Monday, December 29, 2008

Video for NCYC09

Just to avoid doing more prep work right now I thought I'd post one of the audio-visuals I've prepared for Bible Study at NCYC09 in Melbourne... way too much to do, way too little time!!

It's for "Ugly" theme day as an open ended intro about us 'getting ugly' in response to who Jesus spent time with and who we are called to be and what we're called to build... the world lived according to the values of God!!

video

Friday, December 19, 2008

"No Line on the Horizon" U2


OK so I couldn't resist after all....
The reports are that you could get your hands on new U2 on 2nd March 2009.
"I'll believe it when I see it" but some new tracks, songs that didn't make it for "Atomic Bomb" and a re-energise group working with Daniel Lanois, Brian Eno and Steve Lillywhite [The Captain] promises at least some interesting moments ahead of Easter if it all comes to pass!!
See u2.com for details of course.

"Valkyrie" rated tbc at Openair Cinema Sydney







After some internet drama I was able to book the annual sojourn to the Openair at 'Mrs Macquarie's Chair' in Sydney. We've been going along once or twice each season since it began in 1997. It's a brilliant night out with certain quirky features:
  • It's a temporary grandstand with tiered seating of locked together sebel plastic chairs where the screen is on two pylons in the harbour and the hydraulics haul it into place at 8.15pm for a series of arty adverts [one year even an actual boat on the water featured alongside an ad]
  • You must pre-book and arrive before 6pm [it wasn't always so popular but since St George took over from Phillips as major sponsor and as word got around you now have to have a system to get your dinner table and the best seats]
  • Watch as various punters: get in the wrong queue, try to sneak in to the shortest line, attempt to sneak in bottles of wine, entertain those nearby with stories of rich relatives, their season tickets at the STC, anecdotes from the last 11 years of lining up, or repeatedly need to phone their slack friends who've let them line up for 2 hours only to arrive just as 'gates open'
  • One of us heads straight for the seat markers and the less well known left stairs with free Lindt chocolate in hand, the other charges up to the dinner tables to reserve a space where there's not enough for all despite a recent expansion
  • We choose to sit in the centre on an aisle with the crossover aisle right behind us so when we lean back it isn't into someone elses lap or dinner
  • With seat markers in place we choose bangers and mash, thai beef noodles or fish n chips from Belinda Franks caterers by tagging at the long tables and then proceed to eat as slowly as possible, adding coffee and drinks so as to divert the seagullers trying to guilt you into giving up your table
  • Only when absolutely necessary we move to our seats with extra softdrinks stowed, newspapers and magazines aplenty and take one more photo of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge in the background
  • Rain ponchos are distributed on the rare occasion rain is possible [needed twice in eleven years]
  • Choose a movie under 2 hours or thereabouts if possible because of the seats

  • Having parked across from the entrance by circling the headland we are well placed at movie end to retry the side stairs, hustle up the hill and getaway quickly with a stop in 20-30mins for a softdrink or snack proior to the 2 hour drive home!!

  • "One year" we say "we must try out the Moonlight Cinema at Centennial Park where you take your own deckchair."
For 2009 we managed to secure tix for "Valkyrie" the reason for Tom Cruise spooky Beatlesesque hair cut 18 months ago. It's based on the story of the attempt by insiders to kill Adolf Hitler and the names besides Cruise give me some cause to think it'll be a good film.
Click the title or go here to check it out http://valkyrie.unitedartists.com/

Happy Christmas from Pumphouse via U2


While heavily into preparations as part of my team who are leading a 'surfing level' Bible Study at the upcoming NCYC09 in Melbourne!! I pause for an early 'HAPPY CHRISTMAS' to my two or three readers out there!! With the help of U2 [I will say nothing about their 'it's like nothing else we've ever recorded' line or the slated release dates for their new album or indeed the video recording in London]

U2's cover of Greg Lake's 'I Believe in Father Christmas' is among cuts from The Killers, John Legend, Jay-Z and Coldplay on (RED)WIRE, a groundbreaking new digital magazine service supporting the fight against global poverty. Check out RED WIRE!

video

GetUp on Climate Change



The activist network 'GetUp' has put together a funny TV spot making the point that with the Rudd government measly 5% carbon reduction target they've released a policy not too dissimilar to one that John Howard might have been dragged kicking and screaming towards.
While they've 'wedged' Malcolm Turnbull they've fallen way short of their own Garnuat Report and rhetoric.
GetUp are previewing the spot here and asking for donations to get it on air during the Aussie Boxing Day cricket Test in Melbourne telecast by the Nine Network.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Don Bradman's 1948 Australian Cricket 'Baggy Green' Cap


A piece of history is up for auction today... if only I had a lazy few hundred thousand dollars!


For the non cricket mad readers... in the game of cricket there is no greater player than 'The Don'... playing both sides of World War 2. and bringing people to the grounds when news spread that he was batting. He had no peer in his ability to make big scores at all levels of the game and led to specific tactics being developed by English Captain Douglas Jardine and enacted in the so called 'bodyline' series in the 1930's.

In a sport where a batsmen's average either side of 50 runs per innings is a fair achievement and special players average 60, Bradman averaged 99.94. Part of the legend is of course that he needed only four runs in his final innings to average 100 but was dismissed for zero [a duck].


The 1948 Australian team swept all before them and were undefeated on an extended Tour and in some 31 first class cricket matches including 4-0 with one draw in the Test Match series v England, becaming known as the 'Invincibles.'

This is the Don's 1948 cap and is up for auction in Melbourne later today!!.

