Monday, 28 April 2014

Rev (BBC) does Easter in 2014

Did you see BBCs Rev this Easter? 

Did you cry like a baby like I did? 

Did you sit in amazement as the BBC surpassed themselves? 

No?  Weren't you watching the same programme as me?

I sat down to be entertained as I always am by Rev but right from the outset it was clear this was going to be different.   

I started angry. 

So angry that the LLM (Reader) would report his ministerial colleague without so much as even talking to Rev Adam.  How could the BBC depict our ministry so badly (not that I hadn't thought that before).  What were they thinking?  They couldn't bring down Rev Adam.

And then he has to visit the Bishop and suddenly a penny drops. He's on trial.  He's being judged by the Emperor and he's been in investigated by Pilate.  And they're quoting old testament at him.  Did you see it? Or is it just me? 

And so the powers that be (the temple leaders so to speak) move in and they start the process of dismantling Rev Adam's Church.  Sound familiar?  

And Adam stands up for his church and it's congregation.  You get it now Yes? 

Rev Adam is not allowed in his church or to talk to his congregation (disciples by any other name).  He is removed from his work and his friends.  He is alone and everyone else seems to be against him.   Colin even denies their friendship; three times I believe. 

And Rev Adam breaks. He can't take anymore and so he takes the church cross to the neighbouring parish.   This is when the tears start to roll down my cheeks.  This is when the reality of Jesus' last day is shown in 21st century London loud and clear. 

He is brought down by the weight of his mistakes.  He almost buckles under the weight of the cross.  

He falls and he can't get up.  

He is jeered at 

          and spat at 

                    and abandoned.  

Yet he's also offered help by a stranger although he doesn't accept it.  

It's the stations of the cross on the screen in all its sadness. 

Eventually Jesus (I mean Rev Adam) reaches the top of the hill and he is done.  

It is done.  

He can do no more. 

He sings and dances and is joyful or mad or both. 

And suddenly he's not alone.  

There's a bloke in a shell suit (I know but let's not go there) and he's singing and dancing as well and they know each other and they talk together and it hits me between the eyes

"It's God!"

And God is full of these trite motivational statements and I silently pray that He'd never do that. He wouldn't would He?  

But then God utters these words

"We all have our crosses to bear. I understand Adam. I'll always be here."

And I cry. 

I weep. 

I let go so much of my own sadness knowing that those words are so true.  Especially true because Jesus did all this for us. 

But it didn't end there. 


Jesus comes back and he meets his friends again and he helps them start his Church and the rest is history (or Acts anyway) right?  

No. Wrong.  He resigns. 

This is not how easter ends and it can't be how Rev ends can it?  

He can't just give up.  

He can't just go.  

Can he?  

I'm hoping the next episode sorts it out. 

But come what may this episode has done something I've never seen before. It's brought Jesus' death on the cross into the 21st century on TV.

You did get it didn't you?

Sunday, 27 April 2014

A week in my life #bipolar #God

This is just one week in my life living with bipolar and trying to get my medication right.  This is exactly how it felt during the week.

- suicidal thoughts
- severe depression
- God feels so far away
- completely purposeless
- increase mood stabiliser

- slight lifting of depression
- able to laugh at comedy
- feeling more hopeful
- looking for God

- wake feeling ok
- want to go to church
- know God is with me always
- feel the joy of life, family, friends

- wake early ready to take on the world
- so much energy to make use of
- get working on lots of projects
- don't need to eat or rest
- feel amazing
- late to bed
- buzzing

- body really tired but my mind is racing
- it feels wonderful
- friend dies and I don't feel anything
- I know this is wrong
- what's wrong with me?
- admit to psychiatrist feeling manic
- agree to reduce antidepressants

- hot flashes
- cold sweats
- crazy thirst
- racing mind
- high anxiety
- mood fluctuations
- really tearful
- flu like aches
- writing lots
- so tired

- head ache
- muscle ache
- exhausted
- need to write
- can't find thoughts
- losing my words
- twitchy and anxious
- overwhelming sadness
- Black dog approaching
- want to be on my own
- snappy and tearful

Who knows what happens next.  I never got a call back from my psychiatrist so know I'll have to chase them on Monday because they won't call me back.  I know I'm crashing again and it's almost worse waiting for it to happen.  

