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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Rev: Holding a big mirror up to the Church

The current series of Rev continues, as it should, to provoke debate about the nature of ordained ministry and the state of the Church of England. Informed comment on the series so far can be found here and here.

In the comments to Angus Ritchie's Fulcrum piece, David Runcorn says, Rev "is certainly touching a church and particularly its clergy in a very personal and vulnerable way."

Ritchie and Runcorn have a significant debate about interpretations of 1 Corinthians 1. 25-28, with Ritchie arguing that:

"To focus only on whether we ‘mean well’ is to focus entirely on ourselves.  In a world where people hunger for meaning and hope (and in which increasing numbers at home as well as abroad hunger for food), the Gospel demands more than good intentions.  While we can all smile at Adam Smallbone’s antics, it would be a grave mistake to become sentimental about his ineffectiveness."


"It seems clear from St Paul’s own ministry and impact that what means by “God’s foolishness” and his “weakness” is not the kind of ineffectiveness which (I feel) Rev sentimentalises."

While Runcorn responds:

"The character of Adam Smallbone is found in the long honourable religious and dramatic tradition of the ‘fool’. As such he is a sign of contradiction. His vulnerabilities are ours. In his very weakness and clumsiness he is all our dilemmas, larger than life. That’s what fools are for."


"I do still wonder just how publically compelling a church that is sheep among wolves, common clay pots, weak and foolish to shame the wise etc can ever look in the midst of a society. There is something in these vocational descriptions that is surely intended to subvert cultural norms of power, status, impressiveness and credibility. There can be a certain attempt to be compelling to the world that is itself corrupting. I don’t see any way round it."


The Frames - Dance The Devil Back Into His Hole.

Monday, 14 April 2014

The whole world is in cataclysmic disillusionment

"The whole world is in cataclysmic disillusionment. There's a sense of grieving going on for the loss of clarity over what's acceptable and what's not. People don't trust in the concept of goodness, or in the authorities defining it for us. Religion in general has been dismantled in western Europe. All systems – socialist or capitalist – are crashing."

Brendon Gleeson


Villagers - Nothing Arrived.

Seven Kings Fellowship of Churches Lent Service

Tonight at 8.00pm at Seven Kings United Free Church the Seven Kings Fellowship of Churches will be celebrating and giving thanks for the learning we have done together as part of this year's Lent Course - 'Build on the Rock: Faith, doubt and Jesus'. Our Lent Service will include feedback from each of the three groups that studied the Course.

We have had an excellent Lent Course this year as can be judged by some of the feedback from those who took part:

  • "We had some very deep discussions. Our discussion about death was particularly interesting, thoughtful and deep."
  • "I appreciated thinking about Jesus as 'friend' and 'brother'. This was a new way of thinking. I had to stop and think about what we are really saying when we call Jesus our 'brother'."
  • "Asking why God leads us to pray was thought-provoking and important for me."
  • "You think you're not that good as a Christian but to then hear that we all struggle with doubt, it makes you realise that you're not odd." 

People liked the quotes in the course booklet ("I was surprised that some of those quoted had a Christian faith") and the range of perspectives from those interviewed on the course CD. We also liked working together with people from other churches and hearing different perspectives when discussing topics.


Bruce Cockburn - The Rose Above The Sky.

H'Art Festival - the Barking Episcopal Area Arts Festival

This year's Barking Episcopal Area Art Festival will be known as the H’Art Festival and will be held in the Havering Deanery from Sunday 1st – Sunday 15th June 2014. The Festival will be held in parallel to the Hornchurch Festival of Arts and Heritage.

commission4mission will have an art exhibition which will be spread across three of Havering’s main librariesHornchurch, Rainham and Romford. The exhibition can be viewed from Monday 2nd – Friday 13th June 2014 during usual library opening hours, except at Rainham Library where the exhibition can be viewed from Tuesday 3rd June. Those visiting the exhibition will be able to see painting and pottery by our artists including work by Hayley Bowen, Harvey Bradley, Jonathan Evens, Mark Lewis, Caroline Richardson, Henry Shelton, Joy Rousell Stone and Peter Webb, among others.

The H’Art Festival will include concerts, exhibitions, film evenings, flower festivals, messy church, services and street art. There will be a launch event on 1st June and a closing service at St Luke’s Cranham on 15th June. Among those planned to take part are: The Bishop of Chelmsford (Rt. Revd. Stephen Cottrell); ECHO; ESC Trust; Messy Church; Salvation Army band; St Andrew’s Church choir and Helen Yousaf.

The Festival is organised annually but in a different part of the Episcopal Area each year and runs in parallel with an already established community arts festival within the Area. In 2011 the Festival ran in parallel with the Leytonstone Festival, in 2012 with the Woodford Festival and in 2013 with the Heart 4 Harlow Festival.


Helen Yousaf - Joy Comes In The Morning.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Windows on the world (289)

Barcelona, 2013


Michael Nesmith - Some Of Shelly's Blues.

Volunteering with the Sophia Hub

Ros Southern writes:

We had a great enterprise club last week, and thanks to all those that participated.  All sorts of deals, ideas, networking, partnerships were forged around environmentally related organisations.  For a brief write-up go to the sophiahubs7k blog or click here:

I am pleased to announce that we have now created our volunteer role descriptions and profiles and are now recruiting for admin support, outreach, enterprise club support and developers/facilitators, and a large team of 'time bank brokers'.  The information is on the sophiahubs7k and here:

From 2 - 3.30pm on Tuesday (instead of the enterprise club) I will be here to talk through the roles/profiles and about our volunteer management and procedures. You can complete the application forms and maybe we can squeeze in a few interviews afterwards. Please come if you just want to find out more and are not necessarily wanting to volunteer at this stage.

We are very, very grateful for the support we have already received and hope that volunteer input and involvement will really take off.  We also know the value of volunteering for getting into work, getting experience to change careers or start off your own enterprise and would love to be an important stepping stone for you."


Elbow - Open Arms.

Talent and Variety Show

Click here and here for more information.


Colton Dixon - Everything.