Monthly Archives: August 2014

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church should be ONLINE

At the outset I wish to pour out extravagant praise for my wonderful host Meredith Gould. Her sacrifice of time, spirit and knowledge was above and beyond generous and I cannot thank her enough. Meredith you are a blessing to so many; an angel with a Doctorate; the Queen of Twitter and the fairy godmother of #chsocm (and you’re not scary at all IRL).

 

Enough of that – this is what happened when I went to meet the wizard…

After #BreakingBread broke up I awaited my host. It was like standing in line at a big concert – waiting for your heroes to take the stage – I felt like a little kid waiting for a chance to meet Santa – I was about to meet the great Meredith Gould. I’d got to Oz and the wizard was coming!!

Every car that went past, was it her? Every helicopter that went over, was that her? Eventually the moment came, a fleet of cars with flashing blue lights pulled up and in a crowd of groupies and hangers on I glimpsed her; the security detail arrived; my ID was checked; I was about to meet….

Actually it didn’t happen like that – a little car pulled up and out jumped Meredith with a huge, welcoming smile on her face. I didn’t know what I expected, but just like Harry Potter’s exam results, Meredith exceeds expectations. Bright, warm, vibrant and amazingly down to earth (for a guru) she is brilliant!!!

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That evening and the whole of the next day passed in a storm of talk, laughter, fun and learning (well for me it did – for Meredith it must have been a tirade of inane questions, daft comments, and patient teaching). We went through everything church media related- the website, the blog, the Facebook and Twitter pages, Instagram and Pinterest – content, design, layout, colours. Meredith’s expertise and knowledge were as freely given as her smiles and humour.

I’ve been into the inner sanctum, I’ve even touched her computer, I’ve walked the yellow brick road and I’ve seen behind the wizard’s curtain and it is more magical and amazing than Oz could ever be – but it’s not the set up that makes it so great, as with everything on this trip, it’s the person.

All joking and hyperbole aside – all I can say is thank you Meredith, I hope I can do justice to all you taught me.

 

Before I left for this trip I was asked the question “Is being online and active in Social Media a real part of the ministry of the church?”

I didn’t answer it then, but I think I can now:  “In this digital age it is practically impossible to have a church ministry without being online.” Online ministry through social media is not, and I don’t think it ever will be, the whole work of the church but it will now never not be an important part. And thanks to David and Meredith and members of the fantastic #chsocm (church and social media) community I now feel better equipped to keep venturing out into the modern digital world with the Gospel message that is as relevant now as it was 2,000 years ago.

Category : Community , News , SM , Social Media , The Trip , US , Welcome


  • 0

church should be ONLINE

At the outset I wish to pour out extravagant praise for my wonderful host Meredith Gould. Her sacrifice of time, spirit and knowledge was above and beyond generous and I cannot thank her enough. Meredith you are a blessing to so many; an angel with a Doctorate; the Queen of Twitter and the fairy godmother of #chsocm (and you’re not scary at all IRL).

 

Enough of that – this is what happened when I went to meet the wizard…

After #BreakingBread broke up I awaited my host. It was like standing in line at a big concert – waiting for your heroes to take the stage – I felt like a little kid waiting for a chance to meet Santa – I was about to meet the great Meredith Gould. I’d got to Oz and the wizard was coming!!

Every car that went past, was it her? Every helicopter that went over, was that her? Eventually the moment came, a fleet of cars with flashing blue lights pulled up and in a crowd of groupies and hangers on I glimpsed her; the security detail arrived; my ID was checked; I was about to meet….

Actually it didn’t happen like that – a little car pulled up and out jumped Meredith with a huge, welcoming smile on her face. I didn’t know what I expected, but just like Harry Potter’s exam results, Meredith exceeds expectations. Bright, warm, vibrant and amazingly down to earth (for a guru) she is brilliant!!!

