On my mammoth to do list is a half written blog post about how this current crisis is disproportionately affecting the poor. Fortunately, this thirty second clip sums it up far more succinctly than I was managing.
This isn’t my usual kind of post. For many of us, we’re the webmaster of our church website. I use WordPress for all of my sites and link to a google calendar which posts all of our events to the front page in a widget.
When I realised our website was still displaying all of our regular events from lunchclub to Rock Mass I started to delete them from the calendar. Unfortunately it just kicks the problem down into the future. And what do you do if you delete all of the events and then we start them all back up again.
Go to google calendars and create a new calendar. Call it something cheerful like Covid19 calendar. Put any events you are hosting online in there. Put a description including a link to where it can be found.
Copy and paste the link to the new calendar into the widget on your site. Instead of showing the regular calendar, it will now just show your new events.
When all of this is over you can swap it back around and all of your regular programming will still be visible and you won’t have to recreate it all.
The last, and possibly most important step is to go to your diary app on your phone and uncheck the calendar of regular events. Now you can’t see all of the events you would normally have been holding in church. All of those constant reminders are safely out of your workspace but not deleted when you need them in the future.
Welcome to a bit more space in your mental health.
Hope this helps.
This is an easy idea for a prayer station based around some French sweets.
Ruth and I have spent a lot of time in France. Every time we are there we come back with a few bags of these sweets. I decided to make a prayer station out of them this year for the Estates Evangelism Task Group gathering a couple of weeks ago. I intended to leave it on the table in the bar for anyone to engage with.
I found it unopened in my bag when I got home. There was so much to do I completely forgot about it. Perhaps I’ll take it to church this Sunday. This weekend marks 1 year since General Synod made it’s commitment to our estate parishes. What better way to mark it than with the song Mary sang whilst Jesus was within her womb?
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour; •
he has looked with favour on his lowly servant.
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,
the mighty from their thrones •
and lifting up the lowly.
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,
made to our ancestors, •
to Abraham and his children for ever.
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
I needed to make some posters and I was looking for stock photos…
There is some very specific Church of England stuff that we do, and of course there aren’t stock images out there for them. With Storm Dennis raging, I had time to make some.
In theory they should be available to download in high resolution by clicking on them. Feel free to use them wherever you want.
The letters aren’t scrabble, they are Banangrams. Photographed with an EOS R on my coffee table with a Falconeyes light pointing at them. Photoshop cleaned up everything nicely.
I’m currently sitting on a train returning back to The Shire from a meeting of trustees for Transcendence, the governance that makes Sanctum happen. We have been planning for the year ahead and then beyond into the future. As I reflect on the recent development of Sanctum, it is strange to think that the main event we hold each year is about to have it’s fifth birthday. And now, Sue is planning for her second year of worship consultancy. It still feels strange to think about how I’ve strangely ended up being a trustee of Transcendence, “employing” Sue. She is one of the earliest pioneers of Alt:Worship and literally “wrote the book”.
My first experience of Transcendence was meeting Sue Wallace at Greenbelt in 2010 in the Jesus Arms pub. Transcendence was the Alt:Worship service she helped pioneer at York Minster. When we met, I had been involved with running Alt:Worship services for about a decade in the church I attended before ordination. It went on to become the main focus of my post graduate studies at theological college. Back at the turn of the millennium in the North of England, Alt:Worship felt very much on the edges of the church with little sense of belonging to something wider. Then something dramatically changed towards the end of that decade. The internet exploded and we entered into a world of social media.
Our experience of leading worship at Greenbelt came about through Simon Rundell as part of his work then with Blessed. We met Fr Simon through twitter and organised everything through modems until he arrived on our doorstep a week before Greenbelt to do a dry run. Simon asked Ruth and I with our band Metanoia to provide the background for the mass in The Big Top. And then Eddie Green dragged us off to meet Sue.
This experience quickly cemented us into a much wider community of Alt:Worship practitioners from all over the country. Together we have been crafting creative liturgies in our own communities as we explore contextual mission.
For the last decade, Metanoia and Rock Mass have continued to grow and develop at Holy Nativity in North Halifax. New people have become part of the community or in some cases, part of the band. Through this loose network of like minded people, Ruth and I have been helped to walk into the unknown. A group of disciples sharing both joys and sorrows as we become the church of tomorrow.
Strangely, a few years later I now find myself a trustee. We approach the future with high hopes for how this network of practitioners and Sanctum will develop in the coming years. I long to see a renewed vigour across the church for Alt:Worship and creative liturgy that draws people into the presence of God. Sanctum is becoming a melting pot of creative ideas, especially the group on Facebook with nearly 500 members. Sanctum 2020, the event is shaping up to be brilliant on August 4th-6th 2020. And this year there is the development of Sanctum South at Sarum College on 3rd-4th of February.
Sue Wallace, Eddie Green and I got together yesterday to talk about the future of Sanctum and plan the next annual conference. This year’s shindig is at College of the Resurrection Mirfield from 30th July to the 1st August. Tickets will be available in the next week or so. Put it in your diary!
Now that I’ve told you about that, I have a few reflections from the day. From my perspective, the best thing about meeting together in person was having the time to discuss our vision for the future. “What exactly is Sanctum is for?” is the question I was keen to explore. We’ve always said we are:
“A network of emerging sacramental
practitioners and dreamers.
To worship, recharge,
share ideas, pray and support in mission”.
So we talked about being creative and making space to enable others to be creative in worship. On a personal level that means a renewed commitment to sharing resources that Ruth and I create. This year we have planned to record more of the liturgical music we have written in ways that are accessible and freely available. We also plan to do forms of notation and chord sheets to go with them. So I will have to look in the next few weeks at how this blog is used. Perhaps it is time for a redesign? Importantly, I need to find time for some administration and a commitment to curating resources.
Secondly, I would like to find ways to create space for people to collaborate and find creative ways to create resources. This may mean providing days for people to come together in different locations around the country to write, build, cut, stick, pixel push and develop resources together. I am also wondering if there is a need to do this across the internet of things. It may be good to start places to creatively splurge in the Sanctum Connect group based on a topic.
Thirdly, Ruth and I are consciously making space to write music together. We’re off on a song writing retreat in the summer. I will probably blog more about this in a separate post.
I shamelessly stole this idea. I saw it on the wall of my friend’s church. I am shameless!
400 twinkly lights from B&Q. A handful of tie-wraps and a cat. OK, perhaps you don’t need the cat. Perhaps.
I’m trailing the new stand alone app for contactless giving that comes with SumUp. I realised there was no good stock image to make a poster out of. Everything looks like a business. So I took one. Do with it whatever you like.
This is an idea I have shamelessly stolen from @revleahvs. Play is such an important part of learning. One Sunday night I watched a ten year old from Holy Nativity put her arms up in the air and recount the words of invitation I use at the eucharist. We learn through playing. So we now have six toddler churches.
Cheap plastic boxes with with a laminated card on the top.
Fairtrade dolls that come in a range of races and gender.
Vestments made from felt I bought in the range.
Egg cup, castor cup and electric tea lights from ebay.
Laminated Lord’s Prayer.
Holding cross and psalm 23 on a card from ebay.
Hankerchief folded as a corporal from ebay.
So lets play church. Lets learn the faith as we play with it.