- Happy New Year to all. Wondering what joys and challenges 2016 has in store… (Fri Jan 01 11:18:15 +0000 2016)
- It might sound odd, but I actually prefer getting up, showered and dressed to lounging around in pyjamas. Not that there’s an option today! (Mon Jan 04 07:18:01 +0000 2016)
- It comes to something when a new toy arrives for the computer, and I’m not going to have time to even unpack it before the weekend! 🙁 (Tue Jan 05 21:53:23 +0000 2016)
- Still, 2,500 words on Eucharistic Prayer F now submitted, Christmas decorations packed away, and new school term launched successfully. (Tue Jan 05 22:00:04 +0000 2016)
- O God, who by the leading of a star manifested your Son to the peoples of the earth, grant that we may behold your glory face to face. (Tue Jan 05 22:13:45 +0000 2016)
- Struck down with tonsillitus. I’m not very good at being cooped up indoors! Still, on the mend… (Tue Jan 12 12:07:58 +0000 2016)
- Do take care driving tonight, fellow YMCers. Looks like it might be snowy. Sorry can’t join you, still convalescing. (Wed Jan 13 13:11:23 +0000 2016)
- Genuinely sad that Sir Terry has passed away. A great loss, and condolences to the family. (Sun Jan 31 16:04:21 +0000 2016)
- I’m not sure that my younger son has quite got the hang on Lent… He’s very excited that his brother is giving up puddings! (Sun Feb 07 10:19:03 +0000 2016)
- Bittersweet service this morning, as we say thank you but also farewell to our vicar of the last 15 years, as he and his wife retire. (Sun Feb 14 08:32:19 +0000 2016)
- But also very happy Valentine’s day, both to those who do and do not have eros if their life right now. (Sun Feb 14 08:36:38 +0000 2016)
- @alexbcann very best wishes for the future – I always enjoyed your show when I could listen, and of course our occasional banter on here!! (Tue Mar 01 21:18:44 +0000 2016)
- I’ve just seen that Condorman is on netflix. How awesome is that? (Fri Mar 11 14:55:12 +0000 2016)
- 18k walk with the scouts. Was good, but i don’t think I’ll be able to move tomorrow! #FortiesAndFeelingIt (Sun Mar 13 17:42:17 +0000 2016)
- I’ve signed the petition calling on the government to keep the BBC free from government control. Will you? https://t.co/qt4fUXfuY5 (Tue Mar 15 21:53:44 +0000 2016)
- RT @JamesPrescott77: Already seeing irrational, illogical, fear-filled reactions to Brussels tragedy.Don’t listen to fear. Fear will just m… (Tue Mar 22 13:20:42 +0000 2016)
- All packed for Easter School tomorrow. Suspect I’m going to regret putting in “Misson of God” on the walk up the hill to St Chads!! (Sat Mar 26 13:32:32 +0000 2016)
- He is risen. The tomb is empty. All is not lost after all! (Sun Mar 27 06:06:33 +0000 2016)
- (It would have been ok if No. 2 son had risen a little later though. I know it was technically 6.30….) (Sun Mar 27 06:07:46 +0000 2016)
- … mind you, I’m as happy and excited as he is. Oh what a morning! 🙂 (Sun Mar 27 06:09:17 +0000 2016)
- RT @JustinWelby: Christ is Risen! May you know the joy, hope, comfort, strength, forgiveness and love that Jesus brings to all. #EasterJoy (Sun Mar 27 06:47:46 +0000 2016)
- RT @Pontifex: Jesus Christ is risen! Love has triumphed over hatred, life has conquered death, light has dispelled the darkness! (Sun Mar 27 06:48:18 +0000 2016)
- Right, on my way to Durham for YMC Easter School 2016. I love travelling by train, and ’tis good liminal space/time. Especially with chocs. (Sun Mar 27 13:38:54 +0000 2016)
- I like the St Chad’s motto – “not what you have, but you, yourself” (“non vestra sed vos” if you’re into Latin) #YMCES16 (Mon Mar 28 10:18:39 +0000 2016)
- Found it helpful to unpack stewardship, especially that God doesnt need us in His relationship with creation. #YMCES16 (Mon Mar 28 10:29:36 +0000 2016)
- RT @ClaireCorley201: “When you’re used to privilege, equality can seem like oppression”. Richard Rohr YMCES16 (Mon Mar 28 12:44:37 +0000 2016)
- It turns out that the lights in Epiphany House turn on and off automatically, and stay on for about half a flight of stairs…. #YMCES16 (Mon Mar 28 12:51:59 +0000 2016)
- RT @ClaireCorley201: “You are being ordained to be a watcher. Watching for glimpses of where God is moving” YMCES16 (Mon Mar 28 16:54:16 +0000 2016)
- Common elements of mission: intentionality, risk taking, serving, invitation to serve, multiplication, new people groups. #YMCES16 (Mon Mar 28 16:57:32 +0000 2016)
- RT @Sam_Tyndall: We are being ordained to be watchers; to be looking for signs of God’s Kingdom work. To be catalysts of mission. @MarkPowl… (Mon Mar 28 16:57:57 +0000 2016)
- Probably not called so much to be “attitude adjusters” (reckon that’s the Holy Spirit’s job!) #YMCES16 (Mon Mar 28 17:32:34 +0000 2016)
- Naboth’s Vineyard illustrates how we get trapped into systems that are destructive and tragic. #YMCES16 (Tue Mar 29 10:05:20 +0000 2016)
- We need climate justice. At present we have no agency; e.g. in supermarkets we are powerless in the face of inequities in the supply chain. (Tue Mar 29 16:15:01 +0000 2016)
- Redemption comes through an equitable distribution of the means to grow food. #YMCES16 (Tue Mar 29 16:17:27 +0000 2016)
- “We read under the eye of God until the heart is touched and leaps into flame.” #YMCES16 (Wed Mar 30 08:23:00 +0000 2016)
- Gen 1:31 blows away 2k years of bad theology. Matter matters to God. #ymces16 #RuthValerio (Wed Mar 30 09:16:22 +0000 2016)
- Being made in the image of God is functional not ontological; it’s a job description. #ymces16 #RuthValerio (Wed Mar 30 09:52:08 +0000 2016)
- Through Jesus there is peace. His life, death, resurrection and ascending have brought about reconciliation. #ymces16 #RuthValerio (Wed Mar 30 09:55:32 +0000 2016)
- RT @ClaireCorley201: @ruthvalerio “many little steps in the right direction” #refreshing #YMCES16 (Wed Mar 30 11:19:27 +0000 2016)
- The primary motivation is what is the right way to live as a follower of Jesus. @ruthvalerio #ymces16 (Wed Mar 30 11:20:38 +0000 2016)
