The start of Pilgrimage

Couldn’t believe how many braved the icy roads, pavements and cold to come last night to our first in the series of Pilgrimage.  What a good evening it was – lots to chew over in Brigid and Liam’s accounts from Lourdes which inspired and enticed.  A few of us find the idea of the process of journey appealling… perhaps one or two will actually ‘do’ Santiago de Compostela one day.

Of course we’re all going to Pembrokeshire in 4 weeks’ time and planning a pilgrimage day.   The idea of hardship and self-denial, so usually linked with pilgrimage, isn’t immediately obvious in our expectations of our time together, but the weather may add something to make it all rather more authentic!

We ended our evening returning to our beloved Celtic Evening Liturgy from the Northumbria Community, remembering that we are on a pilgrimage together already.  It felt good to name and include those not with us, those known to us who are struggling and, not least, Tony in his present demanding journey.

It’s SO good to be journeying together AND there’s room for more to join us!

Snow at the bandstand!

DSC00193Well we’ve done all weathers now – and lived to tell the tale despite it being -5 degrees and no-one to blame for not turning the heating on!  It was beautiful, particularly when the sun came out and it was good to reflect, light our four candles (or was that  fork handles?) and pray for the world, our local community and our dear friends who are struggling with their very own time of anxious waiting.  Steve wrote something for our sharing of bread and wine, particularly focussing on the word ‘companion’ which literally means ‘with bread’.  Here it is:


Those we share bread with are our companions along the Way – our “with breaders!” As we break and share bread together we do so as companions.

In our sharing bread today we include in companionship:

ALL: The fallen, broken, yearning, pregnant Creation.

In our sharing bread today we include in companionship:

ALL: The saints alive and the saints resurrected.

In our sharing of bread today we include in companionship:

ALL: The poor, marginalised and rejected of this world.

In our sharing of bread today we include in companionship:

ALL: Those known to us and those not known, who need Jesus now.

In our sharing of bread today we include in companionship:

ALL: Tony and Francis and Charlotte.

In our sharing of bread today we include in companionship:

ALL: Jesus, our incarnated, broken and risen Lord. AMEN!


Wine is for sorrow and for joy, for suffering and for celebration, for forgiveness and for New Relationship.

ALL: We drink until Christ returns. AMEN!


And so we pray:

ALL:  Send us out to wait and to work for the Kingdom. Make us people of hope , fanning the flames of redemption and resurrection in the world. AMEN!


All looking forward to Christmas morning in the park at 9:15 am. 

Join us?

Minus five but praising!

Minus five but praising!

God in a box?

Had this sent to me by our friend Christine who’d been to a Taize service at Portsmouth Cathedral this weekend – What do you think?

“It’s not all over, this birthing,

there are always newer skies into which God can throw stars.

When we begin to think that we can predict the Advent of God,

that we can box the Christ in a stable at Bethlehem,

that’s just the time that God will be born in a place we can’t imagine and won’t believe.

Those who wait for God watch with their heart and not their eyes,

Listening, always listening, for angel words.”

Can’t help but be excited at the thought of God being born in a place we can’t imagine… a bandstand in a park maybe?


The incarnation – not plan B

Tonight in the pub,  Wendy led us through thought provoking stuff on the coming of Christ. For some of us, our  answer to the question, “Why did Jesus come to earth?’  defaults to the centrality of the sacrifice and atonement of Jesus on the cross so that we can be right with God and spend eternity with Him.  We talked about a theology that can promote a dualistic view of heaven and earth where christians will leave this sinful fallen world and float away (upwards??) to heaven and eternal bliss (it didn’t really appeal to many of us). Was this a biblical view?

Perhaps, just perhaps, we’ve been missing something.

So, in the coming weeks, we’ll be continuing to  ask ourselves:  What does it mean to live incarnationally? What if we had not messed up, would Christ still have become one of us? Was His coming, plan A or plan B? And we’ll be thinking on this;

“And the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (Jn1:14)

Jesus, Word of God, we are eternally destined to be bound in this created world

-in this network of flesh.

As the incarnate Word and Risen Lord, you are always inviting us to union with you:

“Listen, I am standing at the door, knocking. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you and you with me.” (Rev 3:20)

“Yes, Lord Jesus” we respond. “Come in. stay with us always.”


