Monthly Archives: May 2009

There are no ladies in our Church

I showed Role Calling: Pastor’s Wife: Who Should I Invest In? to Jane (my wife), her first comments were that “I’m no lady” and “There are no ladies in our Church”. It was a matter of debate a few years ago, but apparently there is now unanimity that we don’t have any ladies :-)

Mind you in our house use of language can be the cause of much dissent. For example between scone as in “gone” and scone as in “own” or “lone” :-)

As for me the patriarchal view is just so yucky that it sticks in my throat. Remember that rather than call them selves supporters of “Male Headship” these views are marketed as “Complementarian” where men and women are equal but have different roles. With that “definition” in mind re-read the post and then tell me if you can see anything that gives you the idea that these “ladies” who are “expected to serve in their role as a pastor’s wife” are equal to the pastor?

So just as a reminder here are some of the ways I picked up that show a woman is not equal:

  • They can’t be a pastor
  • They can’t “serve” men
  • They serve by choosing to “pour into” people (what a truly horrible phrase)
  • They can’t have a job
  • Their first priority is care for the home
  • They have their life mapped out into seasons controlling who they should be serving.
  • They have a duty to set an example of not being equal to their husband for other ladies to see.

Cynically it makes me wonder how much connection there is between the need strict programs for the male pastors to avoid moral failure (they mean sex. See 42: protecting against moral failure) and these views of what a wife should be like.

I wonder. If your wife is not your equal then is your eye more likely to wander?

Wot’s on

A very messy week is what's on.

The combination of losing a day for a Bank Holiday and having the kids on half-term while trying to work means that it is going to be rather a frantic week.

Lots of tricky balancing to happen. For example the balance between seeing family coming to stay with Mum as a respite for us when they also want us to spend time with them.

Sadly it is a bad few weeks for a number of people in Churches I serve so a fair amount of hospice, hospital and home visiting (why do so many of the places we visit begin with H?). One of the worst things about scheduling is that you never manage to get anywhere near the bottom of the list of visits you would like to do, so you are always in danger of feeling a sense of failure.

We have some good news in Raunds that we have a volunteer to become our treasurer after a gap. That means sometime this week supporting people sorting out the finances for them as well as for the ongoing work replacing the kitchen (new floor, new drains and first fix electrics done so far).

Anyway also some good stuff coming up.

On Friday we are doing some family visiting and then ending up at Whitechapel Mission for the night so that as a family we can prepare breakfast for people who are homeless on Saturday morning. It is four and a half years since our younger two sons went there so it is going to be interesting to see how they respond now. They are all looking forward to it as we had several good Christmases there when I was doing my training.

Sunday is of course one of the best days of the year. I love celebrating Pentecost and will be doing so this year at Wollaston and Irchester. Sunday also marks the beginning of the next 24×7 prayer week at Raunds – always a highlight for me.

Coming up the following Sunday is a big preacher swap between the Nene Valley Circuit, Northampton Circuit and Kettering & Corby Circuit. I am off to Rothwell for the moning and in the afternoon we are all gathering for Alison Adam (known for her work with the Iona Community) to lead us in workshops on singing with congregations before a tea and then she is leading worship called 'praying with song'.

Anyway this afternoon I will be trying to re-discover my desk and maybe some floor in my office as well as preparing for a Bible study on the Holy Spirit for tonight.

At some point this week we will probably need to collect our Caravan which is being serviced, that was complicated by some missing "keys" to locking wheelnuts. Fortunatelty I was able to fix that on Saturday by using a file and a bit of brute force, left me unimpressed by the security they offer.

I figure the caravan might also be a bit complicated in coming weeks. The circuit is getting our drive replaced (it has some bad trip hazards caused by roots and other bits that have sunk a long way). Knowing our luck the drive will be up just when I need to get the caravan out for me to go to Wolverhampton for the Methodist Conference.

A Word in Time

In October I was published on the Methodist Church website, providing a week of Bible Studies for the daily Bible Study "A Word in Time". I wrote about it in 42: Starting too soon! and the first day of studies was Sunday 26th October 2008.

I am now approaching the deadline for another week of Bible Studies. They will appear starting Sunday 16th August. The passages I am writing on are on a theme of "The Lord’s Anointed":

  • Sunday Aug 16th: John 6.51-58
  • Monday Aug 17th: Judges 2.11-19
  • Thursday Aug 18th: Judges 6.11-24
  • Wednesday Aug 19th: Judges 9.6-15
  • Thursday Aug 20th: Judges 11.29-40
  • Friday 21st: Ruth 1.1-22
  • Saturday 22nd: Ruth 2.1-11;4.13-17

So here is your opportunity to contribute. Are there any things in particular that I should cover, any particular insights in these texts or ways that you feel these passages challenge us today.

