Monthly Archives: June 2009

Nicole Cooke takes an unprecedented tenth national title in Abergavenny

We have some seriously fast women cyclists. Congratulations to Nicole on her 10th National title.

But wow Lizzie Armitstead is fantastic, coming 2nd while still in the under 23 category. Actually she is not just in the U23′s but is still only 20! Pretty safe money bet that she will be national champ one day. Sadly for some strange reason they decided she could not have the silver medal in the Elite class as she won gold in the U23 class in the same race. Seems very unfair.

Emma Pooley was right with them, if they had included the big climb that the men do in the womens race things might have been different. As it is she seems to be getting faster and faster and is real competition to Nicole.

Hat tip: Nicole Cooke takes an unprecedented tenth national title in Abergavenny

Survival Part 1

Last night I wrote on Twitter:

If I survive this weekend it will be a miracle. At the moment I don't feel like I expect a miracle.

Well the good news is that I have made it half way.

Today started with a trip to Northampton (drop son off for visit to Leeds University with a friend), leaving home at 6am (ugh). Soon as I got back jane took five 15year olds to the far side of Northampton for their broze Duke of Edinburgh Award's expedition.

Then the plans went awry as I spent a couple of hours with a Church family after a death.

Just made it to Thrapston for my last hour in the prayer room before getting ready for the Charter Fair. Spent the afternoon on the Churches Together Staff in the High Street with goody bags, free quiz, pointing people to all the free games in the Churchyard (not to mention a dry Church which was particularly attractive for a while for obvious reasons) plus advertising the Praise in the park tomorrow. Despite the rain we had even more people in the Churchyard and Church and all our goody bags were gone by about 1/2 way through the afternoon, just had enough quizes and Praise in the Park flyers. Then joined lots of others to close the prayer room which has been really popular (very easy to fill the rota and lots of people popping in).

This evening been sorting out some PA issues (Raunds have lent their PA for Praise in the Park so I have to setup a portable system in Raunds before going to my service in Wellingborough).

Now just got to get through tomorrow.

  • PA setup at Raunds
  • Attend Contact Service at Great Park Street, Wellingborough (all age contemporary, growing service) at 9:30am
  • Lead 10:45am service at Great Park Street (more traditional)
  • Get straight over to Praise in the Park at Thrapston for picnic and worship 12 til 3 (yes I will miss the first bit).
  • Deliver son and friend to Northampton for Concert by 4pm (complicated as I can only have small car as Jane is collecting the DoE expedition and we need to take contra bass clarinet which won't fit in the small car. Jane is going to drop that off in Northampton on her way home)
  • Lead evening worship at Hope, Rushden 6pm
  • Collect son and friend from Northampton with contra bass clarinet which will need to be returned to Northampton on Monday.

Pity I then have an assembly at 9:10am on Monday as a lie in would have been good.

Anyway looking forward to Praise in the Park. Big step up this year as we have 3 bands taking it in turns on stage (we use an articulated lorry trailer) – soon be competition for Glastonbury!

The hidden advantage of Church over Business

I was thinking while washing up after writing 42: Starfish and the Methodist Church.


There is a huge hidden advantage that Church has over business when it comes to new technology; new ways of working, new ways of collaborating, well new ways of pretty much anything really.

It is a hidden advantage because we often don't notice it or realise it is there.

The advantage is that we don't have to figure out how to make money from it.

What a pity that we don't take this seriously or even realise that it is the case.

We don't have to figure out how to make money from podcasts because we want to build the Kingdom of God not make money. We don't have to figure out how to make money from youtube video's, from blogs, from twitter, from wiki's, from skype, from anything else because

  • The Church does not exist to make money
  • The Church is not about anything that costs money, the things we want can't be bought, so why worry about money.

We really should see this as good news. The hard bit with new technology is working out how to make money from it and we don't have to do that at all. In fact we are probably better off if it is impossible to make money as then we are less likely to be tempted to forget our mission, our purpose, our very being none of which has anything to do with money.

So what can we use today that won't make us any money but which can build the Kingdom of God, that can allow us to participate in God's Mission?

