Tag Archives: churchy stuff

Accidental folkie

As many wibloggers are folkies I thought it would be interesting to share reflections from a very folkie month. Those who know me would know that I’m not really a folkie, and a reluctant one at that but in April the folkies have been out to get me.

Since Easter (give or take a day), I’ve managed to see:

Chris Wood
with the Mrs
Karine Polwart
with the Mrs and housemate, D from Up North and Mr Folkie
Kirsty McGee
with D from up north… Ramblin’ Folkie was a bit jealous apparently
with Ramblin’ and Mr Folkie

and I’m going to see Billy Bragg and Chris Wood (and friends) this weekend. What has happened? I also went to see The Imagined Village which I blogged about here. I have to say that The Imagined Village was still by far the best of those gigs. I’m still not convinced I’m really a folkie despite the membership of the folk club and all, but there are worse things to do with an evening than spend it in a seedy looking pub with an extremely eccentric woman announcing people who play music not entirely to my taste. Or for that matter spend an evening with a good friend in a fascinating venue which isn’t sure whether it’s a cafe, bar, deli or garden centre.

It’s been really lovely to have the excuse to have friends to stay, and to go and see others – the current pace of life suits me much better than madly travelling round the country. I will also confess that I’m particularly looking forward to the next gig, being a Billy Bragg fan (and having seen him several times before). I’m also intrigued as to what it’s going to be like to see the act from behind – I’ve managed a ticket in the choir stalls. Always up for something different, I think it might just be that.

On the work front, things are going well. We’ve found our first community member in addition to me and so I’m sorting that out. Also I’m enjoying the opportunity to spend time in prayer three times most days, and finding silence particularly good. I’m back with the holy again this week as I’m preaching on Sunday and hope that it goes smoothly. I’m quite impressed – it’s Monday and I’ve known what kind of things I want to talk about since last week – normally I work it out the weekend of the preaching. Now I just need to write it. So with that instruction in mind, I shall go off and do just that.

Oops I forgotted to blog again

I think I meant to write something before now. Oh well, that’s the problem when life gets in the way. It’s been something of a busy month and I don’t intend to go through it all but it’s been good.

In my last post I threatened to tell you a little more about when Jen and Sarah came to stay. They came to stay about 5 weeks ago now and the date of the Sunday is somewhat imprinted on my brain. Jen recounts the weekend in this post. As she said, we had a good weekend and went to the science museum. She was suitably entertained that I could do about as well with the mechanical digger as my reputation (at times) would suggest. Digging is certainly one of those things in life that I’m quite good at, at times. It also appears that i’m not to bad at mending & fixing either at times but I’ll come on to that.

The reason that the Sunday 20 August 2006 was somewhat imprinted in my brain was that it was the date of my trial service to go from ‘on note’ to ‘on trial’ as a local preacher, should I be successful. Those are the first two stages of training and I had to do the whole service myself. It was a challenging weekend because I was so nervous and was so grateful to Sarah and Jen for keeping me sane. When we got as far as Sunday morning, we went to leave my flat but couldn’t get through the gate. It took 5-10 minutes before we could get the padlock to open. That didn’t exactly help with nerves and when we got to the church I realised I’d not printed the order of service for the organist, then she wasn’t up to playing so one of my assessors ended up doubling up to do that too! I was so grateful to her too. My mentor introduced me at the start of the service and was really lovely about it all. He said a few words to the congregation and I could feel the tears just welling up inside me. I decided that the start of the service wasn’t the best time to burst into tears and fortunately managed to hold onto them but I was so, so nervous. I think it’s probably fair to say that the feedback was rather good for the service and I am now ‘on trial’ following the local preachers meeting. Now I have to do lots of study. It was really great to have Jen and Sarah around though to give me lots of hugs. I think that’s probably enough said about that really.

The week after that something rather exciting happened at work. Richard has already discovered what I’m talking about and Wood wrote for it (as did I, a little bit). We made a book and it’s great. Check out Richard’s review if you don’t believe me but it really is fantastic. It’s so amazing to have been involved with it since the beginning, before I joined the staff, and now it’s real. It’s so exciting.