Was it worth having the few days of productivity and creativity to now feel awful again?
Yes because I found my purpose again and at least I have something positive to look back on.
No of it was the direct cause of this depression again.

But is it the cause? Or could it be the effects of the medication changes? How does anyone know? Every psychiatrist thinks differently. What is the truth?  Will I ever find the truth or the balance?  Is there a grey that isn't dull?

These are the questions that buzz around my now anxious head.  My head which can access some mania to write this straight off in a matter of minutes.  my head which feels the immense useless of my life.

Will every week be like this week?
Will I find the middle ground?
Can I accept the middle ground?
What will my future hold?
Does anyone who can help me actually care?


It's now Sunday and I'm reading this back and worrying about posting it. What will people think when they read this?  Will they start crossing the road and ignoring me? Will people start to think of me as unsafe or mad or crazy? These are the things I worry about.

But then I think about who might read this and how it might help them. 

Perhaps someone feels exactly the same and will read this and know they need to get help and they're not alone.

Perhaps someone loves soneone with bipolar and this will help them understand what it feels like.

Perhaps someone will fatigue enough strength to not attempt to take their own life.

And yes
Perhaps someone will decide I'm not someone they want to ever speak to again.

Perhaps someone will think I shouldn't be a lay minister.

Perhaps someone will use this knowledge for their own ends.


I leave that in God's hands.

This is how it is for me as I live as a mum and a wife and a friend and a sister and a minister.  This is the truth and the truth will always win through.

I leave that in God's hands.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Mossy Church #forestchurch #messychurch

What is Mossy Church?
Mossy Church is a bringing together of two wonderful fresh expressions of church; the 10 year old, worldwide phenomenon that is Messy Church and the relatively new Forest Church movement which builds on ancient links to creation.

I first used the phrase 'mossy church' when I was chatting to a friend about the crafts and prayer activities I was putting together for Oakwood Forest Church.  I was drawing on my three years of leading messy church whilst ensuring that everything we did was impact neutral or positive on the environment.   I wanted to use the environment of Oakwood whilst engaging the families in prayer and exploration of they're relationship with a Jesus.  I wanted everything whilst leaving nothing.

I've since heard other people in the forest church movement use the term mossy church and I'm sure we're all talking about the same thing.   This is the time for these two distinct movements to come together in a powerful, mission focused way.


What are the foundations of Mossy Church?
- activities point to or connect with Jesus Christ
- activities cause no harm to the environment before, during or after
- anything "left in the forest" speaks of Jesus and is biodegradable and safe for all wildlife in the area


Ten examples of Mossy Church:
1. Ripples of Forgiveness
- pick up a stone, small rock or piece of wood
- imagine it holds within it the things you've done wrong
- drop it into the lake praying that you don't make the same mistakes again
- watch the ripples travel across the water and see that you are forgiven by God

2. Christmas decorations
- collect cones or leaves or sticks
- connect together with wool to make hanging decorations
- hang them on trees as you would a Christmas tree

3. Prayer mandala
- Collect sticks, leaves, nuts or anything else which means something
- lay them on a circle to make a mandala
- pray using this image as inspiration and representation

4. Faith rocks
- collect small stones or pebbles
- write words on them which represent your relationship with God using sharpie
- place them together as a basis for prayer

5. Prayer labyrinths
- use stones or sticks or leaves or nuts to mark out a labyrinth
- Alternatively draw labyrinths on paper plates and use them as finger labyrinths

6. Easter gardens
- get permission from the rangers or whoever looks after the land you are worshipping on
- collect a large rock, soil and clippings of plants to make an easter garden
- bind sticks together with wool or string to make a cross

7. Entering creation
- take small pots and seeds into the wood
- fill the pots with soil and plant the seeds
- take them home and nurture them until you see new life come forth

8. Fishers of men
- decorate paper fish shapes with leaves as scales
- use pritstick and ensure you take home all plastic

9. Bubbles of thankfulness
- use bubble mixture to blow bubbles of thanks for all the good things in your life

10. Noah's Arks
- build rafts from sticks or origami boats from paper
- float them on the lake


Further information about forest and messy churces.