I will write a post on here nearer the time to credit those who contribute (no space on the "A Word in Time" pages, but I can probably cheat and add a link to the credits using a comment).

The new shorter and tubbier Dave

In response to reader demand there is now a new photo of me here on 42. As I am looking to the right I have swapped the columns over too.

This comes after a post from Dave Faulkner, who I met in the flesh for the first time at the Christian Resources Exhibition on Wednesday.

In his post Christian Resources Exhibition « Big Circumstance he wrote:

Yet this year, there was one other meeting with a friend. Someone I’ve
known through blogging for a few years, but never met before. Dave Warnock.
It’s funny how you have an image of a person before you meet them, and
find you’re wrong. In Dave’s case, I did have an image: there’s a photo
of him on his blog. Somehow, though, I’d wrongly projected that into an
idea of him as taller and thinner than he is. (No, Dave, I’m not saying
you’re fat, just that I was wrong.) And somehow from his writing, I
didn’t expect such an extravert!

Not only that but another Methodist blogging "friend" who I have met joined in with a comment. Olive Morgan wrote

Yes, Dave, the other Dave doesn’t look like the photo on his blog, as I
found out at the UK Methodist bloggers’ meeting we had in Birmingham. I
do wish he would change the photo! Is it a deliberate ruse to make us
think of you as taller and slimmer, Dave W?

So I have put up a new photo, in this photo I look very short and fat. When you meet me please be sure to comment that I look taller and thinner than in my blog photo!!!

Now what really intrigued me was Dave's comment "And somehow from his writing, I
didn’t expect such an extravert!
"  Do others feel the same?

One thing I do know is that over the years I have become less shy (yes you can be a shy extrovert – it is not a comfortable place to be) and perhaps more confident of myself. However, I would have expected that to be somewhat consistent between me in the flesh and me on 42.

The photo came from a couple taken at the Institution and Induction service of Charles Jefferson as the new Rector for Thrapston, Denford and Islip, that was on Tuesday so they are very recent. Here is another:


Left to right: Arthur (Baptist), Brian (Catholic), Charles (CoE), Dave (the tall, slim Methodist!)

Is Methodism all about relationship?

In The Road to "Elder" ado: It is all about relationship! POSITIVES David Matthias wrote:

Who oversees a Church is not determined by a random decision from above, rather "it is all about relationship"

In a comment on my post 42: Dave "one record" Warnock (which was about the way that for women New Frontiers is not all about relationship) Peter Kirk wrote

I agree with you. But you might sound less like a "one record" man if
you answered David's implicit criticism of the Methodist church (well,
it fits you better than any other church I know) that "Who oversees a
Church is … determined by a random decision from above".

In fact Pam has already given a good response to Peter in her comment.

My own experience about the way the oversight of a Church is determined within Methodism has in fact very little with a "random decision from above" (unless we understand God to be the "above" in which case I do not think it is appropriate to refer to it as "random").

Firstly, there is a 26 page booklet on Good Practice in the Stationing
of each year Ministers issued to all Ministers and Circuits involved in
stationing. I have my copy of the 2010 document in front of me. This is
important as the process needs to reflect human rights, equal
opportunities and employment legislation. No random decision could do
that, but equally no system based on friendship could achieve that

Secondly, the Good Practice Guide makes it clear that this is a connexional process. In order to server in the Church Ministers need to be both ordained and in "Full Connexion" with the Church. Connexion for Methodists is about relationship. We are all connected (ie in relationship) and our structures and procedures reflect that.

Thirdly, the guide recognises that stationing (ie determining where ministers serve and thus provide Pastoral Oversight) is a partnership involving a large network of people many of who are representatives of groups. For example it explicitly includes: the minister, their spouse and families, circuit stewards (elected by the Circuit Meeting, which itself is elected by the elected Church Councils), (the Diaconal Order and Warden of the Order for Deacons), the District Chair, the District Lay Stationing Representative, the circuit invitation committee (chosen by the Circuit Meeting), the church stewards and representatives and all groups within the Churches and served by the Churches including ecumenical partners.

