Posts Tagged ‘Vicar’s apprentice’

Following up from watching lots of Handel’s Hallelujah chorus in the form of flash mob YouTube clips over the last couple of weeks, the Vicar nabbed a couple of Messiah clips to encourage folk in church this Sunday. Here is the one that’s not the Hallelujah Chorus – For Unto Us a Child is Born, set to kinetic typography, which helps you to meditate on the words as well as the marvellous music.

Happy Monday. Ours will be mainly spent phoning plumbers (frozen and burst pipes around the Vicarage) and sourcing extra warmth in the form of memory foam topper and electric blanket for Rocky the Vicar’s Apprentice, who has been so cold in the attic that his asthma has been playing up. He sees this as a part of his training for future ministry…

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One day earlier this week saw me strolling up to tow-un (you have to use the Black Country pronounciation, or it’s just not right) just before lunch. The Vicar had run out of printer paper. Both he & Happy needed some and they had others coming over for a meeting an hour later.

So, seeing the sunshine, I offered to head into Wilkinsons for their very cheap paper. Happy needed his paper to print out parts of his application form for a BAP. For those of you who are not up with all the Anglican jargon, a BAP is a Bishop’s Advisory Panel also often called a selection conference. None the wiser? Well, it’s a two day roasting interview where candidates for ordained ministry for the Church of England are put through their paces. Happy has one coming up in July and needs to get his forms in soon.

He has been away house-sitting for a few days in order to think through his forms and fill them out in peace. The Vicarage is not the best place to be if you want silence to work. Especially not on Sunday when local kids were availing themselves of the tap in our outside loo to fill up water pistols, bottles and buckets for a monster water fight that went on all afternoon on our street, accompanied by raucous squealing.  So Happy came over for this meeting, some lunch and to print out his forms. And for proofreading, which I love to do. I can usually spot a spelling or grammatical error at 50 paces. Although not always on the blog. Sorry.

We need it!

The forms are still a work in progress, but we’re very pleased to be supporting Happy through this process. God (and the CofE) willing, it will mean that Happy goes off to training in September. So we’re praying for someone equally servant hearted and easy-going to come and live with us and serve in our church next year. It’s a great way to explore if ordained ministry is for you, and our diocese are very supportive of the scheme. You can check out the ad on the Vicar’s blog.

If there’s anyone you know who might be interested (they don’t have to be considering ordination, just be keen to have a year or two in church ministry) do please refer them to us! I don’t promise to do their ironing, but they can have homemade cake on a very regular basis…

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Early in the morning a couple of weeks ago Happy, the Vicar’s Apprentice who is also our lodger and all round good thing, was using the computer. He was logged into his Hotmail account, then logged out to do something else.

When he tried to log back in again his password didn’t seem to work. When he went to the fogotten password option, the details he put in didn’t seem to work in order to get him back into his account.

Later Happy’s mobile phone, which hardly ever rings, started to light up like the M5/M6 junction on a Friday afternoon. It was family and friends telling him that they’d received an email, purporting to be from him and sent from his Hotmail account. The email claimed that Happy was stuck in Nigeria and needing funds to get home.

So Happy telephoned everyone he could remember was on his email contact list. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a copy of his email contacts list. He was also able to get put a plea in to Hotmail to change his password back – he contacted them at their Windows Live ID Validation page with his details.

On Saturday Hotmail restored the account to Happy. Since he was away on a conference, I dealt with things for him. From his inbox, I could see that most people had spotted this for a hoax. However, a few friends, who don’t speak English as a first language, were fooled by the panicked sounding email, and offered to help out.

As I read further, I realised that two of Happy’s friends had actually sent money. One was able to put the £50 she sent down to experience – Happy managed to speak to her. However, the second friend sent far more – all her grant money for living on her foreign exchange in fact.

I immediately emailed all Happy’s contacts and told them not to send any money. The girl who’d sent the most money was able to put a stop to the second money transfer she was making. The way in which the hoaxer had manipulated her kindness was awful to read.

When Happy spoke to her last week she thought she might be able to recover the money, but it’s been a stressful road for her.

Once I’d sent the email, we logged out of the account and were immediately locked out again and had to go through the same application to Windows Live in order to regain access, which didn’t happen until a few days after that. Very frustrating!

There are a couple of things that we learnt from this episode that I’d now advise any user of an on-line etherspace account to do:

  • Make a copy of your contacts list. Then if your account is hijacked and your friends asked to send money to Nigeria, you can open another email account and make them aware that it isn’t you!
  • If you are locked out and regain access, don’t log out again until you’ve changed all the password and access information. When we finally got back into the account a second time we saw that Happy’s birthdate and other details (including alternate email address) had been changed.

Happy has now closed his Hotmail account and working at overcoming his phobia about using email. It felt like a real invasion of his privacy – not just the scam, but also the way in which the hoaxer replied to normal emails (like the one about the hymns for the evening services) purporting to be him. The scammer even signed the emails off with Happy’s normal greetings.

I don’t have a copy of all the correspondence (it didn’t seem to copy from the Hotmail account when I forwarded it) but here’s the original email asking for the money:

To: “Happy ” <Happy@hotmail.co.uk>
Date: Thursday, 15 April, 2010, 10:06

How are you doing?hope all is well, I”m sorry that i didn’t inform you about my traveling to West Africa Nigeria concerning the welfare of the coming, 2010 FIFA World Cup that will be coming up in South Africa so am here in Nigeria now for an Urgent Seminar.I need a favour from you as soon as you receive this e-mail because i misplaced my wallet on my way to the hotel where my money is and other valuable things were kept, i will like you to assist me with a loan urgently. I will be needing the sum of 520 pounds to sort-out my hotel bills and get myself back home.I will appreciate whatever you can afford to help me with, i’ll pay you back as soon as i return. Kindly let me know if you can be of help? so that i can send you the details.
Your reply will be greatly appreciated

:* Happy

One friend of Happy’s said she knew it was a scam because he was claiming to be at a World Cup football event. She said she’d might have believed it if he’d been claiming to be at a world cake icing competition (Happy has a background in catering)!

I decided to post this today (it’s been sitting in my drafts file for a while) because someone I follow on Twitter just had their Hotmail account hijacked but managed to get back in pretty quickly. The Windows Live team took more than the promised 24hrs to get back with access details for Happy’s account because they are very busy just now. It could happen to you soon….

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