Monday, March 31, 2008

rolling hills, ploughed fields

In Easter week I was in Devon at Old Walls with Rachel and Sam. Happy times: surprisingly good weather, lots of work done, and some great walks in rolling hills from the front door. Re the ploughed field pic: could the farmer be inspired by Andy Goldsworthy? Check out an Andy Goldsworthy archive.

Friday, March 28, 2008

next blah! Oxford

The next Blah! in Oxford looks very good: Brian Walsh and Sylvia Keesmaat will be briefly in the UK in June and doing stuff around their rave-reviewed book Colossians Remixed. Read more on Jonny Baker’s blog. And you can book here at blah! oxford.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

everything is different

It's resurrection day. And everything looks a little different. Pregnant with hope, this day reveals the possibility of restoration and of re-making. There is ascent after descent. When we go down, as we must [life simply presents us with no other choice sometimes] there will always be the hope of coming up. God will not leave us comfortless. All is being made new.

+Christ has died+Christ is risen+Christ will come again+

[the pic is from a mayBe Eucharist last summer - today's it freezing cold and snowing in Oxford]

Saturday, March 22, 2008

walking stations of the cross

mayBe had its Good Friday stations of the cross walk yesterday in Shotover. We've done this each year since we started. Lots of friends came too. We walked 2 of the stations in silence together - the crucifixion and the burial - perhaps all we can do in response on this toughest of days. Then we all went back to Emma+John's for hot cross buns. Now it's into the dark silence of Holy Saturday.

Friday, March 21, 2008

stay with me

Yesterday - Maunday Thursday - I led a quiet day for all the staff at CMS in Oxford. Seemed to go well. In the last session we spent time with the idea of the vulnerable Jesus needing the friendship of the disciples in the time of great trial. Here's a pic that we used [the image is from mayBe's weekend away last June]

not abandon love

Earlier this week I was on the fresh expressions conference. I've just been asked to become an associate missioner with them and this was a really good way to get up to speed with what they are doing. There's lots of good stuff happening around the country. FE has played a big part in getting approval for the new Bishops' Mission Order measure which has gone through General Synod and is now getting parliamentary approval. This will make it possible for a project/community to exist in a similar standing as a parish, and makes space for the network and cross-border nature of emerging church. I think mayBe could go down this route.

We did some work in small groups and in ours there was a lot of musing on the uncertain state of the world. On Tuesday I was reading Jesus' apocalyptic discussion in Matthew 24 about the uncertain state of the world in his time. There's a moment where he says: 'because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold.' When times are tough we can tend, I think, to tighten up, become less generous, more centred on our own well-being, less thoughtful for others. A reminder to me as a would-be follower of Christ to not abandon love.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

try this improvisation [8]: who is this?

Yesterday Cara from mayBe and myself facilitated a worship space for ReSource. For the improvisation in response to the Gospel we made a communal art piece, something that we've done a lot in mayBe. We used cardboard from an old box - we've found it's much less intimidating than a proper canvas to people who don't consider themselves to be 'artistic'. The idea yesterday was for each person to use a black marker pen and draw a line, taking the pen off the surface only once or twice, to begin to respond in some way to the Gospel. In this case we took the question "who is this?" from the Palm Sunday Gospel - with a subtext for us - "who is this man Jesus, and what might he be bringing to life [or death] in us at this time?" Then Cara did some work in paint to somehow bring it together. In this way we hope that we discover a creative way for everyone to engage, but also give give scope to those with particular artistic gifts. Seemed to work - and the end result looked pretty good I think.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

walking up into quiet

On Thursday I led a quiet day for our first year students from the Oxford Centre for Youth Ministry. We went to one of my favourite places for retreat, the Carmelite priory at Boars Hill. I had no car on the day, so I took the stuff up the night before, then walked from our house on the day. It takes just under an hour, and there's a great sense of going into quiet as you leave Oxford and the A34 behind and walk up the hill on footpaths through fields. Of course at the end of the day the reverse effect kicks in...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I was looking for some pics to send off to Fresh Expressions and I came across this one from 4 years ago when we were working with ideas for what became mayBe. Interesting to see that we thought about calling ourselves flow, deepfield [think we rejected that as perhaps thinking too well of ourselves] or incense[d]. I quite like that. Perhaps we'll use if for something else we do.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

ReSource taster days

I'm involved in next Saturday's ReSource event which is at the CMS site in Oxford. ReSource aims to 'train people with a vision to engage in mission and start churches in the emerging culture.' Other contributors on the day are Beth Keith, Jonny Baker and Simon Hall. It's not too late to book - go to taster day for booking info.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

small missional communities conversation

This week I was at the CMS-hosted 'small missional communities conversation.' Very good to catch up with people, hear some inspiring stories, and be part of the the ongoing exploration.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

weekend 7 sabbath

This is mayBe's weekend 7, giving us space to draw breath and to spend more time with friends and family. In our case this weekend we've come down to South Devon to Old Walls. I like the rhythm that week 7 gives to the community. A shabbat, sabbath, sabbatical every 7 weeks [or so - sometimes 8 or 9 if that seems to fit with a church season or a public holiday] seems to work. Each time in the week after the 7 weekend there's a great sense of anticipation for being together again, and the start of a new cycle of our community life. This week, like most first weeks, we are starting with an all-together community meal on Thursday. Yesterday was a beautiful day. We walked on the coast path from Thurlestone to Hope Cove. The pic is of Gail on the beach on the way back.