Fourthly, the guide makes clear the need to balance adequate information and confidentiality.

In my own experience I know that my first appointment as a probationer involved a web of relationships. From my side that included the Methodist Director of Studies (Angela Shier-Jones), the Team at Church House and the Stationing Committee of District Chairs etc. This is a team of people who have strong relationships, they work together a great deal and usually have known each other many years. Their work could not be described in a any way is a random decision from above, it is neither random nor "from above" in the sense of a centralised authority figure. I know that all 3 of us who came from Seite that years were very happy with the way that the stationing process treated us.

From the side of the Church there is a complicated web of relationships around the Circuit who will have been involved in deciding that they would have a probationer, knowing that they would have no direct say but instead would rely on their relationship with the District Chair to look after them.

In the process that I am at the start of this year (detailed somewhat in 42: Methodist Stationing 1 and 42: Methodist Stationing 2) there is again huge reliance of relationships within Churches, Circuits, Districts and between Districts.

But at the same time as there is all this reliance on relationships through which things get sorted that happens within this wider framework which is there to ensure fairness and which avoids the dangers of favouritism or special favours for friends (and the guide is extremely specific on what must be done to avoid such problems).

So I am starting this process, not knowing what the outcome will be yet confident that the process, while no perfect, is being handled by people with whom I have good relationships and who have good relationships between them, within a process that does its best to ensure fairness while at the same time being run by people who are very committed to prayerfully seeking God's will. All that sounds good to me and I am comfortable to be within this community, this connexion or related people.

Dave “one record” Warnock

After a comment I left on The Road to “Elder” ado: It is all about relationship! POSITIVES I got a response:

Seems like an odd place to play that record DaveW.

So I have been pondering my reaction and the response.

The original post was a celebration that in new Frontiers everything happens and is decided based on relationships rather than anything else. My comment was that this is misleading. Even if true it is in fact only true for 50% of the population. No matter how good a woman is at relationships, no matter how much she has networked with all the right people she is not going to be selected to be an elder. For a woman in New Frontiers it is not all about relationships, instead it is first about gender. Get the gender wrong and the relationships are irrelevant.

Hence, the response to my comment. Perhaps I am seen by some people in New Frontiers as having only one agenda. I don’t think that is actually correct. I just don’t think I respect the conventions and boundaries that male headship supporters like. I hope it is inconvenient to have irresponsible, awkward, rude people like me bringing up this gender issue all the time, especially on posts that are about how men decide who is going to do what in the Church :-)

It is easy for us to be blind about our own prejudices and assumptions. I am confident that it never occurred to David that New Frontiers is not “all about relationships” for women who are disenfranchised within their structures. I am equally confident that there are assumptions and prejudices that I have that I am also blind to. However, I do believe that we all need to become rather more reflective and self-aware as part of our discipleship. As we do so hopefully we are able to face up to and challenge some of our assumptions and prejudices.

Anyway, at the end of the day when it comes to the issue of male headship I hope that I do sound like a broken record, a one issue person. I would love to think that people start to think before they post “if I write this then that boring/fussy/interfering busy body/… Dave is going to be obnoxious in the comments and point out that it is not fair to women”. To that end please keep expecting to read or at least moderate my comments every time I notice you marginalising women. I aspire to being the dripping tap of equality :-)

C2C Day 6 – Westlinton to Whitehaven

My last C2C/Reivers day!

Followed: C2C Day 5 – Kielder Dam to Westlinton but was dry all day (what a relief). The main problem for today turned out to be the scarcity of places to stop for drinks and food on the way. Fortunately I did stop and have a nice bacon roll in Dalston as the next place I stopped at a cafe was in Cockermouth. I had been planning to stop at Hesket Newmarket but the pub was not open and the village shop did not have much to choose from. The GPS translation onto Everytrail seems to have gone to straight lines again and lost a lot of feet climbed in the process.

Most frustraiting bit was being reduced to 4.9mph and 2nd gear on the flat by the headwind as I was on the top going around Scafell Pike.

Anyway I finished, the GPS gave a total of 340 miles in 6 days. By far the most riding I have ever done.

Here is the last day's route C2c Day 6 – Westlinton to Whitehaven, the end

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C2C Day 5 – Kielder Dam to Westlinton

Despite a wonderful breakfast (see C2C Day 4 – Ponteland to Kielder Dam) and an earlyish start at 8:15 this was a very hard day.