I went to Greenbelt too and it was great to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. I went to my first wibmeet despite being on here for nearly 3 years now. Doesn’t time go fast. Greenbelt was great and I think that it has been suitably reviewed by everyone else so I’ll leave them to it. 😉

So eventually we get to this month and things are as busy as ever – hence the lack of blogging. I went to a brilliant conference and it was great to catch up with people I’ve met over the last couple of years. I also got to spend some quality time with a good friend during the week and we agreed to teach each other new skills. Scary eh?

Speaking of teaching. I understand from Jen that my teaching of relaxation techniques has been quite successful. It’s really reassuring to know that it’s been successful and now I think I probably want to take some of my own advice. This is where the fixing (of Jen, a little bit) has been coming in.

The mending is in relation to my teaching. I’ve been teaching a friend to knit, and she’s teaching me guitar. This is a rather scary concept but exciting too. I’ve never tried teaching knitting before and it was a little daunting but my friend did very well. I was dead impressed and she learned to knit and purl, and cast on. She did really well and put me to complete shame because it took me about 15 years (not continuously, I hasten to add) to learn to purl. :$ At one point, as is perfectly understandable with newbie knitters she went wrong a little bit and I managed to fix it. It’s the first time I’ve tried actually fixing it properly. Normally I’d just unpull it if it was mine, but it wasn’t my knitting which meant I got to learn a new skill too. The guitar playing is a little more interesting. I’m not a very good student at all and I’m very nervous about it. She taught me 8 different chords and I need to practice them but the guitar went out of tune over night so I need to learn how to tune it too. My friend left me a tuner so it shouldn’t be too hard but I’ll give it a go when I get home. I need to practise more but hope to get there eventually. I’ve never been very musical so this is quite an undertaking! Oh well… if she’s going to be doing so well with her knitting, maybe it’s the incentive I need to practice my guitar playing. Wish me all the best with it.

Finally I should provide a little update on my knitting. I went to a knitting and stitching exhibition at the weekend. It was very good and I found some cool yarns made out of such exotic things as Bananas or at least their leaves and stems, Hemp and containing Soy Beans. It was very cool. I also got complimented on my knitting which was fantastic. The people who complimented me do the most exciting things and I’ve decided I want to go off and join them. They do giant knitting and recycling and it’s so, so cool. I texted a friend saying that I’d fallen in love after seeing that stall – she seemed suitably entertained by the concept! I’m still going on with my second sock. I’ll be done before I retire. I had a good crack at it last night but I think the tension might be a little tighter on this one. I’ll have to have a look later and see whether it’s too tight but it’s good to be making progress. Hmmm… maybe I should be counting rows though. I’ll show you a picture of my new bag (which was what the compliment was about) and my sock progress if I can.

Anyway, having not blogged for ages I think I’ve now written an essay so should call it a day. I’ll try and write slightly more frequently, but I do say that worryingly often.

Finding a little Joy

A silly story for you.

Once upon a time, I was planning worship and decided that it would be really nice to finish with ‘You shall go out with joy‘ which led to a little merriment amongst some of my friends, and some not entirely serious singing. This started a little joke about Joy.

Several months after, I was chatting to one of these friends and she said she’d found the service sheets and was remembering the jokes. Thus, the joy jokes were confirmed. We were now searching for Joy.

Some time later, I was planning worship (spot a pattern here…) and I was going through the hymnbook. For all sorts of reasons I was having terrible problems with it. I have to confess that my brain is, on occasion, to be found in the gutter and as I was reading through I ended up thinking about hymns in ways I’m sure weren’t intended. :angelic: It wasn’t intentional, honest. Anyway, I confessed to several of my friends, now in on the joke, that I’d found more ‘interesting’ songs, especially about joy. One weekend we all got together, added alcohol to the mix and the joke, by this time, was running along quite nicely.

From time to time we (different members of the group) joke about joy but we had yet to find her. Until this morning…
I went to church, as normal (or as normal as it ever is). My mentor and I were jointly doing the service and it was in a quiet time so I was merrily reading away when I noticed something a little strange. The sheet said all the usual information… X church, service times etc… then it added…
10.45am… Mr LP Mentor and Miss Joy Conforming (on note).
I have joked that being a Jo, I’m the closest to Joy out of the lot of us but seeing someone print it on a piece of paper was hilarious. It’s really quite funny (and very bad) being sat in a service splitting with laughter on the inside and needing to keep quiet about it. I decided not to tell anyone at the time but it did warrant a few phone calls when I got home. I’d found Joy in church! I’m led to believe it’s caused a little laughter in other parts of the country today too, and all we need to do is find a real Joy not a pretend one.