Some of the notable touring party members are:

Like any person the legend is larger than life with the occasional story about a catholic/protestant split in the team, Bradman's clash with officials over a newspaper job and later as an administrator.
Former Australian Captain Ian Chappell dared to criticise Bradman for resisting the players attempts to gain greater financial reward from playing the game. Chappell said he thought Bradman would have been more understanding as a former player, that he felt he was treated like a child and as though the money was coming out of Bradman's own wallet!!
I think he mostly likes to be seen as the only one game to speak out more than seeing the issue or the accurate history as being important!! He continues to make media comment in favour of those 'on his team' as measured by ability to down a beer or twelve while there's no doubt he was also an inspiring and successful Aussie skipper.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Row 'M' Seat 30 "Seven Pounds"

video
"It is within my power to drastically change his cirumstances, but I don't want to give that man a gift he doesn't deserve."

Angela 'scoop' Bishop's entertainment wrap for TEN this morning on TV included a sneak peak at Will Smith's new movie due here in Oz in January!!
"Seven Pounds" Ben (Will Smith) is an IRS agent who is deeply depressed and guilt-ridden over mistakes from his past. He sets out in his job to help seven strangers. When he meets Emily (Rosario Dawson), a beautiful woman with a heart condition, he falls in love with her, thereby complicating his plans. Woody Harrelson also appears as a blind pianist who befriends Ben.
It's from the makers of 'Pursuit of Happyness' so it's probably more than the marketing that's a similar feel to that film!!

Other cinema to look for now/2009:
'Frost/Nixon' December
'Valkyrie' January [the reason for that Tom Cruise hairstyle]
'Star Trek' May
'Terminator Salvation' with Christian Bale as John Connor
'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen' June
'Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince' July [should have been November 2008]
'The Seventh Python' July
'GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra' August
'Dirt Music' based on Tim Winton's novel September

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Worship Unplugged # 55 Prayer Hands




Here's one idea I didn't get to do at the recent Advent Retreat! It was inspired by one photo from the 'We're Not Afraid' website that began in response to the 2005 London bombings.


It involves inviting everyone to write a prayer or response on the palm of their hand with a permanent marker and taking photos of each hand. Poison ball activist and U2 doppleganger Bradon tells me they walked the proverbial tightrope recently at North Rocks by doing this all on one evening... you see you take the photos and plug them into Photostory with a sound track and you have an instant audio-visual for prayer, reflection or sending out!!


The North Rocks mob were asked 'what can you offer?' It could be a response to any challenge or invitation, prayers of the people, a commitment, 'one' word...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Did Coldplay copy Joe Satriani?


No coincidence that media outlets have news of Joe Satriani's lawsuit against Coldplay just as they grab seven Grammy nominations!! This youtube video demonstrates the similarity but like many other similar cases there are probably two likelihoods:
1. There are actually only a limited number of chords so eventually similar songs emerge
2. An 'out of court settlement' before Coldplay's tour

Check it out for yourself!!

Friday, December 05, 2008

'Woman at the Well' Advent Retreat



Last weekend I was able to contribute input to our tertiary students 'Advent Retreat' which focused on 'Practicing our Faith'. On Saturday I was talking about 'stories' and one such story was the 'Woman at the Well' using a pretty good modern daramatised first person drama posted on youtube by 'lalaland481'!!

I am posting it here so collaborators on our NCYC Bible Study in January can see the kind of thing we might want to get people to do on video ahead of time of 'live' in the space.

More on the Retreat input soon!!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Life Ahead CD in aid of 'The Buttery' Rehab Centre


The current Rolling Stone has an advert and article explaining this great collection of B sides and rarities from some of Oz best rock and rollers and beyond!!

Grab a copy of the double CD here

Monday, December 01, 2008

Unreliable Idea: 'Previously'


I went to the bookshop for another title but picked up a copy of 'Previously' which I and other are still working on for a few different uses the story immediately suggests!
Each little story picks up a well known fairy tale character e.g. Jack who was puffing from having climbed down a beanstalk... Previously he had.... and then as it goes back over his story it links to the next one and so on...
At the weekend I used it at a Tertiary Students Advent Retreat inviting them at the end of a long year to write a 'Previously...' about where they were coming from to be in that space and then be able to be 'in' the moment on the weekend at hand...

I'm sure it wouldn't work everywhere with every group but it went OK this time around...
It would work in a different way with: kids; in resource ministry training, in Intentional Interim Ministry or short term roles helping people unpack the past... check it at your local bookshop before you buy!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Prayer Booth


This mornings bacon and eggs TV included a quick item about Dylan Mortimer [an artist] from Kansas City who tries to create works and installations which encourage discussion about the usually unpopular topics of faith, belief, prayer etc...

His latest project was part of an 'Arts in the Parks' Festival in Midtown Manhattan where he installed a 'Prayer Booth' not unlike a local payphone in appearance except for the lack of coin slot and the addition of a kneeler if required!!

Interesting art installation which has attracted world media attention!

Worship Unplugged #54 World map and Textas




I have written previously about the 'prayers for others' idea of inviting people to place a tealight candle on the map while being inspired by an audiovisual with images from news that week and beyond!


I was thinking about simpler and different alternatives so I suggest using permanent markers to invite people to write a word, symbol etc on the map... in sharing the idea my NCYC Bible Study collaborators noted that you could still re-use it in the future and I wondered about working your way through the colours from lighter to darker... then we thought about laminated maps with whiteboard or temporary overhead transparency markers...




What about a large callico map and washable markers!!

Worship Unplugged #53 The Rythm of the Song

Called on to lead a reflective worship at this week's Uniting Church NSW/ACT Synod Inservice Conference for Workers in Ministry with Children, Youth, Young Adults and/or Families [called 'NEXT BIG THING']... colleague Bra[y]don harked back to some work from Nooma's Rob Bell in describing God as being like a song, a tune, a rythm and about aligning ourselves with that rythm [or not].
Bradon introduced the background to a song and invited us [as we listened to the track] to try to write the song within us... a little unsure how it would go.... it was brilliant!!
Or is that just a comment out of my recent experience as a muscially challenged person in writing some lyrics for friends to put tunes to and being used to the challenge...

