Saturday, 30 April 2011

a very good start

I’m writing this late Friday evening in my room, but as I do not have wifi up here I will not be able to post it until I get downstairs in the reception area of the Assembly tomorrow morning.
I’ve already met many friends from college days which is always enjoyable and the opening evening meeting was excellent. I don’t mind learning new songs during the Assembly but I do like old favourites on the first evening and the worship was a good mixture of well known hymns and songs with Bible readings and the Lord’s prayer presented in new and challenging ways, and I always find Pat Took an inspirational speaker.
But the highlight of the day for me was during the Prayer Meeting this afternoon. The chairs were already arranged so that we were sitting in groups. After a time of prayer, praising God and remembering past Assemblies, each group was told to pray for different aspects of the Assembly, one for the children’s work, one for BMS, one for our home churches etc. with the last group being told that they could pray for whatever they wanted. After five minutes we had to move to the next group in a clockwise direction.
Being someone who does not like being told what to do and especially what to pray for, at the first move, I went anti-clockwise to be in the ‘whatever you want’ group.
I felt led to pray for a blogging friend who has not been able to come to Assembly this year, using just her christian name. At the end of our five minutes the woman next to me asked if the friend I had mentioned had a blog as she too was an avid reader.
We both decided, that as she too, had skipped to groups to pray how the spirit led us, we would leave the groups and sit together in a corner to quietly talk. A new friend has been made and I love it when God brings two people together!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Blackpool, here we come!

This will be my tenth BU Assembly and the first where I will be going with someone else and I'm really looking forward to the journey there and back along with having the company once we arrive. Yes, there are always friends from college and previous churches to talk to, but so much nicer to have a friend to sit with in the huge arena.
This is the first time that our chapel has sent a delegate (I have been there in my own right as a Council member and then minister) and she will be there to represent the Chapel when I have my hand shaken on the Sunday evening.
It still seems strange that although I was quite certain of my calling, I did question God about being a minister rather than a spiritual director as I had little preaching experience before going to college although I have always been aware that my experience as a counsellor, mother and business woman gave me a huge range of pastoral experience. And here are the BU recognising my preaching ability. As the years have gone by, although I still offer myself as a spiritual director, I am now a minister and God did get his way!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Grandma, have you got a road?

Last summer, when Grandboy number one came to visit us with his Mummy and Daddy, he asked me to give him a guided tour around the house as we were not living here when he last visited us.  Downstairs was done very quickly so we went upstairs and having looked into the second bedroom, I realised that as a three year old he wasn't interested in the decor but was actually looking for something ... and then came the question; "Grandma, have you got a road?" Fortunately I guessed very quickly what he was on about; he had just received a new small car and needed a road to play with it. I had to apologise and admit that I didn't have a road.
His Mummy and Daddy had made him a huge road painted on two pieces of wood, complete with parking places, a park with flowers, sandpit and seaside, which seems to cover all the spare space in their living room, but can be leant against the wall once play is over.
Earlier this year when visiting a friend who is a wonder at patchwork and quilting, we went to her favourite shop and I was tempted by a simple patchwork playmat/road.
In between preparing Sunday services, I have enjoyed sewing a road which is now ready complete with bag for playmat and cars.
Just in time for his next visit!

Monday, 11 April 2011


Following on from my last post, the one thing that was picked up from my paper was to encouraged those who have a national costume, to wear it on stage at the Assembly.
Craig was more than happy as he seems to like to wear his Irish kilt with all the gear whenever he can. Kumar was a bit more reluctant, and asked a couple of friends to escort him from their hotel to the conference centre in Brighton but he looked stunning in his Asian grey frockcoat (not sure of the correct term).
We tend to think of clothes of being what we wear to keep warm, but we say so much about ourselves by not only the style we wear, but also the colour, the pattern, the size of stripes and even the size of the dots on a tie!  And not only do we choose those things unconsciously but others seeing our clothes will unconsciously read our clothes! Which is why when it is a special occasion, such as others recognising our position within the church and the years of study with numerous interviews that it has taken to get there, it seems a shame that some dress so casually as if it is nothing special.
My party trick is to read peoples personalities by the clothes they are wearing. I did this at a Christmas party at college where one of the rather staid tutors was dressed down wearing a black jumper. I told him that it showed that he had a bohemian or James Dean streak - fortunately he rather liked that even with all the laughs!
Please note: I only do this when asked, I usually don't notice what others are wearing unless it is an awful blunder!

Sunday, 10 April 2011


This afternoon I sat down to write on my blog.
I had nearly finished when I pressed the wrong button and it all disappeared. So I rewrote it, pressed the publish post button and it all disappeared - not my fault this time but I didn't have it in me to write it all again.
So I thought about what I was going to wear in three weeks time when I get my hand shaken at the Baptist Assembly and this had to have some serious thinking!
A few years back I was on the committee that planned the Assembly and with my background in fashion I wrote a paper on the dos and don'ts on what to wear on stage - there were already some rules about not wearing black (you will disappear) or white (too bright for the big screen) but the paper was thought to be not relevant and so we still have some fashion faux-pas. People do not check what they look like from behind or the side and a favourite tie is worn which doesn't work from the stage or on the big screen. Rant over.
But my favourite skirt was getting rather tight, but the seams were large from where I had taken it in many years ago so there was plenty to let out! Skirt now fits, jumper chosen - one I knitted four years ago - who needs new clothes!

Friday, 1 April 2011

a special time

As promised in my last post, having arrived back home, done the washing, prepared Sunday's service and driven to College, visiting friends on the way, I will write more about my friend in Cumbria who has the gift of healing.
We had been to see her many times over the years but I had never had a session with her. I think of myself as being in good health although compared to others, there are several things which could be better, so I made an appointment.
Gretchen describes the healing as being through gentle touch. The session took place in a light airy room in a beautiful Victorian former Vicarage. I laid on a treatment bed (a little higher and narrower than a single bed) and Gretchen sat by my side on an office chair with wheels. She held my hand gently and we continued our conversation about how I re-met my childhood sweetheart who is now my husband. She moved to my feet, which were cold as usual but her hands were lovely and warm. As she moved to my other side our conversation had moved on to the role of women, especially in the church. It was lovely to realise that we both 'danced on the edge'. Gretchen then moved round to my head, gently massaging and holding it.
This had taken about 50 minutes with only short periods of good silence. She then told me that she would leave me for about ten minutes. During this time I was totally relaxed, not moving a muscle, enjoying the sensation of the stillness and peace. This was wonderful for me as many of my friends know that I have a benign tremor which is annoying more than anything else, but here I was still! 
I have had similar experiences over the years through contemplative prayer during which I know healing took place but this session was far deeper.
After the ten minutes, Gretchen came back into the room and I very carefully got off the bed not wanting to do anything to alter the stillness of my my body.
We went out to lunch afterwards and for the first time in many years, I managed to eat peas without them flying off my fork. Instead of spraying them over the table they went straight into my mouth.
It is advised to have several sessions and to take great note of what one's body is telling you after the session. Unfortunately there was only time for one session before leaving Cumbria and I wasn't able to lie down in the afternoon as my body would have liked.
But next time......
And if you would like to know more