- 4 areas we can change: the food we eat, the way we travel, the energy we use, the things we throw away. @ruthvalerio #ymces16 (Wed Mar 30 11:53:57 +0000 2016)
- Every time @ruthvalerio knew my name, my reaction was “wow – that’s amazing.” It might be related to my wearing of a name badge… #ymces16 (Wed Mar 30 11:58:52 +0000 2016)
- There is already one area where I’m already gold standard eco – I reuse all my jokes (and recycle my sermons). #YMCES16 (Wed Mar 30 13:03:02 +0000 2016)
- Stunning “Liquid Eucharist” celebrating St Cuthbert in Durham Cathedral this evening. I managed 4/7 prayer stations. #ymces16 (Wed Mar 30 20:49:31 +0000 2016)
- Anglican worship should have a proper catholicity, drawing on the universal resource of the church. #ymces16 (Thu Mar 31 09:14:30 +0000 2016)
- Nature and clinate is, to some extent, The physical expression of our spiritual state. #ymces16 (Thu Mar 31 11:37:50 +0000 2016)
- I love that, even after 16 years of marriage, we can still easily spend 2 hours chatting on the phone. #ItMustBeLove (Thu Mar 31 21:23:01 +0000 2016)
- Looking forward to the carousel groups. To carouse: “drink alcohol and enjoy oneself with others in a noisy, lively way.” #YMCES16 (Fri Apr 01 06:12:14 +0000 2016)
- Challenges for church: attractional model, culture of raising leaders (lack of mentoring), being risk averse, fear. #ymces16 @selvaratnam (Fri Apr 01 11:37:08 +0000 2016)
- 5 lessons: extended adolescence; churches made BY not FOR; truth is complex; perhaps less strong on bible; theological honesty. #YMCES16 (Fri Apr 01 11:43:32 +0000 2016)
- Keep your puzzled faces – always work out where God is. #YMCES16 (Fri Apr 01 11:58:30 +0000 2016)
- #ILovePhotocopying @spencerunleashed (Fri Apr 01 20:48:07 +0000 2016)
- Fabulous review, well done all, esp @EveRidgeway #YMCES16 #CuddyDucks (Fri Apr 01 20:57:59 +0000 2016)
- RT @ClaireCorley201: “I don’t go to church but someone said you could help us.. ” #goodplacetostart #YMCES16 (Fri Apr 01 21:27:46 +0000 2016)
- RT @ClaireCorley201: Are we raising up younger leaders to be assistants or successors? Are we raising up leaders to go beyond ourselves?… (Fri Apr 01 21:28:52 +0000 2016)
- RT @JustinWelby: The more Christians pray, the more they become the people of good news for the world around them. #ThyKingdomCome (Fri Apr 01 21:30:33 +0000 2016)
- Well done @EveRidgeway and @hanscombe63 – amazing head students. Looks like we’re in safe hands next year too @ClaireCorley201, @bluefin040 (Sat Apr 02 20:55:45 +0000 2016)
- Great morning of creative and faith-filled ideas. Now almost time to say goodbye to #CuddyDucks and #ymces16 (Sun Apr 03 10:33:33 +0000 2016)
- I’m taken with the concept of “non-anxious presence”. I can see opportunities for me to grow in this area, particularly in my day job. (Sun Apr 03 15:54:37 +0000 2016)
- “I will praise God in the mighty thong” says the Psalm in Compline (but I may have misread it.) Maybe cassocks are a good thing after all. (Mon Apr 04 21:47:14 +0000 2016)
- Super speedy delivery of “Just Living” from @ruthvalerio. It’s going to be the source material for my assembly next month. #CoCreatureliness (Wed Apr 06 06:20:19 +0000 2016)
- Saddened to read that animal welfare guidance is to be weakened. The way we treat poultry is utterly shameful (and dangerous) as it is. (Wed Apr 06 11:50:28 +0000 2016)
- … although @msnorthcott had already convinced me to stop buying chicken at #ymces16. (Wed Apr 06 11:55:03 +0000 2016)
- I put the radio on. 5yo: “In Megan’s car they don’t listen to Stray FM, they listen to Church Songs.” @samanthajoy2 @MediaMartinYFC (Sat Apr 09 09:18:16 +0000 2016)
- Did I mention that there was a lightsabre “welcome back” card waiting for my after Easter School. #HappyDaddy https://t.co/odGyVycaLn (Tue Apr 12 20:10:55 +0000 2016)
- Exciting that the new YMC prospectus is out (with some of my photos in it!) https://t.co/cGHYZRa1od (Thu Apr 21 07:28:01 +0000 2016)
- Feels like everytime I open the news another icon has passed away! The world is a smaller place without you, thank you for what you brought. (Thu Apr 21 19:12:50 +0000 2016)
- Driving home on the M1. I say “we’ll stop at the next services.” 5yo says “which church will that be?” He wasn’t even being funny!! (Sun Apr 24 19:37:17 +0000 2016)
- Big bangs over Harrogate. Sonic boom? Explosion? (Mon May 02 20:53:33 +0000 2016)
- RT @NYorksPolice: Confirmation from RAF that loud bangs heard across the county were sonic booms from RAF Typhoon jets. No cause for concern (Mon May 02 21:17:20 +0000 2016)
- Used to regularly hear sonic booms in the 80s in Norfolk. Rattled the crockery then too! Haven’t heard ones for ages though. (Mon May 02 21:46:28 +0000 2016)
- Strikes me that if Donald Trump were elected, it would ironically prove his “enemy states” right – that Western Democracy doesn’t work. (Tue May 03 06:18:33 +0000 2016)
- Seen at least one graphic of the #SonicBoom which portrays it as having an epicenter and radii #NotHowItWorks #NotAnEarthquakeOrExplosion. (Tue May 03 06:58:17 +0000 2016)
- Up most of the night with a poorly child – not going to sparkle today! But it looks like spring has sprung. (Wed May 04 07:03:12 +0000 2016)
- “Northern Shooting Show” at the Yorkshire Showground – now I know folk round here can be brusque and direct, but is there no other way? (Thu May 05 17:07:11 +0000 2016)
- “He has shown a lamentable want of discretion for his years.” #BeatrixPotter (Sat May 14 08:04:43 +0000 2016)
- Successfully rescued Princess Beauty from the wicked Queen Tangleweed at Alnwick Garden. (Sat May 14 13:18:03 +0000 2016)
- “Yes” from me for the EU – 70 years of peace and stability, and I think the UK still has a part to play. (Fri Jun 03 07:19:00 +0000 2016)
- My 5yo thinks that we pray the Lord’s Prayer slowly… as our saviour tortoise!! #MorningPrayer (Tue Jun 14 07:03:41 +0000 2016)
- There are so many broken people in this world. (Thu Jun 16 14:28:36 +0000 2016)
- RT @OurCofE: Today’s awful news a reminder to be thankful for all MPs – they make themselves vulnerable in every way to serve us. (Thu Jun 16 14:31:55 +0000 2016)