If I can find my post it notes in the packing I have the beginnings of my third communal singing song... it was inspirational!!
I'm making it Worship Unplugged idea #53

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Unearthed Event

I'm contributing some simple elements to a worship kick off for this event being championed by Naomi Nash and our UCA ELM Centre which is aimed at cracking open theology and stuff for young adults!!
The first is an opening, adoration, thanks and confession [owning up to our shortfalls] which will be accompanied by a spoken intro and the second will include an invitation to light a tealight and place it on a world map 'somewhere needing the light of Christ.'

video

video

They were both made with Photo Story 3 that saves powerpoint like animations as windows media files so they can be used alone or pasted into a longer powerpoint with other elements.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

101 Things I Wish I'd Known


Recently in the Riverina we put together a workshop around '101 Things I Wish I'd Known About Ministry with Young People When I Started.' The truth of that is most learnings only come through experience and I wouldn't trade most learnings for some artificial 'downloading' of the wisdom... but part of learning it is sharing and helping others reflect on their ministry and relationships!!
I made it into the 70's on the list and will see how we go sharing some here [or in batches]:

1. THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS IN MINISTRY WITH YOUNG PEOPLE
2. YOUTH MINISTRY IS ALWAYS RELATIONAL> INCARNATIONAL
3. WE NEED TO BE AT MISSION OR ‘SENT’ TO ENGAGE OUR CONTEXT
4. YOUTH ARE PARTICIPANTS IN GOD’S MISSION> NOT TARGETS
5. THE GOSPEL REQUIRES ‘TRANSLATION’ INTO THE CONTEXT
6. INTUITION TELLS US WE’RE DOING SOMETHING THAT’S NOT RIGHT
7. WE NEED TO BREAK THE CYCLE OF PEOPLE TEACHING FAITH AND PRACTISING FAITH AS THE PREVIOUS GENERATION HAS
8. COMMUNICATE... COMMUNICATE... COMMUNICATE...
9. FLEXIBILITY COMES FROM PREPARATION
10. GROUPS FORM> STORM> NORM and have a 'personality'
11. ALMOST EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LEADERSHIP CAN BE LEARNT FROM SMALL GROUP LEADERSHIP TRAINING
12. NO RESOURCE CAN BE USED WITHOUT SOME MODIFICATION
13. KNOW THE STAKEHOLDERS EXPECTATIONS
14. PEOPLE DON’T MEAN IT WHEN THEY SAY THEY WANT QUALITY PROGRAM/S OR MISSION AND NOT NUMBERS
15. "IT’S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE"
16. AT SOME POINT EVERYONE FEELS LIKE THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING 17. IT IS ONLY SOMETIMES EASIER TO SEEK FORGIVENESS RATHER THAN ASK PERMISSION
18. NOBODY RSVPs FOR ANYTHING ANYMORE
19. GIVE IT A GO… MAYBE YOUR IDEA ISN’T STUPID!
20. NETWORKING WITH OTHER LEADERS IS VALUABLE
21. READ NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES
22. BE HONEST
23. DON’T PRETEND TO LIKE MUSIC, FASHION,ACTIVITIES YOU DON’T… YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE SOPHISTICATED ‘CRAP DETECTORS’
24. YOUNG PEOPLE ARE AMAZING
25. TAKE TIME OUT TO ‘SHARPEN THE SAW’ [to have your own recreation]
26. GROW OWNERSHIP BY INVOLVING YOUNG PEOPLE IN PROGRAM PLANNING
27. GROW CAPACITY BY INVOLVING YOUNG PEOPLE IN LEADERSHIP
28. BUILD ASSETS FOR RESILIENCE
29. CHURCH COUNCILS AND MINISTERS DON’T LIKE SURPRISES
30. YOU DON’T HAVE IT ALL FIGURED OUT… NOBODY DOES
31. IT’S NOT ABOUT BEING EVERY YOUNG PERSONS BEST FRIEND
32. YOUNG PEOPLE’S ISSUES ARE SERIOUS FOR THEM
33. PARENTS ARE NOT THE ENEMY
34. YOUR BEST SOURCE OF HELPERS AND OTHER LEADERS ARE THOSE MOST ABLE TO SEE THE MISSIONAL VALUE OF WHAT YOU’RE DOING
35. YOU ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO THE CHURCH COUNCIL> MINISTER
36. NOT EVERY PLANNED ACTIVITY HAS TO HAPPEN
37. SAFETY IS AN ISSUE
38. ENGAGE YOUNG PEOPLE IN GROUP DEALS OR COVENANTS WHEN IT COMES TO RULES
39. EXPRESS RULES IN THE POSITIVE
40. YOUTH MINISTRY IS ALWAYS A CHALLENGE
41. YOUTH MINISTRY IS ALWAYS CHANGING
42. LOOK AFTER YOUR OWN SPIRITUALITY & FAITH IN YOUR RYTHMN
43. IT’S EASY TO ‘LOVE’ AND BEFRIEND THE ‘COOL’ BUT HARDER WITH THE AWKWARD, WEIRD, AND DIFFICULT
44. YOUNG PEOPLE CAN HANDLE BIBLICAL STORIES AND EXPLORATION
45. MUSIC IS A TASTE SENSITIVE RESOURCE
46. MOVIES ARE MORE NEUTRAL
47. STORIES ARE POWERFUL FOR AT LEAST [4] REASONS
They cross boundaries [time, culture, language]
We seem wired for narrative
Stories create identity [what we accept, take on, reject etc]
Stories create community [ones we gather around]
48. BE A GIVER OF ‘HOPE’ the gospel is 'good news'
49. CREATIVITY IS IMPORTANT
50. CONTACT ALL> CONNECT MANY > CARE for A FEW> CHALLENGE 1 OR 2
51. ACTIVELY LISTEN> ASK QUESTIONS
52. THERE IS MORE THAN ONE MODEL OF YOUTH MINISTRY
53. KEEP PARENTS/FAMILIES INFORMED THROUGH PUBLICITY/INFO SHEETS
54. YOUTH MINISTRY MUST BECOME A SHARED MINISTRY OF THE WHOLE CHURCH
55. MOVE TOWARDS COMPREHENSIVE YOUTH MINISTRY [mission and ministry with all generations]
56. OBEY TRAFFIC RULES AND CAR SAFETY
57. FAITH SHAPING TASKS NOT STAGES
58. IDENTITY, BELONGING, MEANING AND FAITH SHAPING are building block aims
59. YOUTH MINISTRY SHOULD BE AS MUCH A PART OF THE CHURCH’S MINISTRY AS ANY OTHER
60. LEADERSHIP WORKS BEST ‘OUT OF YOUR GIFTS’ not just seniority> who's free
61. YOU NEED TO SET BOUNDARIES> LIMITS
62. KNOW WHAT YOU WOULD SIMPLY DESCRIBE AS ‘GOOD NEWS’
63. REFLECTION AND SELF AWARENESS GROWS GOOD LEADERSHIP
64. ACTS 17: PAUL IN ATHENS or indeed Silas who actually lived in his missional community
65. DROP THE LANGUAGE OF ‘IN’ AND ‘OUT’
66. BELONGING NOT MEMBERSHIP> ETHOS NOT COMMITMENT
67. SUBMIT REPORTS
68. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE YOUNG PEOPLES CAPACITY FOR WORSHIP
69. CREATING SAFE SPACES TAKES A LOT OF WORK
70. GEN Y ARE NOT THE GENERATION WHO LEFT THE CHURCH
71. FUNDRAISE IN THE COMMUNITY not just the same church crowd
72......

