Monday, 26 July 2010


Strange feeling today, when I would normally be looking at readings for next Sunday, to realise that I won't be leading Sunday worship again until 12 September! I probably won't even be attending church during that time.

At many levels, of course, I will miss it. Even though I am increasingly frustrated by traditional models of church, I do still feel that the church is where I belong. A couple of weeks ago, at an Inner Manchester Mission Network event, we reflected upon why we gather together for worship. The group I was in was dominated by clergy, and the overwhelming message was that worship was something which was intrinsic to who we were. It isn't something about which I have any control. I simply have to worship - because that's what I do. It is where I belong.

The question as to whether I enjoy worship is, therefore, a redundant one. Even if I hated church (which I frequently do!), I would still belong there.

So, even if I take a break for the summer - and let's face it, I am burned out at the moment - I will still be back because this strange, bruised and often bewildered little community in Openshaw is where I belong.

None of which should be interpreted as saying that what we actually do when we worship is unimportant. There is little in contemporary church practice which will attract the 96% of our population who never set foot in a church. Watching a programme like Rev, it is increasingly clear that the media - and therefore the population at large - have little idea of what the church is - or what it is for.

When September comes around, then, you should find the Scarecrow refreshed and able to dance with a lot more vigour.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Atora Suet and Robertson's Jam

So, Clare and Andy are at the Larmer Tree Festival with their children. Our girls are at grandma and grandad's plotting and scheming, and Joan is away.

So 'church' this morning was just David, Deborah and me. I did have a plan, but we just got chatting about the local area and how it is changing. Which led - naturally enough - to the fact that the Robertson's Jam factory has now been completely demolished (now there's a site for a new church building! Shame it's not actually in Openshaw). From there, we started wondering who owned what. Which led us to Duerr's - which is also a Manchester firm. Then David remembered a photograph of a bull cart, used to advertise the local suet firm.
And lo, and behold, it turns out that Atora Suet began life less than half a mile from our front door on Ogden Lane.

All of this over a cup of tea and an internet connected laptop - culminating in a prayer from Urban Expression's values booklet, focussing on our inter-connectedness. And we even persuaded David to stay for a jam butty - although the jam was Clare's homemade strawberry, which is, if I dare say so, much nicer than Robertson's!

You couldn't do that in a church of 500 members!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Imogen's Prayer

God’s Spirit

This prayer was written by Imogen who is 8 who, on hearing we were going to have a Eucharist meal the other Saturday evening, announced she had an idea for some words for Eucharist and disappeared to work on my laptop. We used the prayer that evening as the two families gathered to break bread, Imogen decided who would read what and broke bread and shared the wine with us at the end of the prayer.

I have reproduced it here virtually as it was written but have reduced the font size somewhat!

You can never escape

from God’s spirit.

You can never escape

from God’s spirit, in

the day or the night

You can never escape

From God’s spirit, in

the day or the night,

in the light or the dark.

You can never escape

from God’s spirit, in

the day or the night,

in the light or the dark.

in the noise and silence

in the city or the countryside.

When there is chaos God is there.

When there is happiness God is there.

God is there in space and on land .

God is there in the sea and in the air

You can not escape from God when you are running.

You not escape from God.