- RT @alexbcann: There are no words to describe my sadness about the death of Jo Cox. Those who are fanning the flames of political hatred, t… (Thu Jun 16 16:35:30 +0000 2016)
- Hope all those who have been peddling fear and hatred are proud of themselves this morning. Sadly they possibly are. (Fri Jun 17 08:02:04 +0000 2016)
- Ever since YMC Easter School I’ve wondered about the link between weather and ethics – interesting to see wild storms on #EUref day… (Thu Jun 23 18:43:13 +0000 2016)
- Very saddened by this morning’s result. It seems to me fear and hatred have won. Guess it’s trump for president next. #EUref (Fri Jun 24 05:42:14 +0000 2016)
- RT @petespurs: Prayers for healing of a deeply divided Britain: https://t.co/Hzf261Wp2x (Fri Jun 24 05:42:44 +0000 2016)
- So the result of the referendum was (roughly speaking) : 1/3 want to leave, 1/3 want to remain, and 1/3 don’t care… (Fri Jun 24 06:47:20 +0000 2016)
- RT @Got_My_Towel: “The nature of democracy even when you lose is better than the alternative.” Well said, @BeardLikeAJedi (Fri Jun 24 08:09:01 +0000 2016)
- Genuine distress at school gate this morning, across demographic spectrum. To be fair, in some cases due to forgotten non-uniform day. (Fri Jun 24 08:11:33 +0000 2016)
- RT @JustinWelby: After #EUref let’s pray we may build a good UK, playing its part among the nations. My statement with @JohnSentamu: https:… (Fri Jun 24 08:22:27 +0000 2016)
- RT @nickbaines: So, the people have spoken. Not clear what they have said, but clear outcome. Now to shape the future & not simply wish it… (Fri Jun 24 08:22:46 +0000 2016)
- “The earth is the Lord’s and all that fills it, •
the compass of the world and all who dwell therein.” #EUref (Fri Jun 24 08:23:11 +0000 2016)
- RT @PhilCarman: Excited to announce that I have been appointed to be the vicar of St Andrews Starbeck in Harrogate. @starbeckchurch https:/… (Sun Jul 03 16:32:12 +0000 2016)
- I can report that the drop of sterling hasn’t affected the Tooth Fairy’s leavings. (Sun Jul 10 07:46:34 +0000 2016)
- Message of NT : You can trust Jesus – he is the son of God, God loves you, and when things are tough you can ask for help. @askewben (Sun Jul 10 10:11:51 +0000 2016)
- I don’t follow F1 that closely anymore, but isn’t the point of pits to fix/adjust the cars? Driver’s shouldn’t need radios, really…. (Wed Jul 13 06:22:02 +0000 2016)
- Tonight’s supper is a “Daddy Special.” The fact that my culinary explorations get their own title tells you all you need to know… (Fri Jul 15 15:36:43 +0000 2016)
- On this particular occasion its macaroni cheese, with chick peas and smoked haddock. Tasted ok pre-baking, so signs are promising… (Fri Jul 15 15:39:20 +0000 2016)
- Chickpeas on the menu again tomorrow: lamb, chickpea, and apricot casserole. I’m hopeful that this too will be more coherent then it sounds. (Fri Jul 15 15:45:06 +0000 2016)
- And i also caught a Ratata today. #PokemonGOuk https://t.co/3H28hX9nRU (Fri Jul 15 15:46:54 +0000 2016)
- Woodlands Methodist is a gym, i notice @HannahnagroM @MediaMartinYFC @PhilCarman @starbeckchurch @BBCNews . (Fri Jul 15 17:20:38 +0000 2016)
- Quick check on twitter to see what today’s major geo-political event is… #IsItAllADream? (Sat Jul 16 20:32:49 +0000 2016)
- Turns out @starbeckchurch already a pokestop. Much pokemon after service yesterday. @HannahnagroM @MediaMartinYFC @PhilCarman @samanthajoy2 (Mon Jul 18 06:29:04 +0000 2016)
- My personal challenge for this week is to do better at that remembering that the people I work with are more important than the work itself. (Mon Jul 18 06:31:58 +0000 2016)
- Semi-resurrected my 365, now that term’s over. Dusted off my 100mm macro lens, and having some fun with it! https://t.co/EpiIrFk5J7 (Mon Jul 18 20:50:38 +0000 2016)
- Woke up this morning to find my younger son lying on me. Don’t know how long he’d been there – I normally hear him coming in! #MustBeTired (Sat Jul 23 05:30:06 +0000 2016)
- Feeling very uncomfortable after reading Ann Morisy’s chapter on suburbia and comfortable/insulated “play pen” lifestyles. (Sun Jul 24 14:09:33 +0000 2016)
- Also squirming with analysis that we’re addicted to the trvial, because we darent expose ourselves to true risk in case it shows us up. (Sun Jul 24 14:16:03 +0000 2016)
- … and yes twitter and facebook, i am in part thinking of you…. (Sun Jul 24 14:17:00 +0000 2016)
- Today’s happy thought is that tonight is the last time I’ll have to iron school shirts for 6 weeks. (Sun Jul 24 19:28:27 +0000 2016)
- Such a joy to wake up by the sea. Many thanks to Kate Winslet and Enid Blyton for making the journey seem as quick as the slippery slip! (Mon Aug 01 06:05:27 +0000 2016)
- Tincy bit annoyed that i hadn’t twigged the new Harry Potter was going to be delivered while I was away. Still, nice that it’ll be waiting. (Tue Aug 02 06:13:01 +0000 2016)
- I’m beginning to think that Ann Morisy’s “Journeying Out” should be compulsory reading for Christians. #LifeChanger #Mission (Wed Aug 03 07:32:51 +0000 2016)
- … alongside “Contemplative Youth Ministry” by Mark Yaconelli (whether or not you do youth ministry). Anxiety is so pervasive and toxic. (Wed Aug 03 07:35:19 +0000 2016)
- Absolutely gripped by “Cursed Child” – I think it’s also the first time I’ve been transported to the narrative world reading a play script. (Sun Aug 14 08:15:09 +0000 2016)
- Aha – it’s “beautiful people get results” day in the media. But remember your grades do not reflect or define your worth or identity! (Thu Aug 18 16:22:09 +0000 2016)
- Ordered some posh boots to wear for church stuff once I’m revved up. In honour of pokėmon they are referred to as my “vicar shoes” 🙂 (Sat Aug 20 21:10:06 +0000 2016)
- (You need to say it quickly out loud) (Sat Aug 20 21:11:22 +0000 2016)
- Today is one of those days which challenges my commitment to cycling to work. #Soggy #Monday (Mon Aug 22 06:40:37 +0000 2016)
- 5yo desperate to do the Bake Off tomorrow: “You need to make a mirror glaze, jaffa cakes, and ginger biscuits. I’ll be the judge.” (Thu Sep 01 18:44:40 +0000 2016)
