Monday, 30 April 2012

no news here


I'm blogging elsewhere this week!

You will find my 7 days here


edited to include links 24th July 2012

Worship on the Sabbath

I love the fact God is bigger than a worship style!

I've had a very Sabbathy Sunday. Starting with all age worship led by Duggie Dug Dug, including being a puppeteer again! I spent most of the morning on the floor at the front with kids climbing all over me, dancing and calling people funky. Was great to be free, and able to worship. Then I got a signed copy of Doug's latest CD.

After picking up some lunch I went to see my cousin for the afternoon. We caught up on life, reminisced about chair moves and all things stewards and played a card game. All the things Sunday afternoon should be about - especially when we share favourite pizza toppings!

Then off I went back to church for a Taize service. This is the first one I've been to at church and I loved the repetition, the silence and the light. I've got 3 friends on my heart at the moment, going through rough times and I lit a candle especially for one of them at the end of the service. The 10 minute silence near the end flew by, I had to concentrate to get children's action songs out of my head. I used to think in tweets, though since I've started blogging my thought process has developed into blog topics. I was thinking about this blog, and my life, and what is next, moving or not, working or not. The next few months are going to be a very exciting but scary time.

Something I've been picking up in worship a lot recently is the idea of light, and light overcoming the darkness. In a talk about slavery last weekend at MWiB this verse was used in a Mexican wave style - the light will shine in the darkness and the darkness will never overcome it. Tonight was totally lit by candles and it is so lovely to set the atmosphere that way.

I'm preparing to blog every day at this week. The first post will be about who I am, my identity. This is something that has shaped a lot of my thoughts recently. Who am I? What makes me who I am? When my whole life seems to be changing what remains? And today in the context of worship, who am I? I love kids worship songs, actions and all, I love silence, candles, chants, I love conversations and communion, I love prayer stations and late night prayer rooms. I go to Soul Survivor, Spring Harvest and Greenbelt. I'm me in all of these. I'm real. Worship isn't worship if its not real.

I'm just glad that God is still the same God, whether I'm dancing or sitting, kneeling or waving my arms in the air. I'm still discovering who I am but God is God. Amen.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

love yourself as your neighbour

I’m very good at looking after other people, I’ve spent a lot of tonight showing people where the toilets are and stopping under 18s leaving without an adult. I’m also very aware of what I think and why I think it. I love the wishbone activity where you work out the core route of an issue. For example, I’m tired, cos I went to bed late, cos a friend was upset about something, so I need to make sure I turn my internet off on my phone in enough time to give me time to chill before bed –something I need to learn due to having a new phone with internet.

I’m a little bit worried I’ve taken on too much at the moment. I’m a bit behind with admin at work, my house is a bit messy, I’m running out of clean clothes – which is saying something! I have many friends going through some stuff – all of which I love, and don’t want to not be there for them – please do not read this as me telling you to go away, this blog is about me! I’m blogging for MWiB every day next week – which I am excited about. I have another friend setting up youthworkhub, which we bought a domain name for today – again exciting stuff but have had to say that I can’t commit to doing much work for it. I used the phrase earlier that I need put life on hold while I catch up with work. I need a routine, which was why as part of my New Year's resolutions I wanted to take up running and eating breakfast. Since getting back from Spring Harvest I’ve had such an irregular diary, especially with MWiB weekend last weekend that it has meant I haven’t managed to get back into routine, and do my music homework and some faith and worship.

I think today I hit the post Spring Harvest lull, not on that spiritual high, all of my prayers of recent days has been for this friend or that opportunity. Let's go back to my friends. I was talking to someone earlier about how couples counterbalance each other, and that led on to love languages. I know I’ve talked about these before but I think it is a brill theory. How do love languages work online? Most of my friends I spend more time with online than I do offline. I’ve said before that touch is my primary language, touch doesn’t work online, as much as a *hug* shows the thought, it's not a hug. Similarly acts of service and gifts aren’t easy via Facebook chat, or MSN. Words are what we do have. Quality time is possible, but then with the way we communicate online is it quality time, or is it the gaps between other things – or turning that on its head is it quality time cos we fit it around our offline activities.

So to stop myself from burning out what do I do? Even tonight at Duggie Dug Dug I took the steward’s role, staffing the door. I hope tomorrow morning I can really engage in the worship, and I’m off to a Taize service in the evening, to give me the space to listen to God. Then Monday I need to start as I mean to go on, eat breakfast, run and get on top of my admin. So wish me luck, please pray for me if you do and if you want check up on me on Monday – though don’t distract me please.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Bambelela - what a year

Bambelela - an african word meaning never give up.

I know in December I did a review of the year but somehow I think the year should run from Easter to Easter - or Swanwick to Swanwick.
April 2011 had a very busy week in it. I went from a manic spring harvest stewarding where I made some good friends, and went straight off to Swanwick for my first experience of MWiB (Methodist Women in Britain). I was shattered and probably made a really bad first impression. It can't have been too bad as they still took me to South Africa, and asked me to join the forum. I'm really glad they didn't give up on me.

