britain, crouched in the back of a van: Doors shut, pitch black, surrounded by boxes. Huddled next to me in the darkness, Hamid, a Syrian refugee.
As the van picked up speed, jolting and rocking us to and fro, Hamid began to mutter a joke about how our journey was good practise for him: Learning to hide, to keep his balance. The laughter didn’t last long though as a distorted, pained expression began to stretch across his face. Hamid confronted me: “Do you know what it’s like to spend three full days hidden in a lorry, no food or water, scared and afraid?”
That was November 2015, ‘The Jungle’ – Calais, my first face-to-face experience of the refugee crisis engulfing Europe.
Moments earlier, Hamid had been helping me distribute sleeping bags to hundreds of others facing his situation: Mud drenched tents, freezing weather…
View original post 955 more words
In the past I have led lots of weekends away for young people. They were always memorable times of building faith and encouraging friendships, as well as being loads of fun!
I have just come back from a rather different weekend away with a great bunch of folk who are part of several groups of people with whom my wife and I connect, the main group being Sunday@thepub.
It feels like we have been building up to this weekend for a while now and it just felt that now was the right time. I have been wanting to explore a deeper sense of community than we can find when we meet on a Sunday night in the local pubs that have become our ‘church buildings’. These are great spaces to create community, but we have limited time to develop them.
Because of the diversity of the group and the fact that not everyone comes on a Sunday night it was important to allow people the chance to feel part of the group but to keep some of the elements of what we are about on a Sunday night and to explore some elements of corporate worship and discussion.
There were many highlights about the weekend, opportunities to share in small groups, to walk together, to have space to be alone and relax together. We allowed space for worship encounters through liturgy from various sources, as well as through creating stations for people to wander around, a community space for discussion and dialogue about ‘rules of life’ and the things that we do that we consider to be ritualistic.
The main highlights for me were eating together around a huge table… it brought to mind the last supper as we sat around the table, eating, drinking, laughing, sharing conversation. There was something Holy about those moments. As I have thought about it I have imagined Jesus doing the same kind of thing with his friends, I have imagined him eating and drinking with all kinds of people some of which were the wrong people in the eyes of the religious leaders.
New Testament scholar Robert Karris says this ‘In Luke’s Gospel Jesus is either going to a meal, at a meal, or coming from a meal’. I love this idea, meals are about welcome, they speak of friendship, generosity, and dependance on others who have prepared the food and they embody God’s grace and enact mission by their very nature.
Another highlight was our walks, we would stop and pause along the way at various times for a reflection, we would choose to sometimes walk with others and sometimes to walk alone, we had the opportunity to play on the beach and to drink in the surroundings. All of these experiences are about connection, connection with others, with ourselves, with nature and of course with God. There is also a rhythm to walking which can help in understanding these connections in a deeper way, each step an opportunity, a reminder of the simple things that God can so often speak into.
This was our first weekend away, but I doubt it will be our last!