Posts Tagged ‘Anglican’

So I mentioned earlier this week that our attic is full for this coming academic year… And then I had a tweet from another vicar’s wife who doesn’t exactly have an attic, but does have a space for a Ministry Trainee at their church in St Bees. So I said I’d get the word out. Their location is totally different to ours – rural Cumbria (with seaside!), and there is a lot of work with a local school involved – it looks like a great post for the right person. Cliff, the vicar, wrote to me with some further and better particulars of the post, which might whet your appetite:

St Bees is an ancient church complete with a famous dead crusader and a legendary Irish princess, but with a desire today to bring the Gospel to our community. The vicar is Cliff Swartz, an American who with his wife Katie moved to England in 1997. They’ve lived and worked in Cambridge and East Yorkshire, and had some years back in the States for boarding school ministry in New England and parish ministry in Manhattan. Each time they’ve moved, God has blessed them with a child, which means five children over their seventeen years of married life. They are now never going to move again. Cliff’s wife Katie is the one who would really give all the wisdom to the trainee, but don’t tell the wardens.

Cliff is vicar of the Priory Church in St Bees, which is moving along from middle of the road gently declining Anglican village church, by introducing a ministry with a greater focus on teaching the Bible to all ages and in all settings, and so it is gently growing and reaching its community, by God’s grace. The parish has been excited to have its first ministry trainee this past year. He has been encouraged to stay for the optional second year. We hope to add a second ministry trainee, and would prefer a young woman, but the right person is more important. Twenty pupils went along to a Gloddaeth Holidays camp (glod.co.uk) this summer from St Bees School, and the youth work in the parish is getting off the ground, so there is lots to do in that area. We are small enough to craft an experience to meet the gifts of the trainee, and mix up work at the Priory Church, St Bees School and the North West Partnership which offers the weekly training course.

Housing and term time meals are provided in staff housing at St Bees School. A grant is made available for living expenses along with ministry expenses and training expenses paid by the church council. We are a small outfit, where a broad experience and a safe environment to learn and grow can be achieved. We live in a beautiful, but remote, place, and so insist on the participation of ministry trainees both in the North West Partnership scheme as well as the Living Room, which is the 20-something Christian group run with a church in partnership with us here. And you’ll be home for Christmas.

There is a proper advert that Cliff sent me but I can’t get it to load up, but you can download an application form from their church website or email him vicar [at] stbeespriory [dot] org. BytheSea came to us via this blog last year because the Children’s Worker at his church is a reader. Maybe you or someone you know might like to work with Cliff and Katie…

Ministry and the seaside, an enticing combination

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Since Rowan Williams stepped down this afternoon from the hardest job in the Church of England (or maybe not, parish life is just a microcosm of the Anglican Communion tbh), Twitter has been awash with suggestions of who will succeed him.

It was suggested that rather than the Crown Nominations Commission we could have a Bishops Got Talent show, with possible candidates competing for the post. This leads to the fun possibility of theme weeks:

  • Sermon week
  • Sitting through tedious civic occasions looking interested week
  • Dealing with the media week (including a round of ‘explaining the basics of the Christian faith to most reporters and especially sub-editors’)
  • Eyebrow styling week
  • Mitre modelling week

It also led to speculation about who could be on the panel. They must obviously conform to the required stereotypes of benign expert/stroppy upstart/foxy chick/joker. First suggestions (who do not necessarily have to be alive or real) include:

  • St John
  • Archdeacon Robert (from Rev)
  • Ellie (the Headteacher from Rev)
  • Adrian Plass.

I’d love to hear your ideas for possible rounds and those you have for alternative panel members.

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This summer our lodger Rocky is marrying Bee and leaving the delights of our chilly Victorian vicarage for theological college to train as a vicar himself. When he leaves a space will open up in our attic for another Ministry Trainee (or hopefully two). Our Ministry Trainees are involved with all aspects of church life, leading work with children and youth and small groups, they visit parishioners and have many many opportunities to exercise their gifts. They truly get to see ministry from the inside. If you think you (or anyone you know) might like to spend time living in our house, serving our community and learning about God, with the added incentive of plentiful cake and some lively children for company, do get in touch.