This past 12 months with MWiB have been very exciting, the Launch in Southport in July last year, 3 forum meetings where I informally represent young women (under 40s), 2 of the launch roadshows, 2 task group meetings - as well as joining 2 other task groups. And of course the World Assembly in Jo'burg.

So this weekend we explored many things on the theme of Bambelela the most moving being 3 women talking about their experiences of life, being very open and honest and still declaring Bambelela - Christ is our hope. The funniest moment being during watching cool runnings when they all shouted Bambelela!

This evening I've had my own Bambelela moment. You may have figured from last nights blog that something was happening today. I had a job interview and had a phone call this evening saying they weren't offering me the job. So, after getting fish and chips, I've spent the evening in my pjs, cuddling Kimmy (my teddy) and eating chocolate. This obviously wasn't the job for me, and God has a better plan for my life. So I'm not giving up, I'm grateful for the emails and texts of support I've received today. Christ is my hope. Never give up. Bambelela

Monday, 23 April 2012

clothes, lights and graces

How is it that we manage to turn relatively small things in to big things?

I'm not really into fashion - actually if anything now a days I try to buy all my clothes from charity shops or fair trade traders but some how deciding what to wear has always been complicated. Back in my days at sixth form - which was the first time I really had to choose what to wear regularly my mum used to come in to my room every night and help me decide what to wear the next day.

Back in 2009 I was on placement in a school and spent quite a bit of time talking to my supervisor about clothes in relation to power, as a non-teacher I had a different relationship with the pupils, they called me Rachel for example, but my clothes also reflected that - so much so that one day a was told off for sitting on a windowsil by someone who thought I was a sixth former. Though at my own high school I got told off for wearing trainers with black trousers and jumper as I looked like a KS4 pupil when I was a sixth former and allowed to wear trainers.

I've spent a disproportionate amount of time in the past 26 hours thinking about what I will wear tomorrow, strange isn't it?

The other small think that happened today was that one of the bulbs went in my house and consequently I had to find the fuse box as it had blown the whole lights system. Might sound small and insignificant, but was a first for me.

I asked someone earlier why we make small things so big, and his response was something along the lines of cos we have control of it, and he was right. This past weekend I was at a conference which I'll go into properly soon, but of all the jobs I had that weekend saying the grace before tea/dinner on Saturday night was the thing that stressed me most, just like deciding what to wear. I think that's cos I have control of it, and it's something I can prepare. I know I'm a bit of a control freak, in the bossy way rather than a perfectionist, but I'm also a know it all, and always have been.

This is yet another blog where I've got to this point and realised I don't have an ending, I could go down the line of handing it all to Jesus, and not worrying. Or use the illustration of a feather in the wind, floating gently.
But instead I will just say night night, I survived grace and have my clothes sorted for tomorrow and the rest will just have to be what it is, and hopefully I can be the best me I can be.

Monday, 16 April 2012

how was your year? reflections on Spring Harvest.

Hi! Long time no speak.
Last time I posted it was the start of holy week, since then I've been really busy at home, then went to a wedding, an Easter morning service in Brum and then off to Spring Harvest (Boing Harvest).

Its very strange now being home, I've spent a week clicking in wristbands, opening doors, moving chairs, having late night chats with my cousin, cleaning my hands, answering the question "how was your year?", doing paper work, listening to stories, being attacked by a seagull who stole my ice cream (well that only happened once) and making some new friends - or getting to know people better. I'm now back home, with no clicker, no chair moves and only my own diary telling me what to do.

It was a brill week and I could talk about so many things, how to bring kids up through Church, addiction, the Holy Spirit, the youth venue, first aid incidents, or how I've just found my tea ticket from day 3 which means I handed in my breakfast one at tea time. But what I think I want to talk about is friendship.

I go to many events and conferences over the year but there is nothing like being on the stewarding team at spring harvest. There was almost 60 stewards this year, and we are put in teams of 3 by venue. This is my 4th year stewarding and every other year its been GK, me and a newbie - who has never returned, only realised that this year we must be a curse! Anyway this year it was different the 3rd steward on the team wasn't a newbie and he is determinded to return next year so we shall see. We pretty much spend all day in our 3s, and as we are the only team on the distinctive 11-14s venue there isn't anyone else we were with regularly. We talked about the usual things, how to move chairs and get them lined up straight, opinions on communion, baptism, gay marriage, how many people we all know in the outside world - little bit scary. Those 2 guys were the people I spent more hours with than anyone else - well awake at least, we ate together, had in jokes and looked after one another - so much so I was called mum for some of the time - though not like when a lady was talking about how children should be brought up and asked if I had kids, everyone else I met assumed I was a student!

My favourite definition of God as Trinity is God in Community, in the same way we are made to be in community with one another. That is why we strive to find a partner, and friends. Stewarding is a difficult thing, we are challenged to get out of our comfort zone, deal with so many things all in one go, stay awake and be the people everyone turns to in an emergency, or when they are hungry.