Friday, November 07, 2008

"Australia"




After a brief mention way back I have held off as long as possible before all the hype gets ramped up about Baz Lurhman's latest epic film!! 'Australia'!!
With a cast including almost anyone every self respecting Aussie could think of [and starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman] it looks in teasers and well placed advertising to be a grand story which might just have interesting things to say about our values, history and indigenous story!!
It's also an interesting modern exercise in marketing and distribution with trailers, posters, women's magazine pieces and made for mobile snippets available for your phone!!
All the while Baz has stayed holed up in the editing suite to put the finishing touches on the film so that there's no chance we'll know how long it is and what the rating is anytime soon!! I recall being in Cairns for Easter 2006 and they had just been filming in Bowen before decamping and preparing for the move to the Northern Territory and the Studio...
Baz doesn't do bad work so it'll just be a matter of whether the story interests you or the themes are of any relevance...
It opens here November 26th but I suspect any locals already knew that somehow!! Personally I am looking forward to what the vision is...

Digital Media Festival

There's a Festival for digital artists including exhibitions and seminars 11-13 November in Sydney at Paddington Town Hall, Oxford St Paddington!!

Looks like lots of stuff for editing, effecets and animation and digital videoing will be on display!!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Wow! History in the Making


Congratulations to Barack Obama!!
Apparently 'Yes We Can'!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Greenbelt.UK.US # 6 NEW YORK






This trip has been a while in the making for me and as such I needed to include a US leg to catch some of the things I have tracked alongside the UK groups.

I planned to connect with:
'Transmission' faith community
Trinity Wall Street 'Our Neighbours' lifesized photo display
Origins Church Upper West Side
Journey Church Midtown
AND
A Ground Zero Walking Tour through the Tribute Centre and the 9/11 Families Assoc

I don't have time to do 'Mosaic' in LA, Minneapolis and/or Seattle!! Next time maybe!!

Had a great flight once we got away and caught the excellent Sky Train to Howard Beach Station with the train that will circle Manhattan and go right to 59th St-Columbus Circle within short walking distance to the Westside YMCA [my inexpensive accomodation right near Central Park].

I dumped my stuff and walked staright down to Times Square in humid and opressive heat... passed the stage for the NFL Season Kick OFF which will happen the next night with Natasha Bettingfield, Keith Urban and Usher!!

I still had a headfull of thoughts leaving London and watched two suitably sad movies inflight causing a few strange tears.... typical of me!!

First impressions of New York [since 1998, 2000 visits]
1. Every person flying in is net cam photographed and fingerprinted at the airport!!!
2. Kids are even more fashion conscious and only here does the baseball cap sidways and jeans exposing boxers or undies look like fashion and not a pale imitation!!
3. It's noisier than ever and hotter than even my last summer vist which was June not September!!
4. The new airtrain rather than shuttle bus leaves our transport systems behind!!

Walking around I see many familiar and many new shops BUT feel at home, safe and excited to be here.... rushing back to head to 'Transmission' I run into Robin Williams about to leave the Trump Hotel for a bike ride through Central Park. He appears on David Letterman's LATE SHOW the next night!!

It does feel like there's a 'hole in the sky' looking downtown!!

I head to TGIFs and catch the girls on the earthcam while chatting on the phone!! This was a long time in the planning and didn't pan out on my previous visit!!