- My respect for Bake Off stars has gone up a notch after my attempt at Viennese Fingers https://t.co/D49sKFlGXF (Fri Sep 02 11:18:47 +0000 2016)
- ST:TNG on Netflix + ironing = my Sunday evenings. (Sun Sep 04 19:36:04 +0000 2016)
- Getting excited about the start of a new year on the Yorkshire Ministry Course. Fab Summer break, now raring to go again! (Thu Sep 08 21:11:43 +0000 2016)
- There’s a great book called “The Prodigal God” by Tim Keller, which talks about God squandering his love on us @leach_mick @starbeckchurch (Mon Sep 12 05:40:36 +0000 2016)
- Fantastic service at @starbeckchurch. Good to hear @PhilCarman and family’s story, and about faith in a great big God! (Sun Oct 02 13:53:23 +0000 2016)
- Becoming increasingly convinced of the importance of story and food at Church. But then I guess that’s kind of what Eucharist is… (Sun Oct 02 16:26:48 +0000 2016)
- Just to be clear, by “story” I dont mean fiction. Narrative, testimony, anamnesis, parable… telling, learning, and growth through story. (Sun Oct 02 17:21:25 +0000 2016)
- ***STOP PRESS*** It turns out irons are far more effective when the plug is switched on at the wall. (Sun Oct 02 18:57:09 +0000 2016)
- There’s nothing quite like putting on a pair of toasty socks straight from the radiator! #WarmToes (Tue Oct 04 06:24:17 +0000 2016)
- Me: Not that Christmas is about treats
6yo: No, it’s about Fr Christmas
Me: Actually Jesus
12yo: Anyway Fr Christmas doesn’t exist
#awkward (Fri Oct 07 06:58:47 +0000 2016)
- It’s never really occurred to be before that Advent changes length – this year it’s going to be the longest that it can be! (Tue Oct 11 06:51:34 +0000 2016)
- I love it when my assignments (essays) exactly hit the word count, but I worry the tutors won’t believe me. 🙂 (Sat Oct 15 20:54:11 +0000 2016)
- 6yo’s tooth fell out this morning. Wondering whether to negotiate payments in dollars from the tooth fairy? (Mon Oct 17 11:46:03 +0000 2016)
- Thank you @Morrisons for gingerbread pumpkins. 6yo loves them! https://t.co/q2x7oxF7LA (Fri Oct 28 17:01:24 +0000 2016)
- The fruit is soaking – Christmas cake bake lined up for the morrow. (Sat Oct 29 18:05:25 +0000 2016)
- Saying Morning Prayer at home. 6yo: “When’s the tortoise?” 🙂 (Tue Nov 08 08:20:17 +0000 2016)
- I genuinely fail to comprehend the arguments against speed cameras. No one is making you break the law!! (Tue Nov 08 12:36:21 +0000 2016)
- SNOW!!! (Wed Nov 09 06:45:49 +0000 2016)
- I can’t say I’m happy about the US result, but we are people of love and hope and prayer, and Yahweh is bigger than all of this. (Wed Nov 09 07:55:27 +0000 2016)
- On the other hand, outside looks lovely, and the gently falling snow is very pretty. 3/10 HG2 #uksnow (Wed Nov 09 07:58:47 +0000 2016)
- Seems appropriate to be remembering Leo when the lectionary has Daniel in the lions’ den!! (Thu Nov 10 08:33:43 +0000 2016)
- Jesus’ miracles & parables serve the same purpose: to break in, shock and surprise. To disorientate in order to reorientate. (Ricoeur) (Sat Nov 12 22:22:06 +0000 2016)
- Just realised how similar “pope-ery” and “pot pourri” sound… Makes one wonder about incense’s role in the reformation… (Sat Nov 19 12:59:23 +0000 2016)
- Just come across Mojito Lite’s cover of “Sweet Child o’ Mine”. I like it at lot more than I should by rights. (Fri Nov 25 09:28:25 +0000 2016)
- Great job by all at this eve. Well done and thank you #carolsbyglowlight (Sun Dec 04 20:44:22 +0000 2016)
- I think my favourite Greek philosopher was Isosceles (even though he was a bit of a square). (Thu Dec 08 06:58:13 +0000 2016)
- Teenage babysitter arrives with her jeans slashed up.
6yo: “why have you got holes in your jeans?”
B/s: “Its how I bought them.”
🙂 (Sat Dec 10 07:04:40 +0000 2016)
- … work colleague had friends staying with grandparents. Put jeans in wash. Came back darned: “I’ve sewn up those holes for you dear” (Sat Dec 10 07:08:53 +0000 2016)
- Great work do last night. Colleague’s gf was critiquing the cracker joke typesetting… Completely get why he’s in love with her. #ImAGeek (Sat Dec 10 07:51:44 +0000 2016)
- Seems to me that Christmas lights are, in some sense, us joining in the cosmic/astromonical battle between light and dark. #DispelTheShadows (Sun Dec 11 08:44:53 +0000 2016)
- … certainly waking up to lots of dark news this morning. War, violence, and ‘natural’ diaster. #VeniVeniEmmanuel (Sun Dec 11 08:49:22 +0000 2016)
- The proof that Jesus is the Messiah is that people’s lives are changed. Real faith = a changed life. @starbeckchurch (Sun Dec 11 11:31:19 +0000 2016)
- Sat, 5.30am: “Daaa-deeee… is it morning?”
Sun. 6.30am: “Daddy daddy. Is it morning?”
Mon: Needs to be woken up at 7.30 for school!!! (Mon Dec 12 07:34:02 +0000 2016)
- I am delighted to announce that from next July I am going to be a curate at St Mark’s, Harrogate @stmarkshgate (one day a week). (Tue Dec 13 08:23:23 +0000 2016)
- A baby is born. A king in a stable?! This is our God. #JoyToTheWorld (Sun Dec 25 06:47:10 +0000 2016)
- Two & a half years of studying theology has increased my appreciation (& in some cases comprehension) of Christmas Carols, if nothing else! (Sun Dec 25 22:21:22 +0000 2016)
- When waking up at 7.30 is a lie in. #parenthood. (Mon Dec 26 07:42:13 +0000 2016)
- I think my boy might be building a time machine… he just asked for 4D batteries (Wed Dec 28 13:57:43 +0000 2016)
2018 in Tweets
Star Wars cake
Fruit of the Spirit Prayers
Danger Mouse Cake
2016 – A year in tweets
Ordination and Curacy
Imperial Shuttle Birthday Cake
Summer Discoveries – Pt II
Summer Discoveries – pt 1
LaTeX and Common Awards (again)
Northern Gospel, Northern Church
Well – it’s all real now.
While the journey is by no means ending on the 1st July, it is a significant milestone, and many would hold that I will be something different after the Bishop has laid hands on me (the posh phrase is an “ontological change”) – and again when I am priested in 2018, God willing.