Starfish and the Methodist Church

My friend Dave Faulkner wrote a series on the book "The Starfish and the Spider" by Ori Brafman and Rod A Beckstrom, the sub-title is "The unstoppable power of leaderless organisations".

I have just read a copy and it seems to me that this book (and "Tribes" by Seth Godin) have the potential (after appropriate theological reflection and discussion) to have a significant impact on my understanding of the future of the Church.

That reflection seems in my mind to connect to the upcoming Methodist Conference. Anyway I start my reflections with Dave F's excellent series.

Worth sharing. On being a Methodist Minister

I just did not want to lose this, brings back great memories of Angie on fire for our calling:

a minister in the Methodist tradition is the best calling that there is
- NOTHING beats being able to live and preach the gospel of grace which
changes lives and hearts and which is empowered by God to reform the
nation and the Church – God is not finished with the people called
Methodist yet. Angela Shier-Jones

Oh and by the way, it is what I think too!! Especially after the last week or so.

Changing lives

Today was a great example of the impact a faithful person can have. Today was the funeral of Mrs Enid Coggins at Thrapston Methodist Church and I was honoured to be able to conduct the service.

We have never seen this many people in that Church. The balcony had a new safety rail installed so we could use it and it was crammed full. Every pew was full to bursting. Plus we had set up a video and sound relay to the hall below the chapel. That was crammed full with every seat taken and lots and lots of people standing.

Enid was our organist at Thrapston and that was how I first met her, however, the impact of this faithful woman touched huge numbers of people through 30 years of teaching at Bishop Stopford School as well as in every other sphere of her life. We remembered the impact of her teaching today when two pupils read a poem one of them had written about Mrs Coggins. It is also remembered through three facebook groups created by students (present and former):

Something over 1,000 members of those groups at present. Amusing as Enid was not into computers at all.

Enid's love for people and her determination to help, support, encourage & definitely teach them has brought people together. At the service we had family members speak, we had prayers and thoughts from Sister Liz (a Catholic Nun who has been wonderful in recent months as well as an old friend from teaching one of Enid's step-daughters). Also from Rev Lesley McCormack (the parent of student who remembered Enid with love) a chaplain at the Hospice where Enid spent the last few weeks. We had a former pupil play the organ (he also played for their wedding 21 years ago in the same chapel) and a recital while the family went to the commital.  We had messages from childhood friends.

One of our readings was 1 Corinthians 13 and it seems to me that Enid is a great example of someone who has built a community through her love and loving service. Her love was robust and humourous, not weak or feeble and it built people up.

If you want to change lives then this is a life you could do well to copy, even then Enid would be the first to point you staright to Jesus and say copy him.

My grateful thanks to those who gave their time and help to make this service possible:

  • Pete for sorting out the sound (and congratulations on your engagement to Lucy)
  • Bishop Stopford School for the Orders of Service and the Video link to downstairs
  • Ray and Bessie Barratt & son David for all their work at the Chapel
  • Mark Pescott for playing organ and piano
  • Bod and David for the new path (concrete laid on Saturday, just in time).
  • All the other members of the Church for their help & support
  • All who took part in the service

Weekend catchup

Some time to reflect at the end of a busy few days.


Mum to hospital for 7:30am, drop off Funeral Order of service (finished it at 1am) on the way. As soon as she was taken off for the op (2nd cataract) I left and went to visit a Church member in nearby Kettering Hospital. Then home to cook for WOT in the afternoon (sweet and sour pork in a slow cooker as still no kitchen at Church).

Couple of phone calls and emails, plus making tea/coffee for the men working on the driveway.

Then took some time of for lunch at Cortado in Kettering before visiting Mum to check she had come round ok.

Then home to pack a car load of stuff for WOT, down to chapel by 3pm to be ready for the first kids at about 3:20pm. Just under 30 people this week. Everyone leaves at 6pm. I leave rest of clearing up to Jane and Debbie and give Sylvia a lift home at about 6:20pm then pack clothes bag for the night.