I really like Chapman's 5 love languages, think I've mentioned them before, and I don't just mean boyfriend/girlfriend love, but friendship love. The 5 langages are: acts of service, quality time, gifts, touch and words. If you know me at all you'll know I'm a hugger, touch is my primary language. One reason I think stewards get on so well is that we are showing many of these love langages all the time to the guests and to each other. Hugs, words of encouragement, buying drinks and gifts, making drinks, carrying an extra chair, the in jokes and all the time we spent together.

For the next few days we'll keep in close contact, then I think we'll probably stop writing all over each others walls on facebook, we'll occasionally check out what each other are up to, send birthday messages but generally not be so close. Its very difficult to keep the level of friendship going. Last year I tried and for some reason scared my (so called) friend off. Not that I want to lose contact with these people, I just think it might happen, but it doesn't worry me - as next year anyone who is back will be back and we'll start all over again firstly with the question how was your year? Then build on from this year as if it wasn't 51 weeks earlier.

So here I am back at home, no wristbands, no clicker, no hand gel, back to normal life - whatever that is, but greatly enriched by the friendships that got me through the last week. So to all of you, thank you and see you next year!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Identity, Coats and Disney

I started this blog on Saturday, but wasn't sure it was right and had a sermon I was meant to be writing. That evening I was talking to a friend about why it's easier to blog than to sermon, and I decided it's cos I can talk about me more, though my blogs often end up with God. To hear more of my sermon writing antics read Paul's Blog But here is my blog, I've added stuff from my sermon, and updated the times. Enjoy

I've been driving on rural roads again but don't worry that isn't the metaphor I'm using again... yet.

In my car I have a Disney CD playing at the moment - blame Brother for that! I have a feeling there will be a few blogs on things Disney teaches me - I already have one in my blog drafts folder but today I want to talk about identity.

First thing I've learnt is that Disney films aren't nice. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame starts (I think, not seen it in ages) with a 'Gypsy' killed for running away to save her baby, who isn't cute... when she is accused of stealing. The story is told in the song and it uses the line 'one is the monster and one the man’, and goes on to ask ‘who is the monster and who is the man?’ The adult who killed the mother and the child. The former gives the child the name Quasimodo which means half formed.

The next song on the CD is from Aladdin, where the Genie renames Aladdin as Prince Ali. I like how the songs often link one to the next.

I think names are really interesting. I'm a peaceful ewe. One of my favourite youth work sessions explores who we are and what defines us, sharing your name with someone doesn't really tell them anything... When I was in South Africa I was British Rachel, as we also had an Irish Rachel. Yeah, of all the 18-30s women in Methodism Britain and Ireland managed to pick two Rachel's!! On Twitter I'm Rachic11 which doesn't tell you much but then I get a whole 160 characters to explain who I am, and in that you get - girlfriend,daughter,sister,friend,methodist,youth worker,HKS4MWiB,f&w studier, Views are my own.

So, how often do we reinvent ourselves?
I was at a coffee morning on Saturday that I have been going to for over 4 years on and off - nowadays only when I get a free Saturday morning. I wonder how different I am now to the nervous 18 year old who turned up her first week in the city. There are two brilliant old men there, the banter between them is so funny and somehow I often get into trouble (all in jest) when they put words in my mouth. Wonder if they see a difference in me.

I've also bought a new phone this weekend. I've loved my current/old phone and had it since my 21st, but Friday night, going in to a famous Italian food based hut ,I dropped it and the answer call button no longer works! So I've had to get a new phone, its similar to my old one, but definitely an upgrade. How I spend my money is a big way I show who I am, and getting the best contract for my money means I have the capability to be there for people online and to listen on the phone, and money spare to give to charity.

The other way I change how I look is hair and glasses. Though I noticed the other day that I bought the same frames for sunglasses both in 2008 and 2010. As part of my sermon I talked about how our clothes are part of our identity. I have 3 coats, my youth work one that I use for detached work and when I'm camping and need to put something over my pjs when telling young people off at 3am. Its waterproof. Then there is my furry on the inside thick winter coat - looks good with wellies. And third is my pretty summer coat that I was given for one birthday. It's great for a dry night out - but not if it's wet as its dry clean only. The sermon went into what the people were doing by laying their coats on the ground, their security and warmth - as well as identity - sacrificing part of who they to exalt Jesus.

Going back to the 'monster or man' idea I've recently been to see the Muppets at the cinema and that has 'am I a man up a muppet.' Now ignoring the fact I'm a woman, how do I want to be seen? I often joke I'd be a great evil genius if my morals didn't get in the way. And boyfriend calls me a muppet often.

Does it really matter who I have been, the name I've been given, or even who I am going to be (though all are part of who I am) but surely it's about who I am today. How I use who I have been to guide who I am and can be, and what do I need to sacrifice to exalt Jesus.