I personally find it unhelpful to set clergy too far apart from non-ordained people, after all I will remain a member of laity, like all other baptised believers. On the other hand, there is a sense of being set apart, and that something does change on ordination – if it didn’t then why would we bother? I have never (yet?) come up with a satisfactory answer of “why” I should be ordained, but I’ve come to think that it’s not actually the important question. The important question is whether or not God is calling me (or you) to this slightly odd role/ministry/state of being, and I have to say that I feel, along with those who know me best and the wider church, the answer is “yes” for me.
Of course, the truth is we are all changing all the time. I am firmly of the opinion that Jesus calls ALL of us to a life of discipleship – which means always learning, growing, striving to more like Him. This isn’t to say that anything we do can make us any more loved (or less loved) by God, but if we are loved by God, and love Him in return, then we live our lives on a different page from the world around us, and that doesn’t always (often!) come naturally or easily.
I have found the last 3 years (ish) of theological education very hard work, but there is no doubt in my mind that I now look at the world in a different way. I think differently about the Bible and God, about Mission, about Jesus and His ministry. My understanding of Church has developed and deepened, and my outlook on life is perhaps more nuanced then it used to be. Fundamentally my faith hasn’t changed, but I have been stretched and deepened, often in uncomfortable ways!! I’m looking forward to sharing some of this with my new congregation, and learning from them in turn. I’m excited about what lies ahead for us as a family. And my hope and prayer is that God will continue to guide us all in his mysterious, but good, ways.
It is now just over 3 years since my 365 project turned into more of a “100” project, and I’ve been looking back over some of the photos I’ve taken, and reflecting on the fact that I actually really miss doing it.
If you needed any further persuasion as to why it’s a good undertaking, this is what I got out of doing it, and what I miss about not doing it.
1) It made me look at the world.
And I mean really look. Since stopping taking a photograph everyday, I’ve drifted back into a sort of haze again as I walk around, with my mind on other things (currently intractable French philosophers!!) While I was 365ing I was attentive to everything going on around me, in case a flower, or a person, or a stone, or a cloud presented itself for that day. I suppose it’s a bit like mindfulness, being fully present. I’d go so far as to say it made me appreciate creation, and hence become more aware of God all around us, all the time. It made me “wonderous”, if you’ll forgive the grammer.
2) It challenged my creativity.
One of the things that surprised me is that the 365 wasn’t actually that hard, in terms of finding subjects. There was no day when I didn’t have a photo for that day – except for the once or twice when I’d had such a busy day that I’d plain forgotten. That said, because I’d decided early on that taking the “same” pohoto twice was just boring, I did sometimes have to be quite creative and inventive, and the 365 encouraged this. It made me a bit more intentional about photography projects as well, like the water drop (did I mention that I won a prize for that? Oh, I did already – ok). It also pushed me to try about projects from photo magazines, and recreate others’ shots that I really liked – not to mention Danbo!!.
3) It meant I always had my camera with me.
In the age of smart phones this is perhaps a lesser consideration, but sometimes there is a one-off moment in time begging to be captured. Like if a butterfly flies into the office. Having your camera ready and primed at least promotes the possibility of the moment being captured. For me personally there is a quality and composition element to this – I love my smartphone, and the camera’s pretty good (and I use some pictures from it sometimes for my not-365), but it’s not the same as my real camera.
4) It provides an life record.
This one actually surprised me a little, and it’s only in looking back over the last five-and-a-half years’ of photos that I’ve realised that all of life’s ups and downs are recorded there. Whether that’s mundane or life-changing. The ripening of the blackberries in the garden and harvesting of photos are alongside my Mum passing away and me starting ordination training. In retrospect this is obvious I guess – after all you’d expect to take a photo of what is distinctive or foremost in your mind for that day. But it still hadn’t really struck me until I was looking back over the whole set a few weeks ago.
5) You really get to know your camera.
There is no substitute for experience and practice, and by the end of my first 365 I knew my old camera inside out and upside down. I knew how it responded to different lighting conditions, what the tricks were for focussing. I knew what different f-stops looked like, and what shutter speeds were in danger of blur. I knew how far I could push the ISO, and which lens were good for different things. In fact, it’s now not unusual for me to operate the camera in ‘M’ mode, particular if I’m using flash. Now obviously the above applies to a (D)SLR camera in particular – but even cameras on smartphones have their quirks, and I’m often still frustrated with the result of a photo on my phone, without understanding why it’s come out that way. It was just the same with my DSLR at first – a 365 soon fixes this!!
6) My photography got better.
This is, of course, entirely subjective. But I look back over some of my photos, and think “Wow – that’s actually a really good photo” (even occasionally prize winning. Did I mention that?) Now I wouldn’t dream of saying that every photo I took in 2015 is better than any I took in 2012, and I certainly don’t think that every photo I take is “good”, by any objective standard. But what has changed is the number of photos “behind” each one. So when I started, I would take dozens, if not hundreds, of photos to get one I was happy with. Now I take maybe 3 or 4 – I still sometimes need a couple to get happy with the exposure, and then a couple of different composition options. And actually, even though I do take 3 or 4, it’s often the first one which I end up choosing as being the best.
7) It was a communal activity.
When I was doing it for “real”, on 365project.org, one of the highlights was the community element. It’s amazing to join in this activity with others’ doing the same time. They give you ideas and encouragement, and you likewise encourage them back. I came very close to making some good friends on that site, as we walked together for the year, and if I was a more gregarious person (and had they not been in the states!) I would have loved to have met them in real life.
In the interest of balance, there were three downsides I can think of.
1) It does take time
In fact, the reason I stopped is because of the time that was needed. It’s not actually the photo-taking time which is the problem, it’s the post-processing. Downloading them off the camera, doing post-processing and watermarking (both of which I’ve now given up on, in the meain), then uploading, tagging, and describing them.
2) People get annoyed with you always taking photos
Especially close family!
3) It can get expensive
It doesn’t have to be expensive by any means, but it so tempting to buy some more equipment to enable you get a shot you’ve seen someone else do, or a danbo, or whatever. Some shots are simply not possible without a tripod, or a flash gun. Some shots are not possible without a fast lens, or a macro lens (or at least extension tubes). This also can end up with a large collection of photography equipment which has to live somewhere. My rationale is that it’s all money well spent – for instance a lens should really last you for a lifteime, unless you choose to upgrade.
Since the 9th May 2011, I have posted 1,305 photos, each attributed to a given day. At the time of writing, 2,034 days have passed since then, which gives me a rate of just over 66%, or in order words I have posted a photo in 2 out of every 3 days for the last 5 years.
Imperial Shuttle Chocolate Cake
- 20cm square baking tin, greased and lined on the bottom
- Modelling clay
- Cake board, black fondant icing, silver shimmer powder
Chocolate Sponge Cake:
- 350g softened butter
- 350g caster sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 350g self-raising flour
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp cocoa power (optional)
Milk Chocolate Ganache (filling and crumb coat):
- 150ml double cream
- 150g good quality chocolate (dark or milk as desired)
White Chocolate Ganache (detailing):
- 100ml double cream
- 100g good quality white chocolate
Chocolate Mirror Glaze:
- 150ml double cream
- 135g caster sugar
- 55g cocoa powder
- 3 gelatine leaves
Tempered Chocolate Wings:
- 500g good quality chocolate
First of all, make the sponge cake.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 ° (160° fan).
