Sunday, 25 November 2007

Christ the King!!

It's been a busy weekend but so far a pretty good one. Yesterday at our church we had a 'Potatoes and Praise' event (it started off as Pizza but lots of folk didn't like pizza) which consisted of some hymn singing and a buffet meal which included Jacket potatoes. I suppose when I say some hymn singing I should really say SOME! We sang a grand total of 34 hymns with some great and interesting ones as you can imagine, although I was surprised that And can it be, Blessed Assurance and Dear Lord and Father of mankind didn't make it. Some of the hymns that did were 'All to Jesus I surrender,' How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him,' 'How Great thou art,' 'Thine be the Glory' 'Years I spent in vanity and pride,' 'In Christ alone,' 'O brother man (1933 Methodist Hymn Book) sung to Londonderry Air - marvellous words to a great tune! We also sang a hymn I haven't sung for absolutely ages - 'There's a light upon the mountains' and Just as I am to the tune Saffron Walden which I had never heard before - I have to say I much prefer it to the tune Woodworth or even Misericorda.
This morning I led worship at Bentley Methodist Church and took the theme of Christ the King as this is Christ the King Sunday. I always feel a little disappointed that the Methodist Church do not seem to take this particular Sunday on board and on many of the plans I have seen this particular Sunday is often referred to as 'Sunday before Advent' - while I know this is right it always seems to set it up as some sort of anti climax Sunday when in reality it can be a real celebration of the gospel Sunday.
This evening we have a double celebration as we have a service of recognition for a new local preacher and the presentation of a certificate to one of our preachers who has achieved 50 years on full plan. I mentioned it at Bentley this morning and said it was a case of the new and the not so new - didn't want to say old!
Well better get off as I want re-type the letter from the President (bigger print for easier reading) ready for this evening as I will be reading it out in the service.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Prize Giving!

Well I went to the prize giving and unfortunately my wife could not join me as she was at work - when I went to pick her up she asked me how it had been and I had to say 'interesting'.
Before the event started one of the pupils was 'playing' the piano and I have to say I have heard piano tuners making a more melodious sound (if you have heard this you will understand exactly what I mean). We then had an opening prayer from the school chaplain followed by a musical interlude by some of the pupils which sounded like some of the stuff Mahler and Smetana used to compose which I hated listening to when I was at school.
The headteachers speech appeared to be read from a script - I had hoped he could have done a speech without being so obviously reading.
We then had the presentation of some of the certificates and prizes and it was really good to see so many young people who had achieved a great deal. We then had a dance item which I am sure was very good but I could not see much of it from where I was sitting. The second half of the presentation then took place followed by a speech from the Mayor - I am not really sure what he was trying to say - a point I heard echoed by one or two others on the way out - however in fairness to him it was unscripted and only about 8 minutes in length.
I particularly enjoyed the Chair of Governors speech which was about 60 words and very short.
I have just realised as I have read this I am starting to sound like a grumpy old man and in the words of the classic grumpy old man 'I don't believe it'.

Thank You!!

Just a little note to thank one of my readers who emailed me this morning to ask what had happened to the blogging and I had to say that I had not really been too inspired to blog anything recently and quite often other people have said stuff on their blogs that I may have been thinking.
I really do not want to be thought of as jumping on to other peoples bandwagons - sometimes I comment on other blogs and feel a bit like a poor relation, particularly where the other comments are very in depth and complex and mine are usually much more 'lightweight'. Perhaps I have the wrong ideas about blogging - perhaps I thought I was going to be a 'best selling blogger' with hundreds of readers making lots of comments - perhaps I didn't really appreciate that blogging can also be a lonely existence - seems there is much to think about in this blog.
Got to go now as I am going to my daughters school prizegiving where the guset speaker is the Mayor of Walsall Councillor Melvin Pitt - may have something to blog later relating to this event.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Been a while!

Well nearly two weeks since I last posted - had a busy couple of weeks with a major reorganisation going on at work and I have been assessing Faith & Worship submissions which is a very enjoyable process but obviously time consuming. I had seven lots of work this time which equates to 28 assignments plus personal reflections and worship portfolio's. I have to say the work I have seen bodes well for local preaching in the circuits the people come from.
In over twenty years of preaching I have never taken a remembrance Sunday service until today - I was very nervous about this as I wanted to be sure it went well and that all the relevant things were included - managed to get the Last Post and Reveille off itunes and played these as well as having the words associated with the act of remembrance. I also used a hymn by Fred Kaan to the tune Eventide ( Abide with me) and many of the congregation said how relevant they thought the hymn was for today. We also sang the Lord's Prayer which is something we rarely do and it seemed to give a real power to the words, and thanks to Methodist Preacher I decided to use God be with you and this went very well.
I have attached the words of the Fred Kaan hymn and could recommend it as a good choice for Remembrance services.

God! As with silent hearts we bring to mind
how hate and war diminish humankind,
we pause - and seek in worship to increase
our knowledge of the things that make for peace.

Hallow our will as humbly we recall
the lives of those who gave and give their all.
We thank you, Lord, for women, children, men
who seek to serve in love, today as then.

Give us deep faith to comfort those who mourn,
high hope to share with all the newly born,
strong love in our pursuit of human worth:
'lest we forget' the future of this earth.

So, Prince of Peace, disarm our trust in power,
teach us to coax the plant of peace to flower.
May we, im-passioned by your living Word,
remember forward to a world restored.

Fred Kaan (born 1929)
© 1997 Stainer & Bell Ltd