Greenbelt.UK.US # 5

I made some trip notes during and after our group debrief of the UK leg and found them a helpful reminder:
  1. I was inspired by the space and permission at St Laurence, READING and have and will continue to tell that story... not about the stuff they put into the space but the process of gutting the building and working at 'what' to put in... the same could be done on minimal money!!
  2. 'Safespace' at Telford was inspiring because of the energy and integrity of the community members and theie clear focus on 'keeping each other accountable'
  3. Issues we'll face in Oz include money for projects and the ongoing questions about the future of ordained and lay voluntary leadership
  4. I continue to reflect on the simplicity of the description "mission shaped" church and a focus on contextual relevance... which includes the growing collection of C of E 'mission shaped' books
  5. We need a more consistently penetrating story about the need for change... the Board of Mission and NCLS have helped but have not 'made' the case consistently and in accessible ways for lots of people...
  6. We need storytelling about places and ideas
  7. WE need to find ways the older generations can grab the vision of being change agents
  8. I reckon the rationalisation of Presbyteries with PRG monies spread would give traction through positions focused on space and permission for birthing new things
  9. While 'Pioneer' ministry is not a great name, the concept of flexible tracks to ordination and use of people with interesting backgrounds, youth and charisma are winners!! We could learn much from seeing formation as something which could happen flexibly
  10. 'Mixed economy' would work for us as a concept with perhaps some work on the actual words
  11. My questions: How will we BE mission shaped? Will I go home to a. connect more strongly with the Dungeon congregation OR b. Start a new faith community as well OR c. focus on fewer places as a helper for longer
  12. I have decided to do a. and b. and that b. will be about working as a mentor>leader for a group of people interested and we as a family may or may not connect with what emerges
  13. Check out Salt [Factory] blog to see my idea which exists at the moment only in cyber space!!

Greenbelt.UK.US # 4





Next stop on our trip was London via train!! This was a wierd part of the trip for me... having spent days here in 1998 I had little compulsion to do the 'touristy' stuff yet wanted to not waste down time but to do something memorable and/or something to know I was in London!!

I was also in a strange place from all that I'd experienced on the trip and at Greenbelt. I was also a little tired and had a sore back which had troubled me for a few days... a walk to Kensington for the Chiropractor proved fruitless as it was no longer there!! Instead I kept walking and went to the Diana Memorial and walked all the way past Royal Albert Hall to Knightsbridge and a quick look at Harrods and surrounds....

Having trumpeted about Lillywhites sports store in Picadilly I was disappointed to catch a train in and discover it had become like most chain discount sports outlets instead of a sports department store!! I later learnt that's exactly what had happened... teken over by the sports world owner of Newcsatle United... So no rugby jersey or West Ham soccer shirt to buy!!

Later that night there was a debrief at the local for those not attending a West End Theatre... Had a chance to chat with with Jen R [just one remarkable expat happy to give me the time of day and actually spend time chatting and listening... an all too rare quality I find!!]

Couldn't sleep this night and drifted off about 2.3am after a late night train trip... Still trying to decide what to do with 2/3 of a day the next day...

Tuesday 2nd September by now and have until about 2pm to do 'whatever'!! Headed back to Harrods for some specific shopping and then into Covent Garden and a walk around the whole of the central area including Oxford/Regent Sts, Spittlefields and back down to Picadilly... thoughtful day... London does that to you... even a fine day is cloudy but it warms up a bit!!

Tried to find a healthy lunch but everywhere was too busy for a lone diner so I caught the train to South Ealing and ended up at the pub waiting 20mins for lunch that almost made me late to the church...

Here we met Jonny Baker at the home of 'Grace' community.... one of those legendarily chronicled communities from the emerging church which shares lots of creativity and ethos which inspires and challenges!! We were later to meet Steve Collins at the pub and hear more but Jonny's focus was on his take on much of the scene, the work of CMS and other questions about 'fresh expressions'. It was a good processing of all the various perspectives by running them past Jonny... though I was a little annoyed at being deflected from asking a couple of questions about Grace because we'd be meeting Steve later.... I was interested in again hearing more than one perspective... anyhow!! Another day!

Jonny's interesting take on 'mission' as working on "healing creation" was an interesting holistic image... the other focus of the conversation was on the gutsy 'pioneer ministry' and how the training needs some work and there isn't a bottomless pit of money!!

We spent time in the afternoon doing a group debrief [uncomfortably in the other local pub] after the girls had spent time with Jenny Baker and talked amongst other things about her 'Sophia' network... there's a lot to be said for a female based support/empowerment network!!

Over dinner later we had a great conversation with Steve Collins whose concise and insightful history, read and perspectives were a great wrap to the UK part of the trip!! He spoke also about Grace and its team collaboration, promotion and networking, website presence and focus on ethos/values around which they gather. It's about peoples potential contributions, it mostly works, there's no offering but it offers direct debit and has no paid person. It's now a 2nd Saturday of the month gathering!!

I was still pondering tonight and found it hard to sleep... I have unfinsihed conversation!! I awake at 4am on the 3rd and so get sorted, leave messages and catch a 6:15am train to Heathrow having established I did need to get to the new Terminal 5.... got there way too early BUT I am now travelling alone so get used to that because I get stressed about catching the right planes and trains!!

Bought some stuff and headed off to NEW YORK!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Greenbelt.UK.US.continued #3





Back on broadband and it gives me a chance to continue blogging about our UK etc trip!! Perhaps one of the most inspirational parts of the trip for me was meeting Chris Russell at St Laurence' READING... Having enjoyed a full rest day in Oxford [including Pizza, 'Man on Wire' at the Odeon etc] we travelled to Reading by train and checked out the heritage Cathedral.

They have done amazing things in terms of:
# A diocesan review initiated by the Bishop led to Chris' call and after significant time he came with a team who agreed to relocate from a London Soul Survivor based community.
#With mentoring and encouragement from Pete Ward, Chris and his team set about exploring what it woould mean to be a community of people focused on mission with young people
# Eight years on they have applied the principle of 'gutting' the space and installing furniture and fittings which serve their purspose... they will have spent millions BUT the idea could be done with Salvo's lounges, donated equipment and a small scale version of what we saw...
#250-300 participants
#Holiday Clubs, camps, schools ministry, some government funded connections [which may or may not have been diversions at times], worship, etc
Money was available, a team was significant, it exists as an all age congregation focused on helping young people shape and grow it.
Whilst tired we ventured to 'HOME' back in Oxford with Matt Rees in leadership as one 'pioneer minister' who had quit when funding was withdrawn so as to continue in leadership in the community. It was an ambient eucharistic worship with space for reflection, very loud backing track music and lots of incense... which stirs my asthma!!