About to leave for Circuit Meeting at 7pm giving Sylvia (a different one) and Pam a lift. Got projector, laptop, screen all packed. Then get a phone call to say the Scouts can't get into Church – someone has vandalised the lock in the 15 minutes between Jane leaving and the Scouts arriving. jane goes down to sort them out and I leave for Wollaston.

10pm Circuit Meeting finished, Peter gives Pam and Sylvia a lift home so I drive down to my sister in Crowthorne for the night. Get there before midnight.


Up at 6:20am, leave at 7am to drive to Portsmouth. Take Liz as she had broken a toe the day before. Arrive at Big Yellow Warehouse at just after 8am and meet Bob, our brother.

By 12:30pm we leave having cleared the store and returned it nice and clean. Picnic lunch in Queen Elizabeth Park where we review and divide up the last personal items.

Drive to Crowthorne, drop off Liz and visit loo. Drive home. What a nightmare. M25 completely blocked and A43 closed for British Grand Prix. Make way home by Aylesbury, then long queue from Milton Keynes to Olney.

Home in time for a 30minute snooze before heading off to Thrapston to help with the Prayer Room preparation. Hang some flags and offer moral support.


One son off to London to visit a Uniuversity open day. Another off to Birmingham on a School activity (never did find out what it was).

We take youngest son to open house with Alison (District Chair) and Dave. Son enjoys Dave's wierd collection of medical electronics (things that give you an electrical shock, popular in time of John Wesley).

Then shopping for some audio connectors I need for the complicated funeral on Monday, plus replacement iPod speakers for me (last lot got broken at WOT), plus looking for new oven for manse as old one is broken.

Back to be dropped at Thraspton prayer room for my session 4pm to 6pm.

Take oldest son to party in Northampton, middle son gone to friends for a meal so take youngest son to Pizza Hut before Tesco shopping. Two trolleys to til just as shop is closing at 10pm. Drop off Mum's shopping (Jane had brought her home on Friday).

Review Sunday sermon.


Collect some PA equipment and Communion wine from Chapel, put up extra reminder signs that the service is joint with the CoE at St Peter's.

Arrive St Peter's, mess about with PA, make sure Jane and Debbie sorted for the puppet sketch they are doing.

Worship. Including me preach and assist with Holy Communion. Service for whole Benefice (4 parishes) plus us Methodists. St Peter's is a big Church but I don't like the huge pillars, you can lose a whole family behind each one. People stay behind for the Flower Festival. I disappear for a couple of hours in the Thrapston prayer room (grab some lunch on the way at M&S).

Home for an hour before going to Ringstead to lead a Cafe style afternoon service.

Home at 6:15pm, snooze then watch Bremner, Bird and Fortune and a bit of Top Gear.

Collect eldest son from girlfriends. Finish watching Top Gear, nice to see The Stig unveiled.

Now blogging and working on urgent Bible Studies for A Word in Time.

Tomorrow is a big funeral in Thrapston. We have to move the Raunds PA and set up with video to provide an overflow area downstairs with sound and vision due to the numbers expected to the service. Still need to finish my sermon. The Eulogy is a bit more complicated as I follow others and need to pick up the bits they don't cover.

Plus a Raunds Leadership team meeting in the afternoon to prepare for. Fortunately the rest of the week is quieter.


It does feel good to have emptied that store, a weight off our minds. The time at the Thrapston Prayer room really helped this weekend. Just wish we could take the step of a permanent prayer room covered by a 24 hour rota on an ongoing permanent basis.

Also interesting to spend a while in the prayer room reflecting on my developing relationship with Worship. Today was probably bigger than largest congregation I had preached to before coming to this circuit, also I had no experience with preaching in a "proper" Anglican service (middle of the road, robes, choir, no incense). Yet I felt comfortable in the right ways while still on edge in the right ways (at least in my opinion). I am free to focus on the message rather than be self-conscious about the setting or the numbers, but the importance of the message still hits hard and is still an awesome privilege.

Mind you I do like informal worship as this evening where we open Scripture together and challenge each other.

Now back to those Bible Studies.