Rooted and Grounded

Autumn colours and mists pervaded the park as we met this week.  We were really aware of the change in the season.

October 2014 autumn 024

As Wend had said she felt more connected with the earth by meeting outside I thought we should continue what we started discussing on Wednesday evening in Moca  – Ian Adams “Reconnecting with the Earth”

Ian Adams questions were:

  • How are you reconnecting with the earth and her creatures?

  • How might your mission venture reflect the need to love the earth and to learn from her?

I thought it might be useful to do a little exercise to focus our minds on what is of value in God’s Kingdom. We often miss the minute` and look at the bigger things.

Imagine you are the Creator of the Park – you have made it for your pleasure and to share with others. Look around your kingdom and ask yourself:

What is of value?

What are the resources at your disposal?

What is beautiful?

What would you change or remove?

What would you protect if it was threatened?

What did we say;

“Everything is beautiful here today. Soil, trees, flowers, river, birds, for us, for all, space, trees, river, views, leisure, all ages, reminder of seasons, trees for good air and branches for birds, people, space, beauty, water, soil, the river:- constant, but changing, flowing – life giving, God’s planned evolving and good place – for us to participate in – to take our place and to give thanks. I thought the resource of most value was the soil beneath our feet. All that we see around us, all that we need comes from such stuff. Most of what we see around us all that we are will eventually become this stuff. The earth is a living, renewing, dynamic mass acting as a massive recycling depot.”

Reading – Ephesians 3: 14 -17 (NIV)

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Looking at the trees that surround us imagine the roots growing and spreading under the soil – the love of Christ reaches deep into our being, but how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ for the rest of the earth and its creatures? As the Ephesians reading says this love “surpasses knowledge” – so who can say?October 2014 autumn 020

Share bread and wine 

For this bread, made from grain harvested from the good soil, we thank you.

For the Bread of Life broken for us, we thank you.


For this wine, made from sun ripened grapes, and nourished by the good soil, we thank you.

For the Wine of the Kingdom poured out for us, we thank you.


Blessing – Ephesians 3: 14 – 19 (The Message)

14-19 My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.




A pilgrimage, an apple and a hazlenut


This morning was based on a number of things buzzing around my head in recent times.

On Wednesday, Julie inspired us with images and stories and musings on her journey to Santiago de Compostella and I was left, particularly, with her words ‘My faith wasn’t fit for purpose’ and the quote from C S Lewis:

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Secondly, I have been carrying with me our excellent bandstand session last week, led by Fiona on apples! We had explored all sorts of things, not least the erroneous tradition that this had been the forbidden fruit and we had focussed in on the Fall of Adam and Eve. This had reminded me of a terrific book lent to me this summer called ‘The Preaching life’ by Barbara Brown Taylor. This has an inspirational first half contemplating what church is and does and is for and the second half is a collection of her sermons. The last of these is a reflection on the crisis experienced by Adam and Eve – and how we tend to deal with life when things fall apart. She outlines a Jewish legend about the pair, east of Eden, after the Fall. For me it is a poignant exposition on how we cope – or don’t – when things fall apart. It’s too long to write up here – but do look it up or get the book – can really recommend it!

The third reflection was upon our vulnerability as ThirdSpace – we are very small and as friends move on, we are left feeling very fragile. This is a perennial problem for us. Here, I thought back to the wonderful words of Julian of Norwich:

He showed me a little thing, the size of a hazelnut, in the palm of my hand, and it was as round as a ball. I looked at it with my mind’s eye and I thought, ‘What can this be?’  And the answer came, ‘It is all that is made.’  I marvelled that it could last, for I thought it might have crumbled to nothing, it was so small.  And the answer came into mind, ‘It lasts and ever shall because God loves it.’  And all things have being through the love of God.

In this little thing I saw three truths. The first is that God made it.  The second is that God loves it.  The third is that God keeps it.

What is he indeed that is maker and lover and keeper? I cannot find words to tell.  For until I am one with him I can never have true rest nor peace.  I can never know it until am held so close to him that there is nothing in between.


With these 3 themes we read and walked along the river and up through the trees to the clearing where a war memorial stands over Matlock. We prayed and reflected and meditated around these issues on the way, prayed our version of the Lord’s prayer and shared bread and wine, remembering that the God who came to be broken, promises wholeness one day and companionship while we are, as yet, east of Eden.

Our blessing – for one another, for those in our prayers and for all you who read this blog:

May the God who became broken heal us.