Forest Church is
- a fresh expression of church drawing on older traditions when sacred places and practices were outside
- drawing on contemporary research that highlights the benefits of spending time with nature in wild places
Forest Church isn’t
- just normal church happening outside, instead it attempts to participate with creation.
- just a fellowship group doing an outside activity, we aim to learn, worship, meditate, pray and practice with the trees, at the spring, along the shore....


Messy Church...
- is a way of being church for families involving fun
- is a church that helps people encounter Jesus as Lord and Saviour
- is found across the world
- values are about being Christ-centred, for all ages, based on creativity, hospitality and celebration
Messy Church is not. ...
- a craft club
- for kids
- a feeder for "proper church"


For more mossy church ideas visit my pinterest boards at

Monday, 21 April 2014

On kids and church services

This post is a response to this blog post entitled On children's participation in the liturgy

I can see where you're coming from and I celebrate every opportunity at true all age liturgy - it's possibly the hardest thing to pull off.   But .....

Please do not think that all churches offer mere babysitting when the kids are out of church.

Our situation is that the kids come straight into Sunday school and we take them back into Church for the eucharistic.   We have extremely high quality children's work with a band of skilled and passionate volunteers delivering it.   We design our Sunday school in the same waysas the liturgy for the service is designed.

We welcome
we affirm our faith
we confess our sins and we recognise that we are forgiven
we hear the word of God just as the adults do
we enter into understanding this word and then we respond together
we pray and we sing and we are ready for the eucharistic when we come back in

not all churches babysit the kids
many, like ours, feed the kids with love and truth and explore with them every Sunday.

Further thoughts:

Personally I'd rather be with the kids than with the adults. I learn and connect through debate and exploration.  I don't do well listening to a sermon or sitting quietly.  I need to be able to talk and move and think and debate and feel; exactly the way we offer to the kids.  Many adults involved in children's work are the same and I'm pretty sure it's why the end up on Sunday school leadership - it's where they prefer to be.

So don't ever think that the kids are missing out; perhaps think about what you might be missing out on by sitting with the adults in church.

Look at this beach #napowrimo2014

When you look at this beach
What do you see?
Pebbles and stones
Or great history?
If you look on mass
You miss the range
Of creatures' lives
And climate change

Do you do the same
When you look at the sky
Do you see the clouds
Or do they pass you by
I see the difference
The light and dark
Not all the same
Some show storms past

And how about people
How d'you see us all?
A mass to be missed
Or short and tall?
We each are made
Different as can be
Take a better look
And you will see

Clouds clouds #napowrimo2014

Go away
Come again
Another day

Don't come back
I'll huff and puff
You'll change tack

Tossed around #napowrimo2014

Look at this pebble
Tossed around by beach and waves
Rough in many ways

Rough in many ways
Tells of life with ups and downs
Beauty in those scars

An inner darkness #napowrimo2014 #depression

Outside it's bright
Inside it's deepest black
Which of these is true?

Which of these is true
The mask worn to protect
Or the inner hue?

Ongoing Beauty #napowrimo2014

Yellow and orange
As vibrant in death as life
Ongoing beauty

Which is the real me? #Napowrimo2014 #bipolar #mentalhealth

Which is the real me
That I hope to find
Am I darkly depressed
With a bright creative mind
Or am I creatively sparked
And depressively inclined?