Celebratory meal 4/11/09

What a great time we had!  3 new jobs and 1 significant birthday!  Before the meal we took a moment to give thanks for all our blessings – and our liturgy included applause for those celebrating jobs and birthday.  Bread and wine featured as usual between courses – all contributed to an excellent Indian meal and Kitty’s chocolate muffins with a white chocolate and cream cheese icing, washed down with vintage Cava was a great end to a fun evening.  Most memorable conversation – the escapades of Cand F in Paris – unforgetable!

All Saints Day at the bandstand

Our first meeting in torrential rain!

Our first meeting in torrential rain!

The cross suurrounded by leaves, representing the saints

The cross suurrounded by leaves, representing the saints

Well we knew the day would come… torrential rain in the park!

Nevertheless, with no-one to blame for the lack of church heating, we pressed on – and had a GOOD time.  Steve began with words from Hebrews 12, reminding us of the great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, urging us on in our journey.  He then spoke of the fallen leaves around us, which though fallen, remain part of the fabric of our world.  They reminded us of the saints who have gone before us, and who remain part of our spiritual fabric inasmuch as we allow ourselves to be inspired and taught by them.

We went on to name and remember the contribution of a number of saints – those recognised by the church and those looked to as role-models and inspirational christians – both well-known and known personally to us.  We picked up the leaves and let the wind take them as we named those to whom we were particularly grateful.  It felt good to share that holy space with such wonderful people with whom we share the gospel commission.

We ended with the sharing of bread and wine – using Paul’s words from two weeks ago and especially thinking of the significance of the communion of saints.

From there to Costa coffee to dry out and warm up!  We had a keen debate about the issue of our kids celebrating Halloween – or not – and whether there is any sense of the trivialisation of evil – or whether its all harmless fun these days.  Let us know what you think!

And if you’re debating whether you’d like to join us one Sunday – the weather can’t be worse than today’s and it was OK!

Advent 1 – bring it on

We begin a new 6 week series of study, discussion and contemplation on Advent. Tonight, 28th October, we meet at the pub to kick off the series. Steve has prepared the following questions ( and essay titles!) –  so  take a look before we meet if you have a chance.

If you knew what the future held for you, what would you do? How does this future hope affect you now?

Memento Mori can depress and demotivate but our hope should inspire and enliven. Does it?

We live in in-between times. This is the now but not yet. what are the issues with living here?

Corpus Christi College

Philosophy Essay Competition, 2009 – 2010

Can an effect temporally precede its cause? If so, how? If not, why not?

What kind of bread and wine?

P. wrote this for our time together in the park on the 18th

“Like our personal bibles, breaking bread and wine is also multi-faceted .

It will have a different resonance for each of us here today.

A different resonance for each of us personally from one week to the next. A different resonance for the group on different occasions as the months pass.

What do we remember?

We remember we are created by God, in His image.

We look inside ourselves and see that that image has been tarnished. there is much that is not good, much that is selfish, much that is not God’s best for us or the people we journey alongside.

We understand that Jesus came to show us a better way, to take our failings upon himself on the cross and, in glorious victory over death, give us power to change we are for the better.

and we remember that all over the world, others are doing this same thing, for the same reasons.

So for you today, this may be the bread and wine of wonderful, fatherly creation.

It may be the bread and wine of shortcomings and failures.

it may be the bread and wine of suffering, of costly payment.

It may be the bread and wine of upsurging, torrential resurrection, cleansing and change.

or it may be the bread and wine of world-wide communion.

This is the bread of Christ, the bread of Community, the bread of Justice, the bread of Celebration, the bread of Service the bread of Journey and the bread of Integration

This is the wine of Christ, the wine of Community, the wine of Justice, the wine of Celebration, the wine  of Service the wine of Journey and the wine of Integration”

this sunday 18th Oct

Current Reading - The God You Already know

Something I read from “The God you Already Know” by Henry Morgan and Roy Gregory  will be the prompt  for our time together in the park this Sunday morning. Some food for thought before we get together:

The authors say

” I believe that in addition to ‘The Bible’ we each have access to our own ‘Personal Bible’ – the ways that God has ‘spoken’ to us through our lives. Note down the ways God has spoken to you at some point in your life. Only include what lies within your experience. When your list is finished (it will never be really complete, but you can always add to it), next to each category note down a specific example and next to that if you can recall it, write what it was you felt God was saying to you through it – find a word ,phrase or short sentence that catches the meaning.  I would guess that if you put all these words, phrases andsentences on one sheet of paper, there will be a consistent message. They will give you a sense of who this God is who has been addressing you.”

So, on Sunday, we will think on the One who is behind the message….come along 9.30am at the Bandstand,