And may he who is Maker, Lover and Keeper, make his face to shine upon us and hold us, until there is nothing in between. Amen.




Keys to the Kingdom

To introduce the theme of the morning we started with a bit of a puzzle. We had to find a set of keys that were hidden in the park. They were hanging in the branches of a tree that we had once used as a Joshua Tree. Hilarity arose around a “spot the deliberate mistake in the clue”. I am not telling about that it is too embarrassing.

The clue

I    Joshua    was    what    you    is    branches    am    evergreen   and   in    my    seek    once

Hidden somewhere around the bandstand is a bunch of keys rearrange these words to make sense of the clue… 

The Keys

When we were in Provence we visited some very interesting cloisters next to the Cathedral at Aix en Provence. We were shown round this beautiful and tranquil place by a volunteer. Each column was decorated differently with the comment from our guide that no two columns could be decorated the same as nothing could represent the perfection of God.

20150918_154933One of the columns had a carving of Peter with the Keys of the Kingdom and it started me thinking about the keys of the kingdom and what it means. A perplexing question, interpretations vary widely on the internet from the evangelical interpretation that Jesus is the key to the kingdom and without him we cannot access the kingdom, a more popularist interpretation is that the keys were given to Peter to the Kingdom of Heaven so that he is in charge of who enters (through the pearly gates) and the Catholic interpretation that the Keys of the Kingdom were given to Peter as a symbol of authority and that apostolic authority has passed to the Catholic Church.

Philosophical question

What do you think are the Keys of the Kingdom?

Have we lost these keys?

Our thoughts on this subject were very interesting;

Jesus is saying because you understand who I am you’ll be able to lock out that which is not of God and unlock that which blocks the rule of God in this world.

You will have the tools to be involved in the coming of the Kingdom. This is true for all who realise who Jesus is.

The Keys to God’s Kingdom are love, forgiveness, peace and justice.

Jesus’ inspiration comes from the Old Testament prophets, so the Keys of the Kingdom could be, to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

Good News to the Poor i.e. God is on your side.

The Year of the Lord’s Favour (Jubilee) – fair shares for all.

Release and restoration.

Spiritual authority – Jesus was giving Peter the leadership of the group of disciples.

Revelation, separation, participation, authority.

It was interesting that our ideas fitted in well with the most helpful interpretations that I had come across. These were ideas put forward on the internet which took into consideration the cultural and historical understanding in Jesus’ time.

Peter is given the authority to bind and free when Jesus says he has the keys of the kingdom. This authority was something the Jews at the time would understand a Rabbi having. Was Jesus passing on the leadership of the disciples to Peter?

The other was from Jonny Baker’s website which talked about what the people of Jesus’ time would have understood as the Kingdom of God from the Old Testament.

  • Deliverance
  • Righteousness and Justice
  • Peace
  • Joy
  • God’s presence
  • Healing
  • Returning from Exile


Forgive us Lord when we are closed and locked up with negative acts, thoughts and emotions. Help us not to be imprisoned by fear, hatred, prejudice, unforgiveness, pride, greed, anger and selfishness, but open our hearts to the values of Your Kingdom.

Open our eyes to see Your Kingdom and help us to be an active part of it.

Open our ears to those who cry for help and justice.

 We prayed for refugees using the prayer from

We continued discussion about the Keys to the Kingdom on the way to coffee before our thoughts turned to more mundane things like the rugby world cup (ouch!), dogs (?) and hospitality plans for Wednesday.


This last Sunday at the bandstand it was a ‘bring and share’ – i.e. anyone could bring any contribution to our time together.

Wendy kicked off with the theme of pilgrimage, having been at Nevern in Pembrokeshire on the ancient pilgrimage route to St David’s, where there is a very old Celtic cross. With an eye to a new term / new academic year / new beginning, everyone was invited to reflect on their own pilgrimage (a journey to and with God). With an image of the cross at Nevern, we were all able to wander in the park with 3 questions regarding the coming year: What concerns me most? What do I yearn for? What am I called to? We also had the final words of St David to inspire us on: Be joyful. Keep the faith. Do the little things.

Celtic cross


Back in the bandstand we commissioned one another for the journey ahead by praying our own version of the Lord’s prayer (See previous entries!)


Barbara writes: I had been reading a novel by Tim Severin and noticed he had written a book called the Brendan Voyage – Across the Atlantic in a leather boat, this I thought I must investigate. St. Brendan has always held an interest for me ever since Michael Mitton likened those of us in Third Space to the early Celtic monks who set sails on their boats and went where God the Holy Spirit was blowing them.


