Saturday, 28 May 2011

Happy Birthday Amnesty

Today, Amnesty International celebrates fifty years of standing up for human rights. We celebrate the thousands of political prisoners released. The lives spared as more countries have abolished the death penalty. The murderers and torturers brought to justice because of the International Criminal Court for which we campaigned. The letters written, petitions signed and people brought together across the world as one man’s idea grew into a global movement of three million people.
I strongly feel that this is an important charity that we, as Christians, should support. Jesus called us to 'love our neighbours' and what better sign of that love can there be than helping to make sure that their human rights are respected? I urge you, if you have not done so already, to find out more about the work of Amnesty International and join them in their campaigns, even if its only as little as sending a postcard once a year. 

I'm currently reading the book 'Secret Believers' by Brother Andrew and Al Janessen. This contains tales of abuse of human rights and a campaign to make sure that Christians are given a fair trial and are not abused whilst being held in custody. Please remember those who are persecuted for their faith around the world.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Phantastes by George MacDonald (A Book Review)

A tale that can be taken on many levels- from a simple fairytale to a thelogical expose. Despite the slightly archaic language, I was enchanted with this book. In fact, I liked it so much that its going to go on my bookshelf for a while so that I can explore it again in more depth another time.

Monday, 23 May 2011

The World is Not For Sale (A Review)

This book review has also been posted on 'The Story Factory Reading Zone'. It is posted here for information to those interested in such issues.

Written in the style of persuasive interviews, this book contains a wealth of information about the arguments against GM crops and intensive farming. The bias of this account is clear (we only really hear one side of the debate), however I believe that I still learnt a lot from it. It is well-written annd engaging, despite being translated from the French. An explanation of the principles of sustainable farming in the appendices act as a useful companion to the text. Worth a read if you're interested in such issues.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Messy Church: Big and Small

Every two months, on a Saturday morning, my church is host to a 'Messy Church'. Children and parents from the local community visit to experience crafts, games, cookery, music, and prayers related to a bible story- as well as hearing the bible story itself in an interactive way. After all this we eat a meal together. They seem to really enjoy it and we now have several families without church backgrounds who regularly come. I'm really pleased to be able to be a part of it all!

This time our theme was 'big and small', based around the story on David & Goliath. Activities included blowing big and small bubbles, using cotton buds to make 'stipple' pictures, stepping through a postcard, a treasure hunt for small things, giant jenga and mosaic making. I also left a bookcrossing book related to the topic which I'm hoping whoever found it will enjoy. After the 'service' there were hot dogs and triffle to enjoy.

If you live near Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England and have children in primary or secondary school do consider coming to our next meeting on Saturday 9th July at All Saints Church.

Is there a Messy Church near you? Is it the same as ours or are there differences? When (and where) is your next meeting?

Monday, 16 May 2011

Christian Resources Exhibition- Part Two

I was unable to see everything on my first visit, so I decided to make a return visit on the Thursday.

Again, there were a range of good seminars on. I decided to go to two:
  1. A session about how to construct worship using a range of different styles. We were taught how to create the correct mood using pictures, different focuses and musical devices such as adding a constant chord to the keyboard part. They also shared some different inclusion techniques such as getting the congregation to write their prayers on a clipboard that was passed round during the service.
  2. The other session I went to was about how to include boys in exploring their spirituality within the church family. The speaker talked about how boys can be reluctant to appear intelligent, good looking or kind because of a fear of being called names, and yet this is what we expect them to aim for. It is important to let them take risks and join in with rough and tumble, whilst remembering that not all boys are the same. 
I came back with a few more freebies including a pencil, yet another pen and one more book.

What style of worship is used in your church? How do you try to include boys in the church community?

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Christian Resources Exhibition- Part One

On Tuesday I visited the Christian Resources Exhibition. I was amazed by how large it was and how many things there were to see and buy.

I went to two seminar sessions- one on AV and another on Christian counselling.
The AV session was very useful. I learnt how different speakers and microphones affect sound, something which I was able to put into practise whilst singing this Sunday in church.
The session on Christian counselling was interesting. but didn't quite fit with my theological viewpoint. It did make me think, however.

It was surprising how many of the stalls were giving away freebies. Whilst some of them were just thrust my way and I had no idea what I was getting, quite a few of them were actually very useful. By the end of the day I had collected approximately 1 pen, a CD, 3 DVDs, 5 magazines and 2 books for free.

I've mentioned already how many things there were to buy. I ended up buying:

Books (you can read the details of these here)
Once Blind by Kay Marshall Strom
Q by Paul Nigro
Winterflight by Joseph Bayly
Crusade of Tears by C.D. Baker
No flowers.... just lots of joy by Fiona Castle with Jan Greenough
Behind the Sofa by Anthony Thacker

Children/Youth Resources
The Limerick Bible by Peter Wallis
5x Legends of Faith magazines
Top Tips on Reaching unchurched children by Helen Franklin
Top Tips on Prompting prayer by Sarah Bingham and Vicki Blyth
Ultimate Creative Prayer by Judith Merrel

At the end of the day, worn out for buying and then carrying around my purchases, I went to see a brilliant comedy sketch. It told the story of Exodus in one hour, complete with magic tricks, audience participation, funny songs and musical asides. It was hilarious and I'm very glad that I went.

Have you been to CRE? If so, do share your experiences.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


Welcome to my brand new blog- set aside for the thoughts and journeys I make during my Christian faith. Some of you may already have seen some of my faith-related posts on 'The Story Factory Reading Zone', along with some of the reviews of Christian books that I've read. Well, basically, I've decided that its about time that I gave these things I dedicated space of their own. I also hope to be able to add posts about some of the Christian events that I attend. Alongside this will be posts about some of the things that are inspired by my faith, such as environmental issues and information about some of the other causes that  support. I hope that you will join me in this journey.