More details are on our church website.

Lovely living accommodation

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We had our Quinquennial last Wednesday. Oh the joys of being Anglican and living in the world of archdeacons, Septuagesima and antidisestablishmentarianism.  But thankfully a Quinquennial is not as complex as any of these: is just a five year anniversary. And it’s the shorthand for a five yearly inspection of church property. In this case it was of the Vicarage. It’s the diocese’s way of ensuring that essential maintenance is done on crumbling Vicarages at regular intervals.

So we had a visit from our excellent diocesan architect and he went round making a note of the broken door handles and peeling external paint. He gave us the good news of the four year double glazing programme to which have now been added. Meaning that we should get double glazing in about a year’s time. So we’ve another year of pretty iced window photos to come. And he admired our wood burning stoves and wrote a long list of works. These then have to be quoted against, go up to a diocesan committee and then get commissioned. My vicar’s wife friend, Snap, who lives in a different diocese, says her work, already identified, won’t be started on until September. The joys of ministry. But at least it’s in the pipeline.

Us soon! I hope.

As the architect left, a surveyor for the insulation company commissioned by WarmZone arrived. He went round our cold bits and has promised loft and cavity wall insulation before Easter. So although we’ll not have the double glazing, we should be properly insulated next winter. After our visit from Seema the other week, we were under the impression that we’d get this work done for a bargain £49.

But it seems things are turning out even better for us – npower are now funding the project completely for all payers of council tax in Sandwell. So if you live near me you can get this help for nothing. Gratis. Wonderful.

But not if you’re my friend Tink. She applied for help from WarmZone, but her private landlord has declined to have anything done. She tells me that although they offered the loft and cavity wall insulation for free, because they declined to provide a free boiler as well, her landlord decided not to have any work at all.

In the meantime, Tink continues to pay higher bills for energy than all her neighbours, living in council owned property in the same terrace. And there’s nothing she can do about it apart from continue to bid for a council house, just as she’s been doing for the last two years. Sometimes I have reason to be thankful for the Church of England.

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I was listening to Radio 4’s ‘The News Quiz’ on BBC iPlayer earlier this evening. As usual, it was laugh-out-loud funny, but I especially enjoyed a section about 12 minutes in. It was about the dear old Church of England and some of the activities of bishops in the run-up to Back to Church Sunday, especially the Bishop of Reading’s remark that Jesus would be more likely to shop at Aldi or Asda rather than Marks and Spencer.

Jeremy Hardy summed up the English experience of cultural Christianity quite well:

I was raised in the Church of England. I can’t say I’m lapsed. You can’t really lapse if you’re an Anglican. You don’t lose your faith, you just can’t remember where you left it.

Another panelist remarked:

He would shop at Aldi…. Jesus saves.

If you want to listen for yourself it will be available on iPlayer until Friday 2nd October.

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The Archbishop of Canterbury has one, so why not me, eh? I’m such an Anglican!

Actually, the Curate has chosen a book to read be read by members of our new church over Lent. And I’m going to read along too, although I probably won’t be able to make the evening meetings when they discuss the book and go deeper, as I’ll be babysitting at the Vicarage.

The book he’s chosen is one we looked at last year at our current church during Lent. It’s called ‘The Cross Centered Life’ by C J Mahaney, an American pastor (hence the -er spelling of centre).

The Cross Centered Life

The book has the great advantage of being very short (only seven chapters and about 70 pages) and is a very easy read. I’m going to dig out my copy now, and shall be reading a chapter or so a week over Lent. Lent begins the day after Pancake Day, Tuesday 24th February.

Why not get a copy yourself and join me in the Vicarage kitchen as I drink a mug of tea, eat some flapjack and think through what I’ve been reading? I’ll be blogging my progress.

Amazon are currently supplying it for £5.59. A bargain for some great encouragement to keep focused on the central truth of Christian faith. Better order it now, as Amazon say that it can take 1-3 weeks to deliver.

There’s also a terrific cd from Sovereign Grace music which goes with the book.

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