All we need once we’ve done that is to pair her up with a friend…

Flat, Service and more general update

First of all, I would like to apologise to Tiffer. Ages ago he offered to help when I moved house and I would just like to thank him for his offer, tell him that I didn’t forget and was very delighted by the offer. In the end I hired people to do it all for me and was most grateful for this. Eventually I WILL get round to unpacking.

Now my head is slightly clearer than it has been, I would like to describe my flat a little more as I’m most delighted by it. Still. It’s a one bedroom flat and everything appears to have been rebuilt before I moved in. It certainly was redecorated and all fitted out (well, with what it came with) before I saw it. It has a large and long corridor, which one of my friends assured me is designed for keeping bookshelves in. With books. As I don’t quite have anywhere near enough books, I’ll settle for keeping them in the living room. The living room, I believe, is bigger than the living room and study combined from the abomination. It’s possibly almost as big as my whole Manchester flat! it fits all my furniture in with tonnes of space left over. I need to get round to acquiring things like a coffee table. I never realised I needed one before – I never had space or inclination. Arti’s table has pride of place in one corner and I’m still grateful for it, almost two years ago after she kindly gave it to me. I’ve also acquired a sofabed. I’ve heard rumours that it’s not that comfortable but the only person I know to have slept on it came back for a second go so it can’t be that bad! It’s great to have a sofa and it makes the place feel more homely. All I need now is one that is big enough for me to sit on the wrong way round. My legs are too long to fit on it atm, let alone allow me to curl up on it. The living room over looks the local Anglican church – and as views of the High Street go, couldn’t be better. It also has a high ceiling which makes the room feel all the bigger. Attached to the living room is the kitchen, in open plan styley. It is fitted with things like the washing machine and fridge hidden behind normal looking doors. It’s all brand new, properly sealed, and has a nice vinyl floor (better than stone) as well as built in cooker and more storage space than you could shake a stick at! It seems the complete opposite of the kitchen in the abomination and I’m actually more than willing to spend time in it and cook. This is something that I’m gradually remembering how to do.
The bathroom, like everything else in the flat is brand new. It doesn’t have a shower but it’s not a problem. It even has a heated towel rail and a fan heater for when it gets cold!
This is how sad I am – I’m even delighted by the airing cupboard. It has switches for the water so I can not spend so much on heating. It is carpeted so it keeps things nice and it’s not full of spiders and ick!
The bedroom is plenty big enough too and comes with a skylight and fitted wardrobes. The wardrobes are big enough to hide a multitude of sins – for which I’m very grateful. They even fit spare beds in! The skylight is taking a little getting used to, as I wake up with the sunlight now. Being woken by 5ish is not brilliant but something that I’m sure I’ll acclimatise to.
All in all the flat is still lovely and fantastic and brilliant and marvelous.

The service…
I know that at least a couple of people might be interested in knowing how it went. In the end it went fine and I was at peace with it. It’s about the calmest I’ve been for weeks, having completed it. I find it much easier to write/compile worship on my own than by committee. It was a bit mad not having more of it sorted by yesterday and I went to bed at 3.30 and got up at 6.30 to finish it. Seeing as it was about trust, it was an interesting exercise for me. :S It was also interesting because two of the people whose opinions I often ask were out of the country so I couldn’t ask. I think that was probably a good thing but it was still a little daunting.
The weird thing about doing a service ‘on my own’ yet still having a mentor present is that by choice I would delegate aspects of it if I could, but apparently I couldn’t. Maybe that’s because I don’t want to talk at people for an hour! I’d get sick of my voice if I was them, but I got complemented on my voice. Not sure if that means the content was bad but I sounded nice or not 😉 My mentor says he’ll email feedback through after he’s gone and asked people but those who did come and say anything said nice stuff. It was an interesting service though because, amongst other things, it included a silent meditation. Not normal fodder for all age worship but it still seemed to work. Anyway, a friend is coming and we’re going out for lunch. I need to find some knitting needles first so I’d better go but thanks for your thoughts and prayers. I’ll update again soon.

