Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Late again!

I have been following with some interest on other blogs about the suggestions of 10 commandments for bloggers (presumably Christian bloggers). I am not sure why there is a need for this type of thing other than the fact that we are all human and can all slip into doing and saying things that perhaps we shouldn't.
I found a couple of them quite interesting - the one about not stealing somebody else's topic made me think as I had thought that important topics would probably spread better if taken up by a number of bloggers - I am not sure some of the people whose blogs I read and comment on read my blog and likewise there may be people who read my blog that don't read other blogs, even those I link to. Methodist Preacher has an item on his blog about praying for the current economic situation and I believe this to be an important thing to do especially as I work in social housing and have done for the last 26 years, but I would be concerned about doing a similar post if this commandment were in place. I realise copying some of the sermons that appear on blogs would not be acceptable but it really does seem to me to be about using some of that wonderful thing called common sense.
The other one and I have to say I was guilty of this when I first started blogging was being jealous when someone else seemed to get better response to something I had blogged about than I did. I don't bother about this now as I really do think it is good if I have posted something that others wish to comment on but equally if I get none so be it.
I suspect this topic will be around for a few days but even if a suitable ten commandments existed for blogging how would you get people to sign up to and who would police it? I also think that there would be some bloggers who do not subscribe to the views of the EA and would consequently not wish to sign up even voluntarily to a code of conduct produced by them.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

What a week!

It all started last Saturday when I went to our Synod at Stafford and I am happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the day - the focus was on youth work and featured a magazine style session with films from a number of youth activities as well as interviews with some young people and the Chairman of the District (not sure about his youth!). In the afternoon there was a variety of session and I went to one called 'The Vine Project' where we did a mini versions of a youth project in Stafford called 'The Vine' It was very interesting. I took two folk from our circuit and they really enjoyed the days as well and it was good to hear that work among young people is alive and well across the district.
On Sunday I was at our own church leading the Harvest Festival service and I used a clip from Christian Aid about farmers in Burkina Faso as well as using power point for the words and preaching a sermon I had not taken with me - I really felt it was not the right word for the day. It would be true to say I let go and let God!
On Monday we had our Harvest Supper and Entertainment provided by The Spanners (Three guys from our church) We sang a variety of songs ranging from Maxwell's Silver Hammer through Jamaica Farewell and Seven Little Girls Sitting in the Back Seat (Our minister's sons apparently found this song very amusing)
On Tuesday night we went to sort the church out as we only have one room that we use both for church and social activities.I had a night off on Wednesday but then on Thursday it was our Circuit Meeting at which the re-invitation of our Superintendent was on the agenda. I am not sure I am comfortable with the process but thankfully the meeting voted for him to stay for a further five years by a good margin which will give us some stability in what are uncertain times for many people.
Last night we had a planning meeting for a joint service we are leading at our local Anglican church tomorrow night and I have to say it started off like walking through treacle, until somebody suddenly had an idea and the rest was fairly easy as they say.
Today I have done very little as tomorrow I am playing the organ in the morning at my home church and then the piano on the evening at the joint service so my day of rest has been today rather than the seventh day.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Local Preaching - A sacred cow?

Now here's an interesting thought which I came across on 'Big Circumstance's' blog and made by Will AKA Ramblings from Red Rose.
I have to say that I do have some sympathy with what he says in his comment as a whole where he indicates that friends of his in the United Methodist Church are seeing growth and it would seem they attribute this to the fact that there is one minister to one church. He says this makes it easier to follow themes in preaching and ensure that important things are brought before congregations and kept in their minds.
In a previous church I belonged to the vast bulk of preaching at communion services was done by either the pastor or myself and while we often preached on alternate Sundays we would also preach for a number of weeks at a time and have a theme/topic for those periods. If I preached the pastor led and vice versa with the evening gospel services having mainly visiting preachers and either the pastor or myself leading the worship - preachers only had to preach.
Within the comments Will makes he refers to the sacred cow of British Methodism which in his opinion is local preachers ( I am sure some of us could come up with others). I find this quite interesting given that in our circuit of ten churches on most Sunday two thirds of services are taken by local preachers and I realise in other circuits this figure may be even higher.Surely the sacred cow might be deemed to be a very necessary part of British Methodism.
Perhaps there is some mileage in the thoughts behind this process - Will would seem to be suggesting a system similar to the UMC which I am not sure would be workable in Britain but how about local pastors (voluntary) as well as ministers - perhaps ministers could focus on one church for say a quarter with local pastors looking after the other churches that particular minister is responsible for - and then move on to another church in the circuit for a quarter and so on. Who knows it might revolutionise British Methodism!!

Vestry Prayer Ordinary 26 Sept 28th

Lord God, we have come today to gather in your name and worship you. We ask dear Lord that you would help us to concentrate on you in this time of fellowship. We pray Lord that you will speak to each one of us through the words we sing and read and that you will speak to us through our sister/brother N..... as they bring your word to us.
May it be that we will receive a blessing fros our time together sharing fellowship with each other but more importantly Lord sharing fellowship with you. We ask all these things through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen

Vestry Prayer Ordinary 25 Sept 21st

Father of creation, we come to you with thanksgiving in our heart and a song in our mouths. We want to worship and adore you because you O God are worthy of our praise.
We thank you for our brother/sister N... who has come to lead our worship today, and ask that you would bless them as they lead our time of fellowship and bring your word to us. Help us to be attentive to the message they have brought to us and enable us to take something from this service into the coming week.We bring our prayers in the name of our Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Vestry Prayer ordinary 24 Sept 14th

Heavenly Father whose love profound provided a ransom for lost souls, we come today recognising your are our prophet, priest and king.
We come to you and bring our time of worship, asking you would breathe on us as we gather and open our hearts and minds to the prompting of your Holy Spirit.
Be with your servant N.... and help them to lead our worship and bring your word to your children gathered here today. We ask these things through the Father,Son and Spirit. Amen

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Walsall Plan September to November 2008

Here is the Walsall Circuit Plan for the quarter from September to November.

Vestry Prayer Ordinary 23 Sept 7th

Living Lord we gather today on this first Sunday of the new Methodist Year and come aware of your promise that where two or three are gathered in your name that you would be in the midst. We would claim that promise this morning for our time of fellowship and ask that you would be with our brother/sister N.... as they lead our time of worship and bring your word to your people gathered here.
We ask O Lord that you would grant a blessing to each one of us and enable us to go from here having had our faith lifted because we have had fellowship with one another, but more importantly that we have had fellowship with you, our living, loving Lord. We ask all these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.