 

That evening and the whole of the next day passed in a storm of talk, laughter, fun and learning (well for me it did – for Meredith it must have been a tirade of inane questions, daft comments, and patient teaching). We went through everything church media related- the website, the blog, the Facebook and Twitter pages, Instagram and Pinterest – content, design, layout, colours. Meredith’s expertise and knowledge were as freely given as her smiles and humour.

I’ve been into the inner sanctum, I’ve even touched her computer, I’ve walked the yellow brick road and I’ve seen behind the wizard’s curtain and it is more magical and amazing than Oz could ever be – but it’s not the set up that makes it so great, as with everything on this trip, it’s the person.

All joking and hyperbole aside – all I can say is thank you Meredith, I hope I can do justice to all you taught me.

 

Before I left for this trip I was asked the question “Is being online and active in Social Media a real part of the ministry of the church?”

I didn’t answer it then, but I think I can now:  “In this digital age it is practically impossible to have a church ministry without being online.” Online ministry through social media is not, and I don’t think it ever will be, the whole work of the church but it will now never not be an important part. And thanks to David and Meredith and members of the fantastic #chsocm (church and social media) community I now feel better equipped to keep venturing out into the modern digital world with the Gospel message that is as relevant now as it was 2,000 years ago.

Category : Community , News , Social Media , The Trip


  • 0

church isn’t a DENOMINATION

Baltimore – where the “Star Spangled Banner” was written is a nice place. That’s about as effusive I wish to be about this small but strangely charming city.

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Again though, like Denver and certain parts of Houston, it’s the people that make the place special and I mean extra special.

Wandering the centre city of Baltimore took me a few minutes and after talking to a very nice police man (in a fast pursuit vehicle, all the criminals must be overweight) I made my way towards the meet up point for my lift to #BreakingBread. Thank you Julie, I would never have found it on my own!

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So three ministers walked into a church, a Lutheran, a Presbyterian and an Episcopalian. And that’s not a joke – Jenn, Sara and Jason run Breaking Bread. I don’t know the history or who did what with whom but Breaking Bread is another one of those simple church ideas that are just outstandingly wonderful. It’s not rocket science to do this sort if thing but wow it is very powerful, and those of us who haven’t thought of it before go, “I wish I’d thought of that!” IMG_0464

All it is (and I don’t mean to sound like I’m putting it down, I’m not I’m raising it as high as I can and jumping up and down shouting “WE ALL SHOULD DO THIS…”) all it is, in essence, is a simple service, a simple meal and and a simple Bible study. #BreakingBread’s brilliance comes from two things – the atmosphere and the people.

I may not have the order of the next bit quite right but you’ll get the general idea.

The night I went Rev Jason wasn’t there and Rev Jenn was leading and Rev Sara was in charge of the food. You kind of just walk in and do stuff. I was ordered (nicely) to help lay the tables – cutlery and candles were what I did, and they look great.

IMG_0462Being the summer holidays they weren’t expecting a full house only about 20 (I’d love a Bible Study of about 20). Four tables were set up, some food was prepared (mainly asparagus, THE vegetable of Breaking Bread) and things began. It started with a simple service of singing and prayers and a very simple (but amazingly profound) Communion service in which we all stood and served each other the bread. It was a very moving experience and God was there, in the eyes of the homeless guy across the circle from me, in the smile of the person handing me the bread. It was another Holy experience in a borrowed church hall. IMG_0467

The wine was shared around our tables and the act of moving from one place to another between the elements was great. It made me feel like what we were doing was communal (all in the circle together) and yet also individual as we drank from our own cups in our places by the table. Again very simple ideas brilliantly done.

After the service (which was maybe 10 minutes) we went for the food like ravenous beasts, sharing talk and laughs at the various tables. This wasn’t rushed and there was a feeling of community there – hard to describe but there was a ‘freeness’ to the proceedings that can only come from everyone wanting the same outcome. I’m sure that doesn’t do it justice but it’s hard to describe.