- Beat the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until smooth.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined, adding a little flour with the eggs.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder, and fold into the batter.
- Spoon into the prepared tin, and level.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack, removing the lining paper, then
turn again onto another (so it’s the right way up again), and leave to cool completely.
When completely cooled, the cake can be carefully cut into the elements of the shuttle, as follows.
- Cut the cake in half vertically, to be end up with two 20x10cm blocks (A and B).
- Cut A half in half vertically again, to end up with two 10cmx10cm blocks (A1, A2).
- Cut A1 of these quarters diagonally from back/top to front/bottom, to create the front part (pilot’s cabin).
- A2, and the rest of A1 are spare (yum!)
- Cut B in half horizontally, to end up with two half-height 20x10cm blocks (B1 and B2)
- B1 forms the lower main body of the shuttle.
- Cut B2 in half vertically, to end up with two half-height 10cm x 10cm blocks (B2i and B2ii)
- B2i forms the upper main body of the shuttle.
- Cut B2ii in about half again vertically, then cut off the front part of it diagonally to make the top of the shuttle, which holds the top fin.
At this point I froze these 4 elements, because it was going to be a few days before the next stage.
Step 2 is to assemble the shuttle, and crumb coat with chocolate ganache.
- Put the dark/milk chocolate and double cream into a pan.
- Heat gently until the chocolate melts, stirring all the while.
- Remove from the heat, and pour into a bowl.
- Whisk until thick and glossy – this is the ganache.
- Put the lower main body on a wire rack on a plastic tray (to catch the excess ganache)
- Pour over ganache to coat the top and front (long edge)
- Put the upper main body on the lower body, and again pour over the ganache to cover the top and front.
- Press the pilot’s cabin against the ganache covered front of the shuttle so it sticks.
- Put the top of the shuttle on top of upper main body.
- Cover the entire shuttle with ganache, ensuring the tops, sides, and back are all completely covered. You can scrape up the excess from the
tray to cover any awkward parts if you run out.
- Put in the fridge to set.
I saved the excess ganache, and popped it in a piping bag. After a couple of hours, I then piped this to fill up the gap which had opened up between the upper shuttle body and the cabin, and also to pipe two parallel lines of ganache on the very top to held hold up the fin.
Once the ganache has completely set, you can do the mirror glaze.
- Put the double cream, caster sugar, cocoa power, and 150ml of water into a pan.
- Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, stirring all the time.
- Bring to the boil, and simmer for a couple of minutes.
- Leave to cool for 5 – 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, soak the gelatine in a bowl of water for 5 minutes.
- Squeeze the water out of the gelatine leaves, and stir into the glaze, until dissolved.
- Leave the glaze to cool to 38°, then pass through a sieve into a jug.
- Put the cake on a wire rack on a tray, then pour over the glaze ensuring the whole thing is covered.
- Put the cake in the fridge to set completely.
Now for the wings.
I made these using a DIY chocolate mould, made out of air drying clay.
- Roll out a lump of modelling clay to around 3-5mm thickness, forming a 20x30cm rectangle.
- Using a sharp pencil, mark out the two wings, and the top fin.
- Each wing was a cut-off right-angle triangle, with base 60cm, trailing edge 150cm, wingtip 30cm, and the leading edge whatever it needs to be.
- The fin was a double cut off right angle triangle, with base 80cm, trailing edge 120cm, top 20cm, leading diagonal 120cm, and a short
‘backwards’ leading diagonal of about 20cm.
- When this was completely dry, use cling-film to fill the inside of the model. I also put clingfilm underneath to help it “cling”.
- Temper enough dark or milk chocolate as desired, pour it into the models, and level off with a ruler.
- Leave to cool for 30 mins, then put into the fridge to cool.
- Carefully remove from the mould.
Assembly and decoration.
- Roll out some black fondant icing to cover the cake board.
- Use a brush to swirl on a galaxy using silver glimmer, and dust some stars.
- Move the glazed cake onto the cake board.
- Make a small amount of white chocolate ganache (or just tempered white chocolate), and with a small nozzle pipe
on the windscreen, and over details.
- With a large nozzle (or cut a larger hole), pipe along the sides of the base to glue the wings on.
- Push the top fin into the top of the cake, and pipe along it.
The second discovery we made this summer was The Forbidden Corner, up near Middleham.
What an extraordinary place, and well worth a visit.
It’s quite hard to describe in many ways. A common description is “folly” or “maze”, and they seem as good as any. It’s essentially a very large, enclosed garden (in the sense of a walled garden, not in the sense of having a roof), which is organised internally as a complex maze with several distinct areas, and at least two substantial underground sections. (I never quite managed to establish in my mind whether all the parts of the underground section meet up!!)
The maze is probably the most helpful description, as you can mostly only see a few tens of feet ahead or less (due to trees, hedges, walls, gates, etc), although there are some wider open courtyards / gardens. There are always clear paths to follow, although again in the way that a normal maze has paths through it. There are almost no dead-ends, except for in the proper hedge maze (where you expect to find them), but paths often loop round and branch, and take you back to where you started.
It is a fantastically confusing and inviting place, and after about an hour and a half of walking around, thinking we’d probably seen most of it (although a bit confused about all the warnings of the underground bit), we took a turn we hadn’t noticed before, and came across the other half of the garden, including all the underground tunnels! My advice is not to try and get a specific place, but to wander and take paths that look interesting, and try to remember paths you haven’t taken, so that if (when) you end up in the same place again, you can try a different way. Our boys were desperate to find the stepping stones, and we must have spent an hour trying to get to them. We kept seeing them, but couldn’t get there!!!! Our efforts covered almost the whole garden (which was nice), but it was only when we more or less gave up that we stumbled across the entrance.
It is by no stretch the imagination a safe place. There are long drops, narrow stone staircases, open water, rocks which stick out, etc. The regular signs telling parents to watch children are well advised, and I would hesitate to take my younger son with his school friends (at least, not on my own), as there would be every chance they would run off and come a cropper. I don’t say this as a negative criticism at all, on the contrary it’s refreshing to have somewhere with a bit of bite, which hasn’t been health-and-safety-ed to death. I suppose, upon reflection, that it’s a similar level of hazard to Fountains Abbey, or Brimham Rocks (“if not duffers won’t drown”), but it isprobably the least “tamed” of any of the places we’ve visited recently, which was refreshing.
