Friday, 21 October 2011

Reflections on Time and Music

I've read two posts this last week which have reflected in different ways on time using music as a pattern. One is from Glen in relation to spirituality; the other from Stephen Hough on pleasure: its delights and dangers. Because music takes place in time as well as taking time, and because by its very nature it's elusive and can't be freeze-framed, seized, captured, it provides a rich means of connecting with dimensions of life that are similarly elusive and hard to grasp.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Welcome to Rev Jeannie's Poetry Blog

I met Jeannie when I was a student assistant in a church in South London. And all these years later it's a delight to meet again as colleagues and friends. I was so pleased when Jeannie told me at the Baptist Order Convocation that she'd begun a blog. She's a deeply insightful human being who knows how to use words, as you'll see in the poem she read at the Eucharist in the Chapel and posted on Friday.  So do visit her at Rev Jeannie's Poetry Blog.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

CBA Ministers' Conference

One conference over and another one to go! The Ministers' Conference went really well. Jonathan Edwards and Kathryn Morgan were great. And Nick Spencer from Theos, who I hadn't heard before, was very impressive. Keith Judson and Tim helped us relax at the end of the day with some entertaining, thoughtful, sometimes humorous, sometimes bitter-sweet, songs.

There are many things that I could comment on which were nourishing. But a couple of things in particular that have stayed with me: Dan Foster's sax playing; and the privilege of praying and anointing with oil those who chose to come forward after Communion. It felt to me as though we were standing on holy ground.

I'm now at the Baptist Order Convocation, which is a huge contrast and already I'm feeling refreshed by the space, the pace, and the comparative silence.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

CBA Ministers' Conference

This week's a bit crazy! Before the Baptist Order Convocation, running from Wednesday to Friday, is the CBA Ministers' Conference from Monday to Wednesday!! This year the theme is 'Faith in the Market Place' and the speakers are Jonathan Edwards, General Secretary of the Baptist Union, Nick Spencer from the public theology think-tank, Theos, and Kathryn Morgan, Baptist Union Mission Advisor. We've got Keith Judson performing, with son Tim, at an after-hours session on Tuesday evening, and I'm preaching at the final communion. I'm looking forward to it and it promises to be another really good conference.

On Wednesday, straight after lunch, I'll leave King's Park, Northampton and catch my breath as I drive down the M1 to London Colney to begin the next event!  Come Friday I fully expect to have had a varied, rich and exhausting week!

Friday, 7 October 2011

First Baptist Order Convocation

From Wednesday to Friday of next week, 12-14 October, we will be holding the first Baptist Order Convocation.  

Well over two years ago, four of us, close friends for many years, found ourselves talking about the possibility of a Baptist Order. We invited another friend who had some more developed thinking to join the conversation. This took place in Oxford in October 2009 and we agreed to take things further. We each invited a friend on a similar journey to a 24 hour conversation, and also we asked someone to facilitate the gathering. On 11-12 March 2010  eleven of us met in Warminster and through a process of discernment produced The Dream, which has been something of a foundational document since. How this came about - from thoughts going in every direction to something quite coherent - had a touch of the awesome about it! 

We met again on several other occasions but hosted a further conversation in January of this year to which we invited those who we thought might be interested. And over 50 people travelled to Milton Keynes. As expected, many questions were raised in addition to those we were asking ourselves. We're still working through these and there is no hurry, but there was a real sense of affirmation and a desire to take things further.

At the heart of what we're doing is a commitment to prayer and attentiveness through a daily rhythm of prayer, spiritual accompaniment and retreat. And there's a commitment to gather, regularly in a cell, and annually as an Order. Acknowledging a debt of gratitude to communities like the Northumbria Community and the Franciscan Third Order, we're continuing to explore ways in which we acknowledge our belonging to the universal Church and yet express that which is distinctively Baptist. This is no small task but one that feels hugely worthwhile.

It seems as though we're on an adventure with that mixture of both excitement and apprehension. I have to say that I'm really looking forward to what could be a significant milestone on the journey.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Mobile phones going off in concerts

I really enjoyed this photo I saw on a bassoon-playing friend's Facebook!