Met Pete Ward briefly which was a spin out after reading some of his great youth ministry writing [in typed manuscript in one case prior to its release in a book form with other Oxford Youth Works presentations.
We were way too tired to retreat for conversation but rather took our leave and did Pub dinner as a group ourselves.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Computer and Modem Fried!!

Wow! How slow is dial up...
Apparently a phone line spike, or something having the same effect, caused my computer and ADSL modem to fry and I have been restricted to my GPRS speed Vodafone wireless net connection [because its not 3G speed in Newcastle yet.... I have it for times in other parts of the state and airports around the country!!]

It would seem I'm back... new NEC PC, new Modem and new surge protected powerboard [$200 one instead of $90 one] with replacement warranties... so we'll see!!

I now hope to finalise my Greenbelt/UK/US trip posts and catch up on heaps of other tasks!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

AC/DC new disc "BLACK ICE" out this weekend !


Put aside the new Augie March or Kings of Leon CD, crank it up to 11 and get yourself a copy of AC/DCs "Black Ice"!!

"Albert Productions and SonyBMG Australia have announced the worldwide release of "Black Ice," the long awaited new studio album from AC/DC, on October 18.
Black Ice," the first full-length studio album of all-new material from AC/DC since the release of "Stiff Upper Lip" in 2000, is the band’s debut album for Columbia Records, (New York Based label for SonyBMG) and their 18th for Australia’s Albert Productions.

Track Listing:
1. Rock ’n Roll Train
2. Skies On Fire
3. Big Jack
4. Anything Goes
5. War Machine
6. Smash N Grab
7. Spoilin’ For A Fight
8. Wheels
9. Decibel
10. Stormy May Day
11. She Likes Rock N Roll
12. Money Made
13. Rock N Roll Dream
14. Rocking All The Way
15. Black Ice

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Surfing 50 States







Watching the 'Sunrise' cult breakfast show this week in Oz I came across the latest in the line of 'free hugs', jig dancing video types who are gathering wide fame from some crazy publicity worthy venture!!



The two blokes in question set themselves the challenge of surfing in all 50 USA states...



They both shared about their passion for surfing but the fact they weren't that good at it and yet have been able to enlist the help of locals in all 50 states and produced a 60min film of their exploits which premiered this week at the Haydn Orpheum!!

Their website explains the mission:
TO CONQUER to surf in all 50 states
TO TEACH to share the experience and stoke of surfing with others.
Especially those who may not have had the chance.
TO RECORD to document all our adventures on film, web and print media
TO ENJOY 'the best surfer is the one who is having the most fun'
The lads set their next challenge as 'surfing the moon' but have been unable to contact Richard Branson and have set their sights on Europe instead!!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Photos That Changed the World







ICON in the Sydney Morning Herald today was promoting and important YET CONFRONTING website today.... so BE AWARE THAT SOME IMAGES WILL DISTURB but the collection does live up to it's title!!






Check them out here

Greenbelt.UK.US Emerging Church Trip continued











Friday 29th August saw us heading to Oxford and the fun of University College and the notion of not one campus but a series of interrelated Colleges making up the town of Oxford and it's esteemed history. We enjoyed the hosting and hospitality of Anna Oldmeadow who it emerged was one of a long line of Rhodes Scholars and was able to show me the entry in the history book showing the three scholars from my own High School Maitland Boys' High!!
It was a well known story at school that one of our senior teachers had visited the historic college at a time it was closed to visitors but had talked his way in as it was very rare that one school let alone state high school had been home to three Rhodes Scholars... indeed Waddy, Portus and Hughes were three of our sporting houses and the names for the award for 'Best Allround Boy in Year 12.'
This was the tailend of public schools taking sport seriously and whole of school being suspended for the afternoon so we could be the crowd when we played in the University Shield rugby league... so such folklore was well worn and taken seriously. Of course Bill Clinton and Bob Hawke have their stories too.
Here we:
Met Steve Croft, the Director of the 'Fresh Expressions' movement
Bob Franklin the seconded Kiwi working as 'international liason
Saw films like 'Man on Wire' falling asleep in the arthouse Odeon
Visited the 'Eagle and Child' pub where the Inklings met [including CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien]
Walked the half decent Markets
Shopped
and rested

I learnt:
They have lots of money via the Lambeth Group allowing the Bishop to 'do something'
The projects, network, training etc are backed up by resources, will and money
The 'mission shaped church' is a simple concept and it'll be important to seperate this out from 'fresh expressions', emerging church etc...
The 'pioneer ministry' idea, training, DVD to promote, etc are significant aspects of 'fresh expressions'
Storytelling, NCLS and the Board of Mission have a mixed record of traction in my setting.... we need to get people together to come up with one unifying message that will promote space, permission and change in our context/s.
We would do well to form a cross Board, cross discipline WORKING GROUP including consultants, theologians, beaurocrats and practitioners to be a. a clearing house for ideas b. to work on what would/wouldn't lead us fwd c. to initiate story gathering d. to lay the ground work for Proposals for change and e. for times of visioning

In our setting Presbyteries are a real key to future change by vision, mission, resourcing, permission and space.
For what we saw and learnt on our trip to gain traction and make a difference we need 'effective' CHAMPIONS around to: run interference; be positive advocates; and keep up the agenda.

Other areas of impact would be:
The 'resource ministry' model
The Ministry of Pastor
Strategic placements concept talked about in ACOMP
The ELM, Continuing Ed, Youth Unit, Board of Mission and UTC combo for training
We would need a better name than 'pioneer'

All this and yet to have actually visited 'St Laurence, Reading'...