I started reading this fascinating story which I felt was full of creativity, commitment, authenticity, design, research, hospitality and community, (very like Third Space really) and I have only got to the part where they launch the modern day curragh named Brendan in an endeavour to cross the Atlantic in a leather boat.  I am looking forward to reading the rest of the book which gives an account of the voyage.

Taking the symbol of The Cross of St. Brendan that I found reproduced in the photographs of the sails on the boat I asked people to draw a red Celtic Cross on a white background. Whilst colouring each of the four quarters of the circle as it intersected the cross I suggested people pray;

  • for their own journey with and to God,
  • the journey of those of us in Third Space,
  • the journey of family, friends and those we love,
  • for those refugees we hear about who are fleeing war and desperately trying to find a place of peace and sanctuary.


Fiona then led us in prayer for the refugees and asylum-seekers, so much in our thoughts, in a situation so troubling. The prayer can be found at We loved the tag ‘the-refugee-crisis-we-don’t-know-the-answer-but-we-know-we-have-to-pray.


Grayden wrote us a creed which we used to complete our worship along with sharing  bread and wine:

This is our community, this is our faith.

We are a community of faith. We share a vision of God: a God whose Spirit is love, accessible to all and yet beyond our knowing. We seek God in pray, through creation, and in the many stories which have been handed down to us:

Of God the Creator, who made everything that is, who is the source of all being, and the one who fills the cosmos.

Of Jesus of Nazareth, who lived among us, healed, taught, suffered and died, and how in the mystery of the resurrection Jesus continues to be present in the world. He shows us the Way, which is leading to the reconciliation of all things. It is the Way of love, compassion, justice, forgiveness and peace. 

Of the Spirit, the Breath of God, the Giver of Life, who inspires the people of God to cry out for justice for the powerless and oppressed, and to see the presence of God in every created thing.

We are followers of the Way shown by Jesus: to love God with our whole being; to love our neighbours as ourselves; to treat others as we would have them treat us; to strive for justice and peace; to have respect and compassion for every person and for the whole of creation. We journey together in the Way of Jesus towards the reconciliation of all things. 

We break bread together and drink wine together.  This is our community. This is our faith.

Travelling Light

Travelling Light

Because sometimes we
travel heavy
and those heady times we
can barely
imagine the freebody
movement of

Because sometimes we
travel dark
and from those hard paths we
can’t even
conjure an image of
or moonrise
or starlight
or fire.

Because sometimes we
travel solo
and those lonely times we
forget all the others
we’ve travelled with
travelled with

Because sometimes we
need to be
travelling lightly
because sometimes were in need of
regular reminding
that light comes in circles
and waves
and small moments

and light
comes to find us
and light comes with hope.

Pádraig Ó Tuama



We are creatures of comfort
we like to be safe and secure
to be surrounded by what we know
to be in control
we want our journeys mapped out for us
itinerary decided
tickets booked
time of arrival guaranteed
refreshments breaks at regular intervals
and a credit card for unforeseen circumstances

But Jesus said ‘follow me’ without saying where he was going
Just promising transformation along the way

the Israelites in the desert, rescued from slavery and oppression, were tired and homeless, hungry and thirsty, insecure and unsettled
and their minds went back to what they had known.
they yearned for the structure of predictable slavery
rather than the broken walls of unknown freedom
Liminal space is the pace of inbetweenness, of insecurity
it is uncertainty and chaos
it is a place of discomfort and unrest
this is the invitation of God
to move
from comfort to insecurity
from what we know to what we have yet to discover
from what we are good at to what we might fail at
from safety to a place of risk

On the journey of faith ,
Far I have come, far I must go.

words taken and adapted from: Grace – Pocket Liturgies.



The prayer station took inspiration from part of a blessing called
For the Traveller by John O’Donahue

When you travel,
A new silence
Goes with you,
And if you listen,
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say

A journey can become a sacred thing.

Make sure, before you go,
To take the time
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart from ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you towards
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life;
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.

May you travel in an awakened way,
Gathering wisely into your inner ground;

That you may not waste the invitations
Which wait along the way to transform you.