What to tell you about…

I have this dilemma frequently. I want to tell you all about… but I can’t! I want to tell you this fascinating information about my friends… but I can’t. I want to tell you about things that make my head spin… but I can’t. i want to tell you about this really exciting work project that’s nearly finished… but I can’t… yet. It’s very annoying at times but there are worse things in life. I know it’s always annoying to read that people can’t tell you what’s going on but unfortunately it comes with having (mostly) given up my anonymity. There are too many people who know who I am. I’m also convinced that I’m not the only wiblogger in a similar situation.

What has been nice is I’ve been catching up with a number of friends – mostly by messenger but also by phone too. It’s been good to hear from Legally Blonde, ERG and Rambling Folkie to name but a few. I was very sad to miss Alice’s do but couldn’t make it. That’s life.

Life has been interesting and busy lately with weekends away with work – but other wibloggers have already talked about it so that gets me out of that. 🙂 I’ve been involved in leading worship lots and have now got a trial service arranged for the weekend before Greenbelt. Jen is going to stay with me that weekend which is great and a little scary at the same time. NC in the pulpit is a little different to NC at work or NC at home. Not in a conscious way but still… it feels very different. It will be great to have her to stay.

Since moving here, I’ve had more people staying over than I did in about the last 6 months in the abomination. It’s such a lovely flat and I’m delighted I managed to convince myself to get wireless broadband – oh, the luxury! Anyway, I’ll eventually get round to taking photos of it… One of the added delights is I have a sofa now. I’ve technically owned it for about a year and a half but it only moved into this new flat when I did. Saying that, I’m also enjoying having carpet again – even if there are blue dust bunnies everywhere. We have come up with various ways of catching the things including running across the floor with masking tape on our feet (not just me, you’ll note – and no fellow wibloggers for that matter) but that doesn’t work. Neither does hoovering them all up… Anyway – carpet is a fantastic invention. 😀

I’ve been knitting to celebrate my house move too. I’m trying to knit a selection of cushion covers but keep getting distracted. By almost anything – currently it’s being ill.

All in all things are good but variously make my head spin in good and bad ways. If I wanted you to not pay attention too much to what I write, now is the time to look away… It’s all boring stuff…. Honest…
I’ve misplaced my wallet or had it nicked (in morrisons). Grrrr. Lots of confusion and upheaval. The other minor thing I might mention is that a couple of months back I went to talk to my minister about vocations and stuff. That’s definitely minor and nothing to be thought of seriously. Hmmm… Was that a good plan? I doubt it.

Anyway… I need sleep. Should go now. Will try and find more things it’s okay to talk about soon.

Moving update

I’ve moved most of my the stuff over from the old place to the new one and have started unpacking. I have scheduled house warming for this Thursday to make sure there is a sufficient amount of stuff unpacked by then. If you’re in the midlands on Thursday evening, feel free to pop by. If you want to know more, comment and let me know how to get in touch with you…

It’s really such a lovely place and I’m really enjoying living here. Even if I am still in the middle of washing and cleaning *everything* from the old flat. It does make it harder to go back to the old one though. I have to hand back the keys in the next week and a half. By then it needs to be immaculate. If anyone knows how to get mould stains off the paint work, I’d love to hear. I can’t get the marks off! Also, ways of hiding the woodlice or at least making the flat seem less desirable for them. Mum keeps reminding me how much the deposit is at every available opportunity. Hopefully I’ll get it all finished off tomorrow as I have quite a busy week (Tuesday evening – worship prep for Sunday, Wednesday evening – local preachers meeting, Thursday evening – Housewarming). I *may* have booked the handover appointment for Friday morning but I’m not entirely sure. I need to check. If I have, I will try and move it to Tuesday as that works so much better.

My local preacher training is progressing too. I delivered my first sermon this morning and I will post it in the next post. Feel free to ignore it if you don’t want to read it all, or comment accordingly. I still have much to learn but I don’t think it was bad going for a first one. The Local Preachers Meeting on Wednesday will be my second and it will be interesting to see what happens.

At least there is a long weekend coming up and hopefully I’ll be able to enjoy it and feel settled when it comes around. Woohoo.