It’s worth a quick word about the underground bits. They are very dark, low, and narrow – essentially single file and one-way. There are stark warnings for people with anxiety or claustrophobia, and these are well placed. They are like a maze, in as much as there are junctions, but not really any dead-ends (you just end up somewhere else). In fact, it’s kind of one-way tunnels from entrances (or which there are a few) to exits (of which there are a few), which join up with each other from time to time. The one-way aspect needs to be borne in mind, as when it’s as busy as when we were there then it is very difficult to backtrack. The one-way-ness isn’t enforced as such, but strongly encouraged by doors which can only be opened from one side, plus of course the fact that the tunnels are only really big enough single-file. You don’t need to go into the tunnels, and would still enjoy the garden. The first bit of tunnel we found wasn’t part of the main bit – it was a single downhill tube, which got narrower and narrower, and ended with a very small aperture. The boys could fit through fine, but we had to remove our backpacks and squeeze through sideways on our hands and knees. Probably best avoided by adults.
We also had a certain ambivalence about it spiritually. The underground sections are all “halloweeny”, and trying to create a scary atmosphere. There’s pictures of snakes, and the walls resemble bones, and there’s skeletons in closest, and so on. At one point a statue of a centurian (I think) is whispering an incantation, which as far as I could tell was just Latin, but clearly intended to sound like a magic. Like halloween, the feel is intentionally dark magic and evil. There’s also a “mausoleum” elsewhere, which is bit like a ghost train (except you just walk through it). It’s a long, extremely dark, underground tunnel, with sudden noises, and things that light up, and pictures which come to life and start bleeding, and coffins, and zombies and things. I wouldn’t haven taken my 6 year old through it if I’d have known what wass coming, but he doesn’t appear to come to any harm. More humourously, three older teenage girls went in just ahead of us, and 5 seconds later they came running out screaming. They did go back in again, and we decided to gave them a few minutes headstart!
On balance, I think it probably comes down (just about) on the side of the intention being “harmless fun”, rather than anything more sinister – for instance other “fairytale” imagery is freely mixed in (dragons, giants). Never-the-less, in principle I am not comfortable with glorfying evil and darkness, and I think it was a shame Forbidden Corner has chosen that route.
All of that said, I would visit again. It’s a magical place (in a good way), especially for children, with wonder and discovery around every corner, literally.
Final point in closing – there are several water “traps”, where the unwary get sprayed with water, in some cases substantially so. It’s a good idea to take a change of clothes for children, as they have ample opportunity to get soaked. My top tip is to check the ground – if it’s wet, then watch out!
We made a couple of discoveries this summer of good places to visit, both on the recommendation of friends.
The first is Redcar beach, which was a great place to visit. At only just over an hour from Harrogate, it is probably the closest beach to us in terms of travel time, and it’s pretty much motorway or dual carriageway the whole way.
The beach is enormous, especially at low tide, and – at least when we were there – largely empty. I did one of those fancy panaroma things on my phone, which gives the idea of just how spacious it is. Do click through and zoom in for the full spendour.
Admittedly, this particular spot was probably 20 to 30 minutes walk along the beach from Redcar itself, and I’m not sure if there was anywhere closer to park. On the other hand, even when we were on the bit of beach much closer to the town there were only maybe 2 or 3 other groups anywhere near us. There is a stretch of beach with a lifeguard and designated swimming, which I guess may have been a bit busier, but as we were only paddling we opted to explore along the beach a bit. It also wasn’t the hottest of days, and a Friday, but it is such an enormous beach, it’s hard to imagine that 5 minutes walk wouldn’t get you somewhere secluded.
It wouldn’t be to everyone’s liking – it’s quite an industrial area, and there’s a substantial wind farm just off the beach to the north. The main sea-front itself is everything you either love or hate about the British seaside, with amusement arcades, chippies, ice-creams, …
Also worth a look is the Redcar Beacon – a “vertical pier” on the seafront, that’s free entry to climb up, with a viewing platform on the top (and also the home to Zetland FM, it would seem, so if radio nerdery is your thing – and if it isn’t then it should be, let’s face it – you can while the hours away watching the presenting doing his or her thing through the glass-walled studio halfway up the tower).
You want to see the view from the top? Oh, go on then…
The council website, while a little obtuse, rewards careful investigation with lots of information about parking, tide times, etc. Long stay parking is three pounds for the day, and the carparks are all only a short walk from the beach.
If we’re talking about beaches, then Sands End (near Whitby) and Robin Hood’s Bay also deserve honourable mentions as good places for a day out.
Just a quick shout out to LightReaders (www.lightreaders.com) who sent me a lovely e-mail, asking for permission to use this photo of mine (right) in their advertising this year. They “have presented Christian music with Biblical storytelling to numerous churches and organizations in Ohio for the past twelve years. We present for the Audience of One, only accepting freewill donations, often presenting free of charge, and operate on a shoestring budget.”
Very nice to be asked! They even asked if they had to pay (to which I answered no).
In general, I’m very happy for people to use my photos I put online, provided:
- They ask first,
- They don’t make a profit out of my photos (or at least, not without sharing some of it!),
- They give me a credit somewhere.
So a minor slap on the wrist to Trinity Churches of Shrewsbury for using my Growing Leaders Photo (left) on their course page without asking. There’s no doubt that it’s mine because the large version has my watermark on it (my initials – bottom left in this instance). I’m such a big advocate of CPAS’s Growing Leaders I’m haven’t complained (other than this post, I suppose). Actually I’m secretly chuffed that they wanted to use it. 🙂
I stopped visually watermarking my photos a while ago, as it was adding to much time to the workflow, but I always enjoyed working out how to put it in creatively.
I was also pleased to provide several photos recently for the website and prospectus of what is currently called the Yorkshire Ministry Course (the prospectus can be downloaded from the website) – you can try and guess which are mine if you want! By all acounts vicars are meant to have a hobby, and photography will do me just fine, thank you!
I have now successfully submitted an assignment in PDF format via the Common Awards Moodle, including analysis by TurnItIn!!
I did have to do a few more tweaks, so I’ve updated my Using LaTeX for Common Awards page with the final instructions/template for anyone mad enough to do the same.
While I was at this year’s Easter School in Durham, I have the chance to attend the book launch of a new book, which has several contributions from YMC tutors.
The book looks excellent, and is available now in paper and Kindle format from Amazon. Once I’ve read a bit more of it I’ll do a more detailed review.
Prayer is the lifeblood of the church, and having discussed personal quiet times, it is worth thinking about corporate prayer – or prayer meetings. Sadly these can make the heart sink, at the thought of sitting in a cold, uncomfortable chair for 20 minutes in silence without 3 other people who are looking at their feet! However, there are many models of prayer that enable a group of people to pray in a way that is exciting, relevant, and powerful.
The nicknames of these models are not my own, they are how I have heard them referred to over the years.
