Act Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly – Micah 6:8

Jan 19

At Rock Mass we have a yearly theme.  The theme for this year is Micah 6:8, “Act Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly”.  This is the introductory video we’ve put together for each service.  We have a 4:3 ratio background in the service so I thought I’d better do a widescreen version for you with no Rock Mass logos.

Rock Mass is a monthly sacramental alt:worship service at Holy Nativity Church in Mixenden.  Our band Metanoia usually play at it and you are all welcome to come along!!  Bring your friends!  Follow Metanoia on Facebook for updates.

Why Did You Stop Blogging?

Jan 18

“It’s a fair cop” was the reply I gave when I was asked this on Sunday morning.  My honest answer is that I haven’t had much time between the being creative bits to document what I have done.  Then a plague befell our household all over Christmas and New Year which wiped us out.  We are both now well again.  I have since been playing catch up with all of the things I dropped because of illness.  I have also been trying to put back together all of my websites since they have moved server.  As of half an hour ago it’s all fixed (I hope) so I’d better start coming up with content.

Enough excuses!  Time for action!

Going to Church for the First Time

May 22


We wandered to the imposing door as we watched the couple in front of us get met at the door. I turn to Ruth and whisper “he’s turning them away”. After a brief interaction they are granted entry. We tentatively approach the elderly guardian at the portal. 

In uncertain French Ruth boldly states “We are here for the mass”. 
“Are you sure?  Lots of people say that they are here for the mass but get up after ten minutes and wander around” replies the keeper of the door.

We nervously exchange glances and search for words in an unfamiliar lexicon. “Yes, we’re definitely here for the mass”. 

“Well if you have problems just go to the back”. 

“Ok”. 

We enter the darkened medieval nave and find a hard and narrow pew on which to place our posteriors. The gate keeper says ‘the back’ so how far are we allowed to approach the holy of holies?  Half way seems appropriate. There is no indication of what may happen next.  No card. No screen. Ruth texts me a link to some wording in a strange and foreign tongue. A bell chimes. An organ booms. I look at the strange words. I wonder how I got here. Perhaps the sentry was right. There’s nothing for me here.

This morning we went to church at The Basilica of Saints Nazarius and Celsus in Carcassonne. As a priest it was a fascinating look into how daunting it is to go to church for the first time. We have only been learning French for a couple of years so don’t have the language to understand what is going on. At the door we were met with questions we didn’t quite understand at an imposing doorway about whether we were worthy of entrance.  There was nothing to indicate what would happen during the service. Fortunately we know the shape of the liturgy and how to find rudimentary wording online.

It was a lovely service and I think I understood about a third of the sermon and my theological French is improving vastly.  But I’m a priest and I found it daunting to gain access to the building, much less the worship.  Medieval Carcassonne is a phenomenally touristy place but there must be ways to engage occasional visitors with the worship of the church. 

Much to ponder about how we invite people into the presence of God.

Hospital in the Nave

May 20


We’ve just been around the L’Hotel-Dieu in Beaune for a look around. I’ve been a couple of times in the past. I was struck by the large church in which the nave was used as a hospital for hundreds of years. All being treated within eyesight of the alter.

It’s interesting to see that this religious community were still treating people until 50 years ago. A reminder of what the church has done and what it can do when it sets its mind to it.

This is a photo of the posher smaller bit for people deemed worthy. It was much easier to photograph.

C’est la vie!

Sanctum – An Emerging Gathering

May 11

This is the second year for Sanctum.  “What is sanctum?” I hear you ask.  Sanctum is an “Emerging Sacramental gathering of practitioners and dreamers to worship, recharge, share ideas, pray and support”.  A place for people on the edges to meet.

9th August 2016 2pm
to
11th August 2016 2pm

at The Community of the Resurrection Mirfield

Sanctum

As alt:worship practitioners there is little around in the way of support so Sue Wallace (transcendence), Edward Green and I put our heads together and decided to come together each year at Mirfield to share good practice, to pray and worship together and dream dreams together.  Last year was very organic with people with lots of experience of being part of Emerging Church gatherings, people who have always wondered what it was about and were thinking of exploring new ways of worshipping in their context and everything in between.

Mirfield is a newly ordered worship space that is perfect for the high tech and the low tech.  As a place that is used regularly for sacramental worship, there is space to use all of the senses as people explore their creativity using the traditions of the church.

Check out the site and BOOK!

 

A Short Essay on Friendship

Apr 16

Well hopefully no one will read this. And if you do, don’t tell them. But…

As I grow older I have discovered what friendship means. I thought I knew but apparently I didn’t. I can pinpoint a few key moments but in the last 36 hours things have crystallised:

Friendship is spending a couple of hours talking about the hardships you face via Skype and listening to the hardships your friend faces. And hearing. And listening. And laughing. And joking. And saying “maybe next time we Skype we could do it at 10pm with a glass of whisky?”

Friendship is sitting around a table with a takeaway and saying out loud “this is just us picking up the conversation we were having six months ago, now we’re 200 miles apart, without missing a beat”. Didn’t even skip. 

Friendship is answering the question “where do you want to go in this sprawling metropolis where all things are possible?” with “I don’t mind. I’m here to see you”. So we’re off to Mecca Bingo. My choice. Didn’t expect that did you‽ 

Friendship is a constant messenger ping coming from your pocket letting you know that “I want to go to this gig with you” or “I think that you will love this song” or “you need to say this to your bishop*” or “come and play this song on Thursday night at jam night, it’ll be a right laugh!!” Ping. Ping per per ping ping. 

Friendship is that… We are fond of the silliness. We are. Sometimes words can’t express the love that you have for a friend but “we are fond of the silliness” will let that loony know how much he means to me. Yeah. I said loony. That’s what mates do. 

Friendship is being held up to be the best person that I can be. And I fail all the time, but I have the best friends in the universe. And friendship is also seeing people you love becoming the best that they can be. Friendship is holding people up when they feel like falling down – heck, my guys hold me up to be more than I can be all of the time. 

Friendship is forming community with people whether they are in the here right now… or constrained by family commitments and the bounds of space and time. Friends are there for you. 

Geography is annoying. 

Friends are intimate connections that transcend the bounds of Google maps estimated arrival time. 

*trust me it really was nice stuff. 

Especially Prayer Dice

Apr 11

As we have journeyed together through lent as a community at Holy Nativity, people have been asking how we can grow as disciples.  One thing I keep being asked about is prayer.  There is a universal truth about all people who believe;  every single one of us thinks we’re rubbish at praying.  By listening to what people are asking I have been developing different ways of helping people to pray.  So during the parade service yesterday morning, we made giant prayer dice.  And this is how we did it.

Last week I went to eBay and bought 50mm wooden craft blocks.  You can buy as many or as few as you need and as we’re a small community I bought enough for everyone in the congregation.

The scouts handed them out to everyone.  As we passed them around we talked as a congregation about what prayer is.  I led the conversations and asked what we would like to pray about.  As the conversation progressed we wrote them onto the dice.
We came up with:

Friends, Family, Ourselves, Thanksgiving, Saying Sorry, The World

Then I asked about how to begin a prayer.  As a congregation we discussed names for God.
And then we talked about the word “especially”.  We talked about how if we rolled our dice and prayed “Father I pray for the world.  Especially I pray for…” it opens up into a whole conversation.  And then we discussed the importance of listening to the other side of the conversation during prayer.  What is God saying to us about those places in the world we’re praying for?  What is God saying to us about the homeless people in Halifax?  What is God saying back to us in the conversation we started with a little block of wood about our family and friends?

And that’s how we do sermons together at Holy Nativity.