My friend who goes on cycling holidays manages to take all her luggage in a couple of cycling panniers. She says it takes careful planning and leaving behind the things that take up too much room and weigh you down. Bearing in mind the need for essentials like food and water there is little room for much else. When she sets off she has enough for her journey and nothing for just in case.
On the contrary many of us pack huge suitcases with far more than we need when we travel. These weigh us down and make travelling cumbersome and difficult. To make matters worse we often arrive back home with much of what we have carried unused.
Life is a journey and we sometimes carry things along with us that needlessly weigh us down;
• Experiences from the past that we cannot forget or let go of
• Worries of what the future might hold
• Relationships difficulties
• Planning for the just in case it happens
• Negative memories
• Embarrassing moments
• Unforgiveness
• Resentments
• Bitterness
• Regrets
Take a piece of paper from the table;
Write down anything you feel is weighing you down needlessly that you are carrying on your life’s journey. Be determined to try to leave it behind.
Screw it up and throw it in the bin – leaving it behind
Take a luggage label from the suitcase;
Write yourself a blessing for the “going forth in your life”. Take it away with you to remind yourself.





Ditty Box 1

The sailors ditty box contained both found and made objects which were associated with memories and past experiences. Recently contemporary artists have been using them as a space to explore ideas and themes.

“On the deck of a boat the sky is immense, the horizon uncluttered. The individual seems small and the ocean infinite. By contrast, below decks there is no private space, everything is commonly owned and occupied. For seamen it has always been thus, hence the need for a small token of one’s own individuality; one’s history, maintenance and hopes sealed within a hand-sized box.”
John Cumming


Ditty Box 2


Joseph Cornell (born 1903, died 1972) was an artist who was fascinated by fragments of objects. It is said that he was a navigator of the imagination who created shadow boxes which are “visual poems.”

Joseph Cornell was inspired by both the ideas which form in childhood and resonate with us throughout our lives and contemporary ideas in art and culture.

A metal spring from a discarded wind up clock could represent the passage of time and a ball could represent a planet. In this way boxed assemblages from found objects could “create poetry from commonplace objects.”

What objects would you like to put in your ditty box?
What memories and ideas would you like to represent?



Jesus says “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

When it rains…

We met in the bandstand on a wet morning and adapted our worship accordingly. On such days we have some alternative liturgy up our sleeves, “Refreshed by the rain” and we used this as a basis for our worship.


Refreshed by the rain


Lord God the source of all good things we pause in your presence and hold our day before you.  Still us, calm us, guide us as we enter this day

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer


Pause and use your senses to listen, smell, see how the park feels on a wet morning.


Leader – May Jesus the Son inspire you with new energies each day.

May you find his peace to give you rest each night.

May the rain symbolise the cleansing forgiveness of the Father

And the refreshment of the Holy Spirit pouring new strength into your being

So that today we may walk as Jesus through the world and carry the beauty of his



Walk outside and catch four raindrops and hold the water in the palm of your hand


Pray  (people or situations can be named silently or aloud)

For those in the Community of Third Space

For those in our families

For those who are troubled

For those who live in fear or conflict.

At this point the rain had stopped and so as individuals we followed a Payer Labyrinth as we walked around the park:

Prayer Labyrinth

Our prayer labyrinth is a path which leads us to focus on God.

Hurting world.

We live in a beautiful part of our hurting world. Do we sometimes regret the ways in which we have used our world and treated others?

Where have we brought hurt? When have we failed to do the right thing?

What are the things and the actions you find hard to leave behind as you approach God? Will you hold on to them or can you let them go?

Letting go.

Imagine that all your concerns and worries can be washed away by the rain.

Now imagine that God is washing them away with the rain.

Does it feel good to release them?


Do you not know?

Isaiah 40:

21 Do you not know?     Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning?     Have you not understood since the earth was founded? 22 The Lord sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,     and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,     and spreads them out like a tent to live in. 23 He brings princes to naught     and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. 24 No sooner are they planted,     no sooner are they sown,     no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither,     and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

25 “To whom will you compare me?     Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:     Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one     and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength,     not one of them is missing.

27 Why do you complain?     Why do you say, “My way is hidden from the Lord;     my cause is disregarded by my God”? 28 Do you not know?     Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God,     the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary,     and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary     and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary,     and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord     will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;     they will run and not grow weary,     they will walk and not be faint.


Look up and see the rain. Close your eyes, what have you learned about God?


You are Loved!

Look at your hands. Look at the pattern on them. Each is unique. You are unique.

There is no one like you.
 You are made in God’s image.
 You are loved by the Creator.

Ask God to show you the you that he sees.


Isaiah 43:1

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.”


We concluded our worship by sharing bread and wine:

Sharing bread and wine on a rainy day!