I would say that the “ideal” prayer meeting blends together several of these different models, to keep things interesting, and would usually cover a variety of topics (even if there is a single theme for the meeting overall). An hour is a good starter – it sounds like a lot, but the time soon goes. You could run a schedule something like this:
- Welcome / Introduction (2 mins)
- Opening Worship (2 or 3 songs – 10 mins)
- Topic 1 – Introduction and Pray (6 mins)
- Topic 2 (6 mins)
- Worship Song (5 mins)
- Topic 3 (6 mins)
- Topic 4 (6 mins)
- Prayer Walk (10 mins)
- Worship Song (5 mins)
- Closing prayer (3 mins)
- Lord’s Prayer / Grace / Blessing (1 mins)
Topics can be specific items for your situation (Children’s work, local drug problems, upcoming mission event), bigger political issues (upcoming election, gay marriage), or global events/situations (e.g. Syria, persecuted Christians). It is good to have a mix of the global and local to help us remember we are part of a bigger body of believers.
I find that is always good to pray “for” something, rather than “against” it – so pray for peace and reconcilliation, rather than against war. Praying against has its place, particularly in the spiritual warfare domain, but we also want to foster an attitude of love and respect to those who are also made in God’s image.
Worship (by which I specifically mean singing worship songs to God) is a foundational part of prayer. Intercession and worship go very close together. Worship is a form of prayer, and if we are in tune with God’s spirit (which singing helps with), our praying is likely to be closer to his heart. I believe the first part in prayer is to seek God’s heart and agenda. I’m not sure how you can start interceding without first spending time focussing on and adoring God, although of course this doesn’t have to involve music – I just find it particularly helpful.
It is also worth mentioning that most of the songs we sing in church are extremely scriptural – in many cases entire passages set to music. The Word of God is an integral part of prayer, and singing it (or saying it, or reading it) can only be a good thing.
Best suited to a larger group of people, the principle is to split into two halves – one half of the room pray out loud together for a specific issue, the other half worship, usually to an up-tempo and “spiritual warfare” type song (“There’s a burning in my heart”, “We want to see Jesus lifted high”, “Lord you are calling (let your kingdom come)”.
After a couple of verses, the two halves swap, and the half that was singing start praying out loud, and vice versa. It helps if each half has a “leader” they are following, so they know if they should be singing or praying! This can just be someone at the front, facing everyone else, or the meeting leader can always pray and physically change sides.
As with all corporate prayer, there should be guidance from the leader as to what the topic of prayer is. To some extent, if you are all going to pray for different things you may as well be praying alone, and we know from the bible there is power in Christians standing together and agreeing with one another. It is also helpful if the topic is fairly specific, so everyone knows what they are praying for.
Also out loud means out LOUD – while not necessarily shouting, it is awesome when everyone prayers in a raised voice. Of course it depends on the topic, and quiet speaking may be more appropriate, but generally the louder the better.
There are two particularly good things about this model – Firstly, and this is a practical reason, it’s great for people who may not be very comfortable praying out loud. With half the room (and the band) belting out a song, no-one (except God) can hear what you’re saying! Secondly, the music really helps to keep things moving – you know you’ve only got a minute or two to pray for the given topic then you really get on with it, and don’t have to stress about running out of things to pray.
A variation on this model is to intersperse singing and praying, so every sings (perhaps the chorus), and then everyone prays out loud (perhaps while the band plays through a verse).
Similar to the above, except this time everyone is just praying out loud together. Again this is better suited to a larger group, otherwise it’s easy to get a bit self-concious. That said, to be honest by the time there’s 5 or 6 of you, and everyone’s talking loudly, it becomes a blur and you can’t tell what anyone else is praying.
You probably only want a 5 minute slot maximum for this per topic, probably with some singing or silence thrown in between topics.
If you believe that the gift of tongues is still a gift for today (and I do), people who exercise this gift may find it easier to pour out their heart to God using words from their spirit rather than from their mind.
There is a strange power to a large run of people joining together in absolute silence to pray in their hearts, together. This model is best suited to repentence or sorrowful/awful situations, when words aren’t enough.
Some people find it really helpful to actually do something physical while praying. Getting up and walking about is a great way of keeping focussed and awake, and if you are praying for a particular neighbourhood, what better way then to so do walking around it?
This can either be inside your building (if it’s big enough) – either just wander around (e.g. praying for the activities that happen in each space, or groups that meet there), or have stations up with items, pictures, news clippings, stations of the cross, etc.
As a variation on the above, it can also be helpful to have some sort of craft activity associated with the prayer.
If you get hold of a small branch (that looks a bit like a tree), and “plant” it in a pot so it’s upright, then prayers can be written on “leaves” (leaf shapes cut out of paper), and attached to the branches of the tree. Alternatives are post-it notes on a board, ribbons tied a large cross, stones built into a cairn. The imagary is being used to paint a picture of how our individual prayers join together into a corporate whole, as well as providing an way to pray for those who like to do something a bit more tangible. Holy Communion is not a million miles away from this sor of prayer activity!
Another variation is a confessional exercise, where sins can be written on a piece of paper. The bits of paper are then burnt or shredded, as a sign of God’s forgiveness.
Slightly different form of prayer, and better suited to a small group setting.
Each person takes it in turn to sit (or stand) in the middle, while everyone else gathers around, ideally lays on hands, and prayers over the person in the middle. This often has prophetic elements to it, as people pray out loud and share any words or pictures they may feel are from God. Probably 5 minutes a person is plenty.
It’s worth considering having someone as a “scribe” too, to jot down the encourages and words each person receives, for their individual journals.
Good for a youth group this one. The group sits in a circle, and the leader has a football (or cushion, or tennis ball, or …). The leader then throws the ball to a member of the group, who then prays a short prayer out loud, before throwing the ball on to someone else in the group.
If further guidance is needed, the “prayer on receipt” could be for
- An issue the recipient is facing
- General prayer for the sender
- General prayer for the next recipient
- A pre-determined topic
The psalms are an amazing collection of prayers, adoration, lament, confession, repentence, and worship – and they lend themselves very well to being spoken (as you’d expect).
In particular, they can be spoken corporately as an antiphon. For example, one half of the group could say the odd verses, and the other the even. Or if there’s a natural response, like in Psalm 136, the split can be done in this way – maybe changing sides at each stanza. As with YWAM, it helps to have a designated “leader” for each half to follow.
The splits could be demographic too – so male/female, or young/old.
Out of the hat
Another smaller group one – everyone writes a prayer request on a slip of paper (anonymously or otherwise), and puts it in a “hat”. Each person then draws a slip out of that hat, and prays for that issue for a couple of minutes. Then the slips can back in, and everyone takes another.
The slips could also be pre-determined topics, or areas of ministry, or specific people, or even streets in the parish.
The usual rules for prayer meetings apply – start on time and finish on time. Allow people to stay and pray/worship, but make it clear the meeting is over and everyone is free to go. It is always better to leave people wanting more – and however much they enjoyed it, if it over-runs then next time they will be more reticent about coming (“I really ebjoyed it, but it was a late night”).
Also try and end it well – saying the Lord’s Prayer together, or the Grace, or having a blessing, or even the Peace all bring the meeting to a natural conclusion.