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Worship Unplugged #52 Wax Hand

This worship station involves pressing a willing volunteers hand into a large enough quantity of playdoh or clay so as to create a mould of the hand that will have a rebuilt edge where the wrist is embedded or be OK by just pressing in the palm. You can choose to mould the palm or back of the hand depending on what you hope it will be used for or symbolise.... e.g. place written notes on the palm of the hand, put a little pillar of salt in it, have it hold a picture.... whatever!!

Melt wax, add colour as required, then pour the wax into the playdoh mould when its not at it's hottest!! Leave to set and return to find a creative full sized top or bottom half of a hand when turned out and over!!

Friday, October 03, 2008

CONVERGE NCYC09 LIVE CD and DVD


Got a copy of the CONVERGE NCYC 09 LIVE CD and DVD this week and was surprised to find that my collaboration with Phil Newton "STORIES OF HOPE" made not just the songbook as I'd been told BUT also the live recording and DVD...



Get in for your copy here



This is a chance to learn the songs before January 2009 and because it includes on screen lyrics it makes a great resource for teaching some new songs in your setting!!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

'Pioneer Ministers' and Training Pathways

While saddled with the term 'pioneer' from an earlier report its not all bad as a term for those in the 'fresh expressions' offered a different pathway to ordination for offering leadership to something 'new', missional and contextual.
We will later get a copy of the DVD to promote the training modules and opportunities in pioneer ministry from Steve Croft and by then I was thinking about who might partner in offering training for this 'track.'

There needs to be:
  • encouragement for capable Youth Workers and others with experience in ministry with young people as those best able to bring skills in context, relationship building and having a go... there are others with this backgrounf too
  • We need to initiator early and walk alongside these people [kind of what was hoped but not necessarily delivered by the Forge training... too much 'crap' masquerading as wisdom]
  • Mentoring, formation not just training and not just UTC formation, plus extra support and resourcing

There will be different flavours depending on peoples backgrounds and the roles they take up:

The following might have in common a need for formation in:

  • Reading the context
  • Interim Intentional Ministry training
  • An extended network opportunity for a continuing education conference
  • Youth Workers and/or ministry focused with younger generations needing mentors, perhaps Interim Intentional Ministry training
  • Assets in Community building stuff
  • Reflective Practice
  • Different styles of leadership
  • Assertiveness
  • Team building
  • Networking

Those who could 'do the new thing' would include:

  • Youth Workers and others with focus and background in ministry with younger people
  • Ministers of the Word and Deacons stepping into experimental roles
  • New and Younger Lay Leaders starting something new
  • New 'Candidates' identified as having gifts and insights for 'new stuff'

What if any unique training and formation would these different groups require.... it will involve lay educators, youth workers, those with mission and leadership training skills and will need to be outside the current 'Ministerial Education Board' stipulations...

Plenty to think about...

AND THE MONEY...

  • Sell property to fund new initiatives
  • Increase commercial rent opportunities
  • Seek bequests
  • Open a 'Foundation'
  • Increase Presbytery Resource Grants to 3.5 with a focus on 'pioneer' stuff
  • Decrease the number of Presbyteries to 5 or 6
  • Volunteer religious Order styled contract 'traineeships' at $35,000 pa
  • A percentage of SMRF grants to 'pioneer' stuff
  • Minimum of 6-10 year plans for SMRF Grants
  • At least [1] of four new Youth Worker positions 'doing something new...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Five Values for a Missional Church

FIVE values for a missionary church:
[from various C of E sources]

A missionary church is focused on God the Trinity
Worship lies at the heart of a missionary church, and to love and know God as Father, Son and Spirit is its chief inspiration and primary purpose…
A missionary church is incarnational
It seeks to shape itself in relation to the culture in which it is located or to which it is called…
A missionary church is transformational
It exists for the transformation of the community that it serves, through the power of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit…
A missionary church makes disciples
It is active in calling people to faith in Jesus Christ…it is concerned for the transformation of individuals, as well as for the transformation of communities.
A missionary church is relational
It is characterized by welcome and hospitality. Its ethos and style are open to change when new members join.

Greenbelt.UK.US Trip continued




Tiredness and thoughtfulness dominated my trip out of Cheltenham! I was a little lonely I think... in a crowd like most classic introverts. We travelled to Stratford Upon Avon [the birthplace of Shakespeare... and a lovely if touristy village. The laundromat and a stroll through town were a welcome distraction...
I continue to think about the nature of leadership, my own faith community connections and ideas and the cost of trying to reinvent an institution scarcely able to grasp its dilemas.
I still have three options in mind i. a new faith community project at home around say a Saturday monthly experience or ii. contributing to the Adamstown Dungeon congregation more regularly or iii. focusing on helping a few places more long term in my work than fleeting connections with lots....
Its about actual experience rather than consultancy... where helping others with ideas is not inherently flawed but it has to be more effective, powerful and informed to be actually engaged with your own local community in this way. I suspect I feel the disconnect a lot more since stepping back from rugby and not yet being able to give full attention to Lucy's school or other neighbourhood aspects while living and working at dustance.
We spent time at the 'local' talking about highlights and it was good to hear other peoples stories...

For me this included:
Remembering the first afternoon 'Panel' at GBelt and the affirmations
Conversations with people beyond the superficial including Meags, Collard, 'Sarah' and Jen!!
The diversity of the Greenbelt program

We explored 'Ironbridge' the location of the beginning of the industrial revolution with hints of the smoke and heat which would have been present. The 1797 built bridge was amazing and we heard about how it still had dovetailed joints like timber because when you think about it how would they have known any different being the first one.

We met with Mark Berry over a meal and began to hear about:
The story of moving to Telford to pursue a new faith community and missional connection
A sketch of the path into 'pioneer ministry' as part of the 'fresh expressions.'