After seconds Jenn (the Presbyterian (yay for John Calvin)) led us in a Bible study that I will not describe here as I intend to use the idea at our church (she’ll never know!!). Once again the way it was done was simple yet the content was very thought provoking and the discussions at our table was deep and serious.

It was a wonderful night (everyone helped with the clearing up as well) in which a stranger from a long way away was made to feel very much part of a worshipping community. He was offered food and spiritual comfort, companionship and conversation, teaching and love. It was all very New Testament, early church, true Christian Community in action stuff and I loved it. I’d go every week if I didn’t live 8,500 miles away.

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Thank you to the Breaking Bread team, you are the real presence of God at work!!

 


  • 0

church isn’t a DENOMINATION

Baltimore – where the “Star Spangled Banner” was written is a nice place. That’s about as effusive I wish to be about this small but strangely charming city.

 

Again though, like Denver and certain parts of Houston, it’s the people that make the place special and I mean extra special.

Wandering the centre city of Baltimore took me a few minutes and after talking to a very nice police man (in a fast pursuit vehicle, all the criminals must be overweight) I made my way towards the meet up point for my lift to #BreakingBread. Thank you Julie, I would never have found it on my own!

 

So three ministers walked into a church, a Lutheran, a Presbyterian and an Episcopalian. And that’s not a joke – Jenn, Sara and Jason run Breaking Bread. I don’t know the history or who did what with whom but Breaking Bread is another one of those simple church ideas that are just outstandingly wonderful. It’s not rocket science to do this sort if thing but wow it is very powerful, and those of us who haven’t thought of it before go, “I wish I’d thought of that!”

All it is (and I don’t mean to sound like I’m putting it down, I’m not I’m raising it as high as I can and jumping up and down shouting “WE ALL SHOULD DO THIS…”) all it is, in essence, is a simple service, a simple meal and and a simple Bible study. #BreakingBread’s brilliance comes from two things – the atmosphere and the people.

I may not have the order of the next bit quite right but you’ll get the general idea.

The night I went Rev Jason wasn’t there and Rev Jenn was leading and Rev Sara was in charge of the food. You kind of just walk in and do stuff. I was ordered (nicely) to help lay the tables – cutlery and candles were what I did, and they look great.

Being the summer holidays they weren’t expecting a full house only about 20 (I’d love a Bible Study of about 20). Four tables were set up, some food was prepared (mainly asparagus, THE vegetable of Breaking Bread) and things began. It started with a simple service of singing and prayers and a very simple (but amazingly profound) Communion service in which we all stood and served each other the bread. It was a very moving experience and God was there, in the eyes of the homeless guy across the circle from me, in the smile of the person handing me the bread. It was another Holy experience in a borrowed church hall.

The wine was shared around our tables and the act of moving from one place to another between the elements was great. It made me feel like what we were doing was communal (all in the circle together) and yet also individual as we drank from our own cups in our places by the table. Again very simple ideas brilliantly done.

After the service (which was maybe 10 minutes) we went for the food like ravenous beasts, sharing talk and laughs at the various tables. This wasn’t rushed and there was a feeling of community there – hard to describe but there was a ‘freeness’ to the proceedings that can only come from everyone wanting the same outcome. I’m sure that doesn’t do it justice but it’s hard to describe.

After seconds Jenn (the Presbyterian (yay for John Calvin)) led us in a Bible study that I will not describe here as I intend to use the idea at our church (she’ll never know!!). Once again the way it was done was simple yet the content was very thought provoking and the discussions at our table was deep and serious.

It was a wonderful night (everyone helped with the clearing up as well) in which a stranger from a long way away was made to feel very much part of a worshipping community. He was offered food and spiritual comfort, companionship and conversation, teaching and love. It was all very New Testament, early church, true Christian Community in action stuff and I loved it. I’d go every week if I didn’t live 8,500 miles away.

