Another ‘training session’ as part of a diocesan initiative working with LICC in developing a suite of bespoke materials and resources to help people be better equipped to engage with their ‘Frontline.’ www.licc.org.uk. Hopefully we will be piloting these in 2017.
Yet another diocesan initiative I am involved with is from CPAS and this month we had our third gathering of the Thrive Community. This is an excellent course that brings together several multi-parish benefices over a two year period so that they might not just survive but thrive despite all the constraints and complexities of several parishes and church buildings. https://www.cpas.org.uk/
The Farming Community Network (www.fcn.org.uk) has also featured in this months diary as well as last months with the Harvest and AGM. We had an excellent informal gathering ‘Chewing the Cud.’ The next one is on the 19th January with an open invitation to anyone involved or interested in agricultural matters. I spent a day at the NEC Birmingham at the Farm Business Innovation Exhibition helping out on the FCN display. I also looked after a display at the English Winter Fair held at the Stafford Showground. NFU kindly invited us to be part of their much larger exhibition. Our Staffordshire FCN Group enjoyed a lovely social evening when we went to Western Hall and had a nice meal together. Finally we have a Christmass Tree at the Christmass Tree Festival at St Mary’s Stafford. If you are around do take a look, there are around 60 beautifully decorated trees.
A ‘new’ ministry began this month as a Spiritual Companion and I am now walking alongside J. a man in his sixties and recently retired.
Also another ‘new’ ministry is a local interviewer for those exploring a call to Church Army. During the month I had lunch with T, a man in his sixties and now exploring ministry. I also attended the Church Army AGM in Sheffield. It was great to hear + Stephen Cottrell speaking about his sabbatical walking the Comino and in particular the idea of attentiveness when making the journey and not just simple getting from a to b. (Read Brian Draper’s excellent book – ‘Soulfulness)
Only one preachment this month, at my home church of St John’s, Littleworth.
Sermon transcript… - http://gordonnewsupdates.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/feast-of-christ-king-2016.html
Samaritan’s Purse Shoebox Appeal. I discovered this month what an amazing amount of work is involved in sorting out shoeboxes before they are shipped out. Every box has to be sifted and sorted to ensure that nothing inappropriate is sent. I joined the team of volunteers in a warehouse just outside Stafford for a day on the ‘production line.’
I have also had several challenging emails from my ministry as an e-responder with Search for Jesus. www.searchforjesus.org.uk
And I grew a moustache for Movember!
Some appointments and activities in December 2016
Some of my appointments and activities during December.
December is often a quitter month for ‘itinerants’ as most churches are focussed on their Christmass activities. It is a time to catch up and make plans and preparations for the year ahead.
Thursday 1st – Sunday 4th
Christmass Tree Festival at St Mary’s. I will be popping in most days to check things out and chat to people who are visiting the Festival.
(Thursday 1st – going to Manchester airport to pick up Tabitha and Jane who have been on a short break in Malta)
Preaching and leading worship at St Thomas and St Andrews, Doxey.
The Christmass Tree Festival concludes with a Carol Service.
Midlands Missioners Gathering in Birmingham
Lichfield Church Army Cluster gathering
(And Tabitha is off to The Hermitage for a few days. Pray that she may find peace and that God meets with her in a special way.) - http://www.reflectiongardens.org.uk/
Stafford Deanery Chapter Christmass Lunch
Stafford Church Leaders meeting to pray and discuss young people coming off camp from Soul Survivor to bless Stafford next summer.
‘Love Stafford ~ Carol Crawl’ around the Town Centre.
Preaching and Leading Morning Worship at St Anne’s, Brown Edge
National Missioners Christmass Gathering in London
CA interview with M exploring her call to Church Army ministry and training.
‘Chew & Chat’ – lunch time informal gathering and this time at Radford Bank, Stafford 12.30pm - all welcome
A visit to my own Spiritual Companion
‘Connect 2’ – a new church initiative in Brown Edge running over the four weeks of Advent called ‘Unpacking Christmass.’
Stafford Prison Carol Service (guest)
Thank you as ever for your love, prayers and support. May God richly bless you in the coming season when once more we remember God stepping out of the glory of heaven to embrace the mire of the world.