General update

The only thing that I’ve really dropped by to talk about lately is the state of my flat. Fortunately it is not the whole sum of my life and I have been really quite busy with other things – local preaching, w*rk, flat hunting, social life…

Local preaching
I’ve been involved in leading services since December and I have been given the date of the first sermon which is some time in the future (obviously). I *might* tell you when it is, nearer the time, but I might not as it will be quite scary. Mothering Sunday is a bit daunting too but at least I don’t have to do the sermon. Things progress with my tutor and progress is being made – I hope. I’ve also survived my first local preachers’ meeting and really didn’t find it too traumatic.
It’s also all a good excuse to find out more about Methodism (which I’m a relatively late convert to) by asking many of my (poor, unfortunate) friends. Fortunately the ones I’m thinking of don’t read my blog, to the best of my knowledge… I had a really good chat with one of them today which was really nice. It’s good to be able to do these kind of things which aren’t related to w*rk. Which leads nicely to…

On the whole I don’t discuss too much about w*rk, so I hope you’ll tolerate a brief update only. As ERG has already blogged about and mentioned by Blonde, there was a conference recently. It’s also been hinted that I was involved in it… It was a very good but hard work weekend. I really did manage to enjoy it too, which is a bonus. The atmosphere just seemed so lovely and I’m really glad and relieved it turned out okay.
About a month ago, I went to an interfaith conference. It was absolutely brilliant. I got to learn so much more about Islam, Judaism and the Ba’hai faith. It was really enjoyable and I’m so lucky to be able to do things like this as part of my job. Woohoo.
There is another residential coming up at the end of the month and it’s probable that there will be more than one wiblogger there too. It’s always nice to catch up with wibloggers, especially when they come to my city. He he he.

Flat hunting
I’ve now started flat hunting. I’ve seen… one. Unfortunately it was too small but at least I’ve started. I cancelled todays appointment as I didn’t like the agent. The one advantage of the current situation is that there is no real urgency to leave so I can pick and choose. I’m not looking forward to the next stage of the war with the landlord. The agency are best described as… not all that helpful. They want to hold a meeting in my flat with me and the landlord present. I’m really not looking forward to that at all and I hope to recruit someone to keep me company. It’s possible that it will be a long and drawn out war but that’s what it now is. I’m going to the Citizens’ Advice Bureau on Thursday and I hope that they will be some help. Anyway, all I need now is somewhere new to live…

Social Life
I’ve recently developed one! It’s great. I’ve been to a birthday do each weekend for the last three weeks! Mum reckons I should get friends who live closer together as I’ve been to Leeds, Manchester and London for the events. I guess it’s a good thing that I live somewhere in the middle of all those places. It’s been really nice to catch up with folk, and it’s been an entirely different set each weekend – me being the the only point of overlap. I’ve seen uni friends, church friends and w*rk friends. It’s fantastic.
During the last weekend, I did get accused of drinking a little too much (alcohol). This was just my luck as I had only water but it entirely goes to prove you don’t need alcohol to have a good time. It was so much fun… Singing along merrily to Abba, Grease and a whole bunch of other cheesy music. I think there should be more evenings like that.
This week I should be going to see someone I know through work in a play. That should be good fun too. I’m not really trying to spend time outside my flat, honest. 😉

Well, I guess if my life is just *that* hectic(!) I should get to point (5) on the things to do list (below)… Go to bed.
Night all.

Boys, boys, boys.

I’m having a crisis with the men in my life. There are too many of them. My mentor and trainer for local preaching are both male, as are my boss and one other colleague, my spiritual director, my support person and many more of the important people in my life. Normally I wouldn’t mind but I’ve just noticed the sheer volume of men in my life recently. Hey, I worked in the motor trade and did a male dominated course at uni but even so there were more women there than there are now. It’s amazing how things change.

Just to clarify, they’re all really lovely blokes and I wouldn’t change them for the world (well, definitely not those I’ve met ;)).

Changing the subject entirely, I can’t believe how cold it is! Inside my flat! I know that almost this time last year I was chronicling the joys of my flat, well the heating still isn’t fixed. Also I’m guessing that it’s not going to be as I’m hoping to move out. I’ve been offered another space but it needs a lot of work doing to it and I’m not even going to give notice until it’s been done. Until then I have to survive with two portable heaters which means it’s going to be a struggle to keep me warm and dry washing until the end of winter or I move house – whichever is sooner. Oh the joy. All I need to complete the set is the mould which made such a vivid appearance last year to show it’s ugly head. If you can think of any inventive ways of staying warm, please let me know. The cheapest I’ve managed to find so far is going to the cinema. As I have a cinema card, it is no extra cost to go and it is a darn sight warmer than my flat. Brrrrr *shiver*

Anyway, I’m going in search of warm things… Night