 

Thank you to the Breaking Bread team, you are the real presence of God at work!!

 


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churches should be ARMED!

(with the sound suppressed, semi-automatic pistol of the Spirit. Yours for under $2,000)

 

I will draw my Texas blog to a close – in its own way Texas was as brilliant as Denver. Where Denver was hands on, feet dirty, get in there and do it Texas was very different. And I expected it to be.

IMG_0354

I went there to learn social media stuff and wow did I have a brilliant teacher – Pastor David Hansen (as well as being an amazing pastoral minister (you should see the way the people in the church love him), an amazing host (with his lovely wife Megan), a very handsome man (have you seen the pictures? he reminds me of a movie star or at least someone I know I’ve seen before) – on top of all that he is also a social media guru.

A lot of my Texas time was taken up sitting in front of computers doing ‘stuff’. Twitter and Facebook are no longer mysteries to me – podcasting, pfft I can do it in my sleep now – and twitter chats – I’ve seen how the best moderates them (from an armchair, with a beer!).

But being a geek wasn’t all I did. There are just one or two little experiences I want to share before I move on –

 

Lunch with Bishop Mike –

 

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The ELCA (The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) has bishops. I had lunch with one and his family. I would just like to say thank you to Bishop Mike for taking time out of his sabbatical to come and eat TexMex with me. We had a great chat and to hear of the work and how the ELCA orders things makes our Gymanfa look very small. (I know it is but this reminded me of how small.) Bishop Mike has been quite outspoken on the situation in Gaza and we had a great discussion about balancing personal and professional social media posts. I learnt a lot (and not just how to load a taco). Thank you.

Another visit to a Christian book barn.

WOW – these places scare me – piousness and poison under the same roof. A man cannot serve two masters – its either God or money well in this place God was served a lot – every transaction was something about God but he was not the master there, this was a Christian money printing factory. I might be wrong but isn’t “Clean hands and a pure heart” hand sanitiser going a bit far?? What about “the spark plugs Jesus would use”?

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Some of the books would be funny if they weren’t serious titles – “God and Guns” was probably my favourite but there were plenty of others.

Bad breath? Jesus mints will drive out the demons of halitosis.

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God bless my gun cabinet.

A prayer to God for peace, for America and for the Marine Corps.

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It was endless – I was glad when we left and went to the gun store!

 

I had heard a lot about the gun culture in the States – the right to bear arms (but not to arm bears – it would be fairer if they did). I was intrigued to see it for myself and where better than the local, family run, gun shoppe.

 

If the Christian book store was bad I don’t know what this was. It was a temple to gun metal, and it was a very scary temple.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time around firearms, I know what they can do and I think I can use one safely. This place wasn’t a gun store though, it was an arsenal. You can get pink shotguns for your little girl; semi-automatic rifles to go ‘hunting’ with; as much ammo as you could carry; shoulder holsters; ankle holsters; gun vests; cartridge making machines – everything the wanna be gun nut could want; but the worse thing (or the best thing, depending on your point of view) was the pistol with military grade suppressor (silencer).

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Why would you ever need one? I cannot think of a legal situation that would require a pistol with a silencer. I can sort of see why you would need a semi-automatic rifle with sub-sonic, hollow point bullets – if a huge bear was running at me, all teeth and claws and menace I’d probably be glad of one, (I still think they should arm the bears to make the fight fairer though) but a silenced semi-automatic pistol.

WHY?

Not for personal protection – I’d want every criminal to know I had a gun so I wouldn’t silence it. Not for hunting – its useless as a hunting pistol and still makes enough noise to scare off any game. Not at the local gun club – you all wear ear protectors. I cannot for the life of me see why.

 

I fell in love with parts of America and with parts of the American church but there are certain things that make me glad I’m coming home to Oz – and military grade, noise suppressed, semi-automatic pistols for under $2,000 is one of them. Makes me shudder to think of it.