We take this bread made from the grain that grows up out of the good earth

And this wine made from grapes that flourish in the sun and the rain that you provide

We thank you for the gift of rain that waters the earth

And we celebrate the gift of life that you provide for us.

Here, we offer ourselves that we may become signs of your grace in our world.

Send your Spirit upon us

and upon this bread and this wine

that these gifts of creation

may show us your presence

in our world, in our neighbours, and in our lives. Amen.







The Selfie

Easy access to mobile phones and the internet has ushered in the age of The Selfie which requires us to take a picture of ourselves and post it on social media. There are differing perspectives on the value of recording our lives through Selfies.

Ai Wei Wei, the gifted dissident chinese artist is having a major retrospective at The Royal Academy in September and he is encouraging visitors to take selfies in order to get the message out there.



“While so often selfies are denounced as exercises in narcissism, I’ve always experienced them as experiments in solipsism. A Selfie suggests that no one else in the world sees you as you truly are, that no one can be trusted with the camera but you. In the digital age, the rise of selfies parallels the rise of memoir and autobiography. Controlling one’s image has gone from unspoken desire to unapologetic profession, with everyone from your best friend to your favourite celebrity labouring to control every word, every pixel of himself or herself that enters the world. Self-portraiture is one aspect of a larger project to manage our reputations.”
– Casey N. Cep, In Praise of Selfies

“To read, we need a certain kind of silence, an ability to filter out the noise. That seems increasingly elusive in our overworked society, where every buzz and rumour is instantly blocked and tweeted, and it is not contemplation we desire but an odd sort of distraction, distraction masquerading as being in the know. In such a landscape, knowledge can’t help but fall prey to illusion, albeit an illusion that is deeply seductive, with its promise that speed can lead us to more illumination, that it is more important to react than to think deeply, that something must be attached to every bit of time. Here, we have my reading problem in a nutshell, for books insist we take the opposite position, that we immerse and slow down.”
– David L. Ulin, The Lost Art of Reading

How do you feel about these selfies?


Aki Hoshide on the Space Station.


Ellen broke Twitter at the Oscars.


Recording the event for posterity.


Emily Letts during her abortion.


England, Denmark and the USA at Nelson Mandela’s funeral.


A dangerous selfie


Probably the first selfie: Robert Cornelius circa 1894

Sociologists ask us to consider the following before taking a selfie :
Content – what the photo shows.
Audience – who would want to see it?
Recency – how recently did I share another picture?
Convenience – how easy is it for me to share right now?

Perhaps we should turn the camera through 180° towards others and God?  We propose a re-appraisal of taking pictures of others so as to provide narrative, context and meaning in the story of their lives. Such pictures could be known as The Youie.  These are some of our attempts at The Youie:


Barbara shows her commitment to social justice and Fairtrade.


Wendy unlocking the truth and meaning of the scriptures.


Jon the well travelled Artist in the Commonwealth garden.


Steve’s pocket detail: slightly eccentric traveller to Nepal.

“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God created identity. Live generously and graciously towards others, the way God lives towards you.”
– Matthew 5:48

“Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theatre, but the God who made you won’t be applauding. When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure – ‘play actors’ I call them – treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it – quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out. And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All of these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat? Here’s what I want you to do: find a quiet secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and as honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.”
– Matthew 6:1-6

Our closing prayer:

May we be a people whose lives are directed towards You and who live generously and graciously towards others. May our lives be authentic and lived out in simplicity before you. May we recognise your grace towards us each day.




In the midst of life we are in death

We were all fooled this morning into thinking the sunshine would be warm, dressed in our summer togs we found a place out of the wind then we were able to celebrate meeting to worship God with stoicism.

Blue skies and sunshine

blue skies and sunshine

We opened our worship with something adapted from Jonny Baker:

God of justice, peace and righteousness come into our midst this morning
Breathe your breath,
your Spirit of prophecy,
your energy,
your enlivening,
your imagination on us.
Wake us up
Open our eyes
Unplug our ears
That we might hear
That we might see
That we might grieve
That we might dream
That we might follow the ways of your extraordinary kingdom

Ian Adams asked us a long time ago to come up with a elevator pitch – a phrase to explain what we are in the time it would take to go up in a lift for three floors. Out task this morning was to do just that or to come up with a strap line for a brief advert. Creative souls that we are we came up with the following:

Elevator Pitches and Strap lines

  • We are a group of people on a spiritual journey valuing ancient Christian traditions but open to new ways of expressing faith. We have left behind church culture, hierarchy and conformity. We embrace uncertainty and include and welcome all. Third Space does church differently!
  • We are a bunch of people who are a bit pissed off with ordinary church. And we meet to explore ways, new and old, of following Jesus and worshipping God. Words that might say something about us are: communally creative, flat hierarchy, wabi sabi, ancient wisdom, creative spirituality, Celtic connections, celebration.
  • Third Space is a group of open minded, friendly, caring people having fun and learning together as we try to follow Jesus.
  • Third Space: an open space, thin place, creative, authentic, fun community with Jesus at it’s centre.
  • Third Space, Soul Space, Breathing Space, Divine Space.
  • A celebration of life and a place of possibility.
  • Third Space, Church out in the open (and in the pub).
  • Elemental, Authentic Christian Spirituality.


Every family in Third Space has been touched by death recently – members of our family and friends. Death is something that we all struggle to deal with and yet it is the only thing in life that each one of us shares with everyone and everything on the planet. We considered the phrase “in the midst of life we are in death” and considered how in todays world death is very sanitised, but when the phrase was written in the book of Common Prayer ordinary people’s life expectance was in their thirties, disease was rife, public executions common and one in three children died before the age of ten. So death was very much more part of life than it is today. Somehow we have become removed from death and dying has become sanitised. It becomes a shock for us even though death is something we will all experience personally.

We spent some time in prayer for those we know who have been bereaved or who are facing death. We also prayed for areas of the world dealing with diseases like HIV and Ebola and those in fear of death from violence or war.

“That’s what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all – was put to death and then made alive – to bring us to God.”  1 Peter 3: 18 (Message)

We closed our time together in the bandstand by sharing bread and wine.

As always fellowship continued over coffee at Cool River Cool River special

Remembering Chris

Today was a hard gathering for ThirdSpace. Our dear friend Chris Greening died on Thursday after the most courageous battle with cancer. We stood beside the bandstand in the sunlight and heard the words from Psalm 100 (The Message)

Know this: God is God, and God, GOD.

He made us; we didn’t make him.

We’re his people, his well-tended sheep.

We used the following words  – adapted from something we had found and used two years ago when Tony died – apologies for not knowing now the original website that gave us our starting point then…

Today we stand in the tension of sadness and hope

We come to you Lord Jesus

We come to protest against all the horror of death and bereavement

We set our hope in you

We protest against the suffering Chris had to bear

We thank you that she is, at last, made whole

We protest against the distress that Pete and Jo and Susie and Chris’s family and closest friends have been going through for so long

We ask for your comfort, healing and hope

We affirm that we cannot and will not pretend that death is anything less than an affront to you, Bringer of life

We stand firm in the hope that you promise to make all things new

We give you thanks that you brought Chris to us – as a friend and as a friend of ThirdSpace

We ask that all who loved her will know your provision and peace

We thank you for her faith and courage that have inspired us

We ask that her faith will lead others to faith in their time of loss

We give you thanks for Chris and all that she meant to each of us

We look forward to being reunited with her in the renewed earth

Let us hold firmly to hope within us

The One who promised is faithful.


We concluded with the sharing of bread and wine, using our Companions liturgy – mindful of past times we had done this with Chris and connected with her as another of our resurrected saints…

Sunday 26th – the power of 3

sunshine and cherry blossom in the park

sunshine and cherry blossom in the park

I sometimes listen to Simon Mayo on the way home from work, and he has an item on his show called “Three Word Wednesday” (I think it happens on other days too) , where folks are invited to tweet or text in a summary or highlight of their day,  in 3 words. I really like it: it seems to give a window into people’s lives without dare I say…too much blethering (Scots term for talking too much). Increasingly,  I find in my spiritual journey I  need words to be stripped back – and I need space between the words. I confess I struggle with sermons of more than 10 minutes these days – of sermons within sermons…of prayers that are just yet more sermons disguised as prayers. Just too many words. This probably has more to do with my increasing years rather than anything spiritual, but hope springs eternal!

So today , we will try to sum up our week in 3 words – it will be a  way of sharing our lives as our wee community. We’ll also have a go at some meditation on scripture and bring to each other the 3 words that strike us/ stand out to us/ speak to us…who knows..maybe we’ll all get the same words!!! We’re looking at 1 John 3: 16-24.

Finally, we’ll look ahead to this comimg week and place 3 words down to sum up our prayer requests for those we know and those we don’t including our friends in Nepal who have been devastated by the earthquake.

20150426_101246                                                                      Our three words

so…what would your 3 words be?