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ventured to 'HOME' back in Oxford with Matt Rees in leadership as one 'pioneer minister' who had quit when funding was withdrawn so as to continue in leadership in the community.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
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


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...


  • 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...