This is where a flexible pathway is offered to leadership/formation/ordination. I began to reflect on the poor record in the UCA of moving to such 'flexible pathways' and it's my view that our existing system and to some extent Faculty would be incapable of moving to this change on their own. There is a huge barrier in evidence from previous history mixed in with stories of great insight, wisdom and care. But essentially students are often treated as anything but adult learners, MEC guidelines are scapegoated for being sticklers to the rules, requests for exemption due to past experience are treated as 'trying to get out of something' and youth ministry is clearly not understood and regarded as a lesser discipline.

People will be surprised by the capability of those who transition to ordination via a recent decision of our Assembly. The experience in pastoral care, planning and things like Funerals will surprise.

On Wednesday 27th we spent time exploring the centre of Telford [a town since the early 60s] and then the evening with the 'Safespace' community at Mark and Lou's home...

The 'town centre' concept reminded me of Rouse Hill in Sydney where the Courts, Police, Shopping Centre and Park are somehow envisaged as the 'heart of the community.' In this case more than one local from Safespace confirmed that they would have preferred one village being developed for this and that they don't like to shop there... While the sheer number of us made space tricky it was still a good night of conversation and it was clear once the locals found space amongst us that they were really good at relating and showed the benefits of being authentically connected with each other and their activity. I had a great time chatting to Ian who found the group online and still can't quite believe his less than satisfactory exploration of conservative Christian books has given way to being part of this amazing group... he lives 3 mins away....

I like Mark's story about connecting with the Telford football club over anything from sweeping the grandstand, being asked to join the Board and writing a history of the Club and how its handled adversity and a few damaging experiences.

This is 'servant leadership' giving away power as transparent as possible connected, available, NOT church.

MEDITATION not worship

Broadly consensus in planning

Mark would listen to feedback about his role but is 'in charge' of his own time and agenda!!
Mark shares others concerns about the term 'mixed ceconomy'. Pete Rollins talked about the risks of the church 'domesticating' activity from it's edge and Mark worries about the consumerism of 'mixed economy.' There just are unintended consequences of this otherwise inclusive term.

On Thursday 28th I had time for scones and coffee and to reflect on two aspects of Mark's sharing:
ONE: THE FIVE MARKS OF MISSION
Excerpt from documents....

"Mission goes out from God. Mission is God's way of loving and saving the world...”
(Lambeth Conference 1998, Section II p121).
As Christians we follow Jesus who said “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (John 20.21). We are called to serve God's mission by living and proclaiming the good news.“It’s not the church of God that has a mission, but the God of mission who has a church”.
For Anglican Christians God’s mission is about transformation – transforming individual lives, transforming communities and transforming the world. As we follow Jesus Christ, we believe that God’s mission is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit in three ways: through the Bible, through the tradition and life of the Church, and through our own listening, praying, thinking and sharing as we respond to our own context.
Five marks of mission
In 1984 the Anglican Consultative Council (http://www.anglicancommunion.org/) began to develop a “mission statement” for the worldwide Anglican communion, and the bishops of the Lambeth Conference adopted these “Five Marks Of Mission” in 1988. They were then adopted by the General Synod of the Church of England in 1996.

To proclaim the good news of the Kingdom
To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
To respond to human need by loving service
To seek to transform unjust structures of society
To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and to sustain the life of the earth

The Anglican Consultative Council notes,
“The first mark of mission… is really a summary of what all mission is about, because it is based on Jesus' own summary of his mission (Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:14-15, Luke 4:18, Luke 7:22; cf. John 3:14-17). Instead of being just one of five distinct activities, this should be the key statement about everything we do in mission.”

TWO: NEW MONASTICISM
or 'all of life' balance... integrating faith, life, justice and mirroring the writing of Tom Sine and others [Mustard Seed writings] and rising to prominence with people like Shane Claiborne who seem to be able to make 'living simply' simple!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

"Life in Technicolor" Coldplay


Did a presentation at the annual synod meeting today using this great Coldplay track behind the pics... more later!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Where is Matt Harding?


Colleague Chris reminded me this week of the Matt Harding video I first saw on TEN TV here in Oz on 'Rove Live' I think...

The premis is that Matt started with a video camera and either a travelling mate or by putting it on the ground and video-ing himself doing a slightly quirky 'dance' in various locations all across the world.

'Stride' chewing gum have since sponsored Matt and sent him out again including blogging his upcoming locations so as to gather a crowd who joined in...

It's just a great celebration and shows how kicking off 'authentic community' isn't exactly 'rocket science' it only gets tricky after that!!

Catch Matt at http://www.wherethehellismatt.com/videos.shtml?fbid=b0AMm6s_YVX and download high quality clips here

Row M Seat #30 "Freedom Writers" rated M


We watched this film last night as a discussion/study in 'leadership' and seeing strengths emerge at our two day staff Retreat in Mt Victoria. Despite so much work to do for the weekend it was a good 'time out' working on strengths, foundations and teamwork. This film was inspirational, mostly well made, full of symbolism and helpfully based on a true story!!

Hilary Swank plays Erin Gruwell, a new teacher inspired by her fathers 'freedom riders' experience in the 1960s, to sign up for a school with the cultural integration program. She ends up teaching in a neighbourhood at war with a class on 'freshman students' who are hard to crack.

She hangs in, hits on a plan and uses music, the holocaust, related books and the Museum to open up the students and empower them. But at what cost?

A real key to building relationship with the students was an exercise in inviting them to journal and leave their books in a lockable cupboard if they wanted Erin to read them.

The film's website includes access to some discussion resources and extends the story to the true life experiences of Erin and the students [who were in a genuine life and death struggle]. Find the info here.

Erin was: vulnerable, used gifts and wisdom, empowered the kids in their struggle, threatened the status quo and was in stark contrast to the Subject Head and other staff. The District Officer played a key role, going beyond his authority to empower the classes excursion and brokering the discussion about what happened to the class from 3rd year onwards.