A Bishop Called Libby

Jan 28

One thing I’ve noticed about life is that most experiences don’t come with facts, they come with feelings. Things I’ve longed for come with the question “so how does it feel?” Like when you put on a new jumper and start fiddling with the cuffs to work out what it feels like. When Ruth decided she wanted a Harley we ended up having a conversation about what it feels like. Sometimes this is a physical thing and sometimes it is emotional. I drove a BMW once. It was technically a great car but it felt all kinds of wrong. I was sat in the driver’s seat of a board room executive’s car feeling a longing in my soul for a roady’s van.

I remember that day nearly six years ago when I put on a dog collar for the first time. I looked in the mirror at something that for many years I had prepared for and dreamed of. It came with an emotional response. It felt weird. In the mirror I saw a vicar who looked a little like me staring back from the glass. It was weird.

I remember the first day I went to church and the priest behind the altar was a woman. I remember that it had a feeling about it. It felt a bit strange. It was something I knew to be right but something that had previously been outside of my sphere of experience.   Not through design, I’d just never previously had the experience as our vicar happened to be a bloke.

Then there was the point where my life changed and I started to hang out with vicars. A lot of vicars. They’re all over the place. Hundreds of them. It seems that I haven’t changed much since my school days. I tend to sit at the table with the intelligent girls who’ve all done their homework. For me, women in dog collars is probably a more common sight than men.

This week I watched on live TV the consecration of Rt Revd Libby Lane. Nearly a decade ago when I arrived at theological college and began training for ordination the issue of women in the episcopate became part of my life. Since then this has regularly been on the agenda. It is something I have wanted. It is something I’ve hoped for. And for a decade, I have wondered how it would feel. How would this new and strange experience compare to my previous new experiences? How would I feel when I looked at my TV screen with Libby in Episcopal purple?

It felt normal.

What a let-down. I was expecting something visceral. What I got was normality. A bishop. There’s a bishop called Libby and that’s normal.  Good.

Congratulations Bishop Libby. I’m really pleased that there is now a woman in our little bit of the episcopate. I’m really happy that the first to break new ground in our little English bit is you. I’m over the moon that my female colleagues, our parishioners, the server who stands at the altar with me and the kids in our school all have a good role model. I’m really happy that one day, hopefully one my friends will be my boss.

Justice – Advent, Day 13

Dec 13

Advent 13 - Justice

Day 13 of the Advent Photography Challenge is Justice.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour; •
he has looked with favour on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed; •
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his name.

He has mercy on those who fear him, •
from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm •
and has scattered the proud in their conceit,

Casting down the mighty from their thrones •
and lifting up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things •
and sent the rich away empty.

He has come to the aid of his servant Israel, •
to remember his promise of mercy,

The promise made to our ancestors, •
to Abraham and his children for ever.

– Mary

I’m attempting to do the Advent photo a day challenge. I am three days behind because I fit a new hard drive, operating system and new and shiny Lightroom and Photoshop. Am now playing catchup with photos I’ve taken.

Check out the Facebook Group.

Steadfast – Advent, Day 11

Dec 13

Advent 11 - Steadfast

Day 11 of the Advent Photography Challenge is Steadfast.

This is my trusty YJM 100. Essentially, a Plexi – the amp that built rock as we know it. Ask Mr Hendrix!

I’m attempting to do the Advent photo a day challenge. I am three days behind because I fit a new hard drive, operating system and new and shiny Lightroom and Photoshop. Am now playing catchup with photos I’ve taken.

Check out the Facebook Group.

Worship Idea – Prayer Baubles

Dec 10

I’m in the midst of running numerous Messy Christingle afternoons for our local school.  I was thinking of ideas to engage slightly older children (Years 5 and 6) so went to my happy place – The Range (UK shop).  I came across these empty baubles (£1.99 for 6) which gave rise to this…


I cut a few sheets of red and green paper into strips.  I asked the children what they were most looking forward to for Christmas.  All sorts of different answers came but the first was “spending time with my family” and the second was “giving presents”.  OK, I admit that these were total gifts as answers but we also talked about sprouts along the way as well.

On one side of the paper we wrote a prayer for our family or friends.  I showed them mine – “Lord I pray for my mum” and explained that she wasn’t very well and that was why I wanted to pray for her.

On the other side we were “inspired by your answer that you look forward to giving” and wrote a prayer for people who are in need at Christmas.

Then we rolled them up and put them inside the bauble.

Then we added two pinches of glitter (that bag of shiny cuttings that cost a measly £1 from The Range).

Add a piece of thread and voilà!

Advent 10 - Holy

Prayer baubles that we can shake during the worship as a prayer.  Then you can take it home and hang it on your tree!



Delight, Advent Day 9

Dec 10

Advent 9 - Delight

I’ve had an amazing day with some wonderful people!  Holy Nativity‘s Over 50s Lunch Club are a great bunch to spend time with.  Today we had Year 1 singing the cutest carols and an amazing three course meal cooked by Sue (one of the church wardens) and a fantastic team of volunteers.

So the photo – not in focus, don’t care.  Captured a moment with the camera taking my first shot of the day without looking at the settings.  I like it.