Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Captain's Blog February 2018

Jane and I had a good time in Tenerife and the weather was kind enough, even for sea swimming! However instead of coming back fighting fit we both developed cough and colds from all the various bugs and viruses around at the moment.  I managed to shake mine off (old enough for the flu jab!) but Jane has struggled, and it has developed into sinusitis and upper respiratory tract infection.

If the snow messed up the diary all the various illness did an even better job.  I pulled out of a couple of things and I have several other appointments cancelled due to ill health. 
My ‘work’ is erratic at the best of times but when things keep shifting around like this it makes it even harder.  I am hoping February will bring at least some measure of ‘normality.’

I was straight back into work the day after holiday with a FCN meeting that included training on our new case work reporting system.  Like all charities FCN is ensuring that its systems are compliant with the new Data Protection Legislation coming on stream in May this year. 

I am running in the Stafford Half March 18th and seeking to raise sponsorship for FCN… www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gordonbfcn   (www.fcn.org.uk)

A couple of preachments this month, and both in very different settings.  One was in the tiny church of Tixall, just outside of Stafford. We had around a dozen folk join us on a morning when the snow began to fall. The Service was BCP but thankfully they have a ‘dedicated ‘Service Sheet’ – I don’t get to lead BCP that often so I am not familiar with it as it sits outside my tradition and experience for the most part.

My other preachment was at HMP Stafford.  Here the chapel was packed with eighty plus inmates.  The Service is a very informal Eucharist with contemporary music provided by a lady on the organ (who has been involved with the Prison for over thirty years!) and a music group. Plus they have the most awesome choir. I really enjoy visiting the Prison albeit it can be a challenge as Stafford is a sex offender’s prison. One profound moment for me is when the men come up to take the host and then dip it into in the wine (intinction) – you look at each of one them as individuals and realise how much God loves and cares from them and whatever demons may be sitting on their shoulders, Jesus can set them free.  There are currently around 30 inmates going through Prison Alpha led by a team of nine people from five different Churches across Stafford.

The day after I met with the Staffordshire Group of the Prison Fellowship. Our numbers are steadily increasing and we are getting better known. www.prisonfellowship.org.uk

Love Stafford Celebration was a fabulous occasion when over three hundred people came together for worship and to visit the Mission Market Stall.  It was good to see that the Prison Fellowship had a stall for the first time. I was looking after a HOPE18 stall and a Church Army stall, thankfully next to each other.

I am very pleased that rural ministry is being increasing recognized and purposefully resourced. We now have an established Lichfield Diocese Mission Group with plans for two Conversation and Consultation Days later on in the year. We have also set up a dedicated Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/groups/184152225508512/

Some appointments in the diary... 

Thursday 1st
‘Chewing the Cud’ – an informal gathering of rural folk

Sunday 4th
Co-leading Christingle Candlemass at St Mary the Virgin, Ingestre

Monday 5th
‘Chewing the Cud’ – friends doing lunch at Rising Brook Baptist Church. In the evening speaking to St John’s, Littleworth PCC about HOPE18.

Thursday 8th
Journey to Faith – reviewing the Rural Evangelism Course, Germinate ARC

Friday 9th
Meeting with D.C. (Ordinand) as his Spiritual Companion

Sunday 11th
Preaching at St Anne’s, Brown Edge

Monday 12th
Tixall & Ingestre Messy Church Committee

Tuesday 13th
Stafford Deanery Chapter (in attendance)

Wednesday 21st
Spiritual Companions Training Day

Saturday 24th
Diocesan RNG (Reaching New Generations) Learning Hub – ‘Children & Rural (in attendance)

Sunday 25th
Preaching at St James’s, Newchapel.  I am working here with Janet Arnold who came into post in August 2017. We have plans in hand for various ‘gatherings’ including an Away Day seeking to create a MAP (Mission Action Plan).

Monday 26th
Gathering of Midland Missioners in Birmingham

Wednesday 28th
Diocese of Lichfield Community of Evangelist gathering

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