I tend to think I'm jet black
Depressive at my core
Fighting to find any light
But it's hard to be sure

Perhaps the white is really me
Creatively full of hope
Who sometimes finds the black dog
And in the darkness grope

I'm challenged to think differently
To try and live in grey
It's hard though when for forty years
I've lived a black and white way

The Grey is apparently normal
A place where I can be
Living without extremes
Just normally happy
It seems horribly boring but
I'll have to wait and see

The peacock and the hen #Napowrimo2014

The peacock is a show off
A bird which likes to strut
He preens himself in beauty
To attract a female hen .....but

The female of the species
Is plain and unassumed
She focuses on motherhood
Not on being plumed

Evolution's weird sometimes
The way it creates life
A strutting hands off daddy
With His ever doting wife

Don't shy away from death this Easter #napowrimo2014

"Tell the kids about Easter
About Jesus forgiving us all
But don't mention death on the cross
They don't need to know how we fall"

I disagree with this entirely
Kids need to know that He died
He was nailed to the cross as a criminal
And died as a man.  I won't lie.

"It'll scare them, give them a story
A simple one that they won't fear
We don't want to bring out reality
We're too scared of seeing a tear"

Don't fear, the kids they can hear it
They understand more than we think
I'll tell them the truth about life again
How He came back from the brink

Trust me, they will not tremble
It'll help them get death and life
The more we tell the children
The less they'll fear in strife


This is a craft we made on Good Friday with the kids. It starts with an egg shaped tissue paper base which they stick three crosses on.  It's then covered by another egg shape which gives Jesus' last words words on the cross "It is done" and opens to show that "He is risen".  The craft really interested the kids and allowed them to ask a lot of difficult questions about Jesus and death and heaven and Resurrection.

Splish splosh splash #napowrimo2014 #haven #littlesea

In the giant bath
The fun doesn't stop
Inflatable squish
It's a swimming rap

Dorset corset #napowrimo2014

The trouble with going to Dorset
Is the corset of possible routes
Everyone heading to the coast
Single carriageways don't compute
You know it's with the hassle
But the hours in the car are a pain
So you play a million twenty questions
And ask "are we there" again

Happy Easter 2014

Jesus Christ is Risen
His love conquered death
Happy Easter

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Down in the rock bottom dumps #napowrimo2014

What do I mean when I say I feel
Down in the rock bottom dumps?
Am I a bit blue?
A little off colour?
Perhaps fed up?
Or do I mean something more?
Well this time I meant a whole lot more
I meant a complete lack of desire to
And an overwhelming desire to
Sleep deeply
Sleep deeply forever
That's what it's like for me
Hopefully not for too long

She shouts so loud #Napowrimo2014

She shouts so loud
Doesn't care if it hurts
It's all about her

She isn't eight
More than old enough to know
Others feel as well

Leaves me on my knees
Pains me to the core AGAIN
It'll never change

So I must ignore
Try not take it to heart
But boy is it hard

And it hurts
As much as it ever did
It hurts

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

It's Oh So Quiet #napowrimo2014

It's oh so quiet
It's oh so still
But in my head
It's not peaceful at all .......

It never is
    not once
It's too busy
    all the time
Mostly great thoughts
    but sometimes
It gets stuck in a rut
    not good!

It's oh so loud
It's oh so sad
Here in my head
It's not peaceful at all .......

So I get some help
     with meds
I stay busy
     with friends
I wait it out
     what a wait
And hope soon it will pass
    I pray and pray!

It's oh so quiet
It's oh so still
But in my head
I'm praying I'm better soon .......


This is written to the tune of Bjork's "it's oh so quiet" using the initial two lines as inspiration.  Welcome to my world.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Daffodil Dilemmas #NaPoWriMo2014

Yellow joy mask
Daffodil dilemma
OK? You asked

OK? You asked
Daffodil dilemma
Orange fears last

Orange fears last
Daffodil dilemma
Withers too fast

Withers too fast
Daffodil dilemma
Now, then, past