I had my biggest routing problem late in the day. That looks like a complete loop on the map although I did not realise it at the time. A sign had been rotated enough to be confusing but what was really confusing was the help I got from someone whose door I knocked on. What I should have done was look at the map page on the Garm Edge 705 which would have put me right in seconds, but it was raining and I was knackered.

A little bit further on I had to ride through a ford, it was deep enough to make sure that both feet got really properly wet.

I was riding with a missing spoke on my back wheel (broken on day 3), I had removed the spoke and straightened the wheel as best I could end the end of day 3. This meant I lost time at Leaplish and Kielder trying to find a bike shop that could help (nothing at Leaplish and the hire shop in Kielder sends wheels to Newcastle for repairs). That meant I was cautious about off road sections so took the guide book recommended alternative on the road to Newcastleton where I had a nice lunch at the Olive Tree Cafe.

As it rained for at least four hours and as the head wind was again very strong I was very glad to arrive at Lynebank Guest House at Westlinton for the night (although I was not the only one in the restaurant I was the only one for breakfast). I was also pleased to be able to arrange to leave the trailer and heavy bag here ready for collection on my way home on Friday. That meant I would not have to tow the trailer up the hilliest day of the Reivers route (my day 6).

C2C Day 5 – Kielder Dam to Westlinton

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C2C Day 4 – Ponteland to Kielder Dam

Following 42: C2C Day 3 – Waskerley to Sunderland plus I spent the night at a B&B close to Newcastle Airport. Close enough to walk to the airport for an evening meal at a Premier Inn.

Day 4 was my first whole day riding on my own back along The Reivers route. It was a relatively gentle day apart from the strong headwind. Sadly it rained quite heavily from about 10:30am, that meant I was quite cold during a lunch stop at a cafe in Bellingham where I tried to dry out a bit.

The very slow speed is partially a result of the headwind but also because the GPS seems to not have recorded the full route (I did not ride in such a straight line). I did get to look properly at the Kielder Dam to check it ws not going to collapse during the night. In fact though Squirrel Cottage B&B was probably high enough on the south side to not get flooded even if the dam broke.

Anyway Squirrel Cottage in Yarrowmoor run by Sylvia and Don wins my prize for best B&B of the trip, a lovely warm welcome, a lovely room with by far the most comfortable bed of the trip, a bath and all very warm and clean. Not only that but Don drove me down to the Pheasant Inn (at Stannersburn) where I had booked a table for dinner and collected me afterwards (it was raining hard again). The meal at the Pheasant was excellent (I had some lovely local lamb for main course). In the morning Don presented an amazing breakfast with bowls of grapes, strawberries and fruit salad as well as full English cooked breakfast and cereal and toast.

Here is the route: C2C Day 4 – Ponteland to Kielder Dam

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C2C Day 3 – Waskerley to Sunderland plus

Following 42: C2C Day 2 – Penrith to Waskerley this was our last C2C day. As I was carrying on on my own I towed my Bob Yak trailer from the B&B (I dropped it off on my way driving to Whitehaven on Friday). As I was not sure whether I would meet the guys moving the bags before I wanted to start off for Tyneside I chose to carry all my luggage and therefore to ride with a slower group.

Our group was dogged by some early problems of punctures left over from the day before. These were solved in Consett by a visit to a bike shop and several new inner tubes.

Nice ride but lots of difficult gates for the Bob Yak to navigate, would have been a nightmare with a child trailer.

Once I had posed for photos with the others I continued onwards “enjoying” the worst burger ever from a beach cafe. good route and excellent timing for the ferry across the Tyne, I rolled on and the gangplank went up and off we went. That was the Two Rivers route.

From the it was about 17 miles to tonights B&B, along the Reivers Route. it was well signposted and pretty good surface but I have broken another spoke today on the back wheel (just too fat obviously but I think it may not have been helped by some big bumps when getting the trailer past some barriers). I have removed the broken spoke and straightened the wheel a bit. Will be looking for a bike shop for a better repair. Not very happy with the quality of the wheel or the freewheel at the moment, everything else is working fine.

Obviously very different riding on my own (plus against the wind), missing the friends I have made but also quite enjoying the tranquility of plodding along on my own.

Anyway must be time for bed, I want an early start to give the best opportunity to get the wheel fixed if I can (or keep stopping for wheel straightening). ot so far tomorrow, going to by Falstone which is just before the Kielder Dam (will be very wet if the dam breaks).

C2C Day 3 – Waskerley to Sunderland plus

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