 

I was sad to leave the Lone Star State. I made good friends there, I saw how two wonderful churches (Spirit of Joy! (don’t leave out the exclamation mark) and Grace Lutheran) and how two truly wonderful pastors work, I met loads of wonderful people of God who are doing amazing work in his name, even a couple of decent presbyterians. But Texas really is another America though – a wild, weird and wonderful place full of strange people, spaceships, gun shops and Jeezus.

 

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Onward to Baltimore…..

 

Category : Community , News , rant , SM , Social Media , The Trip , US , Welcome


  • 0

churches should be ARMED!

(with the sound suppressed, semi-automatic pistol of the Spirit. Yours for under $2,000)

 

I will draw my Texas blog to a close – in its own way Texas was as brilliant as Denver. Where Denver was hands on, feet dirty, get in there and do it Texas was very different. And I expected it to be.

 

I went there to learn social media stuff and wow did I have a brilliant teacher – Pastor David Hansen (as well as being an amazing pastoral minister (you should see the way the people in the church love him), an amazing host (with his lovely wife Megan), a very handsome man (have you seen the pictures? he reminds me of a movie star or at least someone I know I’ve seen before) – on top of all that he is also a social media guru.

A lot of my Texas time was taken up sitting in front of computers doing ‘stuff’. Twitter and Facebook are no longer mysteries to me – podcasting, pfft I can do it in my sleep now – and twitter chats – I’ve seen how the best moderates them (from an armchair, with a beer!).

But being a geek wasn’t all I did. There are just one or two little experiences I want to share before I move on –

 

Lunch with Bishop Mike –

The ELCA (The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) has bishops. I had lunch with one and his family. I would just like to say thank you to Bishop Mike for taking time out of his sabbatical to come and eat TexMex with me. We had a great chat and to hear of the work and how the ELCA orders things makes our Gymanfa look very small. (I know it is but this reminded me of how small.) Bishop Mike has been quite outspoken on the situation in Gaza and we had a great discussion about balancing personal and professional social media posts. I learnt a lot (and not just how to load a taco). Thank you.

Another visit to a Christian book barn.

WOW – these places scare me – piousness and poison under the same roof. A man cannot serve two masters – its either God or money well in this place God was served a lot – every transaction was something about God but he was not the master there, this was a Christian money printing factory. I might be wrong but isn’t “Clean hands and a pure heart” hand sanitiser going a bit far?? What about “the spark plugs Jesus would use”?

 

Some of the books would be funny if they weren’t serious titles – “God and Guns” was probably my favourite but there were plenty of others.

Bad breath? Jesus mints will drive out the demons of halitosis.

 

God bless my gun cabinet.

A prayer to God for peace, for America and for the Marine Corps.

 

It was endless – I was glad when we left and went to the gun store!

 

I had heard a lot about the gun culture in the States – the right to bear arms (but not to arm bears – it would be fairer if they did). I was intrigued to see it for myself and where better than the local, family run, gun shoppe.

 

If the Christian book store was bad I don’t know what this was. It was a temple to gun metal, and it was a very scary temple.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time around firearms, I know what they can do and I think I can use one safely. This place wasn’t a gun store though, it was an arsenal. You can get pink shotguns for your little girl; semi-automatic rifles to go ‘hunting’ with; as much ammo as you could carry; shoulder holsters; ankle holsters; gun vests; cartridge making machines – everything the wanna be gun nut could want; but the worse thing (or the best thing, depending on your point of view) was the pistol with military grade suppressor (silencer).

 

Why would you ever need one? I cannot think of a legal situation that would require a pistol with a silencer. I can sort of see why you would need a semi-automatic rifle with sub-sonic, hollow point bullets – if a huge bear was running at me, all teeth and claws and menace I’d probably be glad of one, (I still think they should arm the bears to make the fight fairer though) but a silenced semi-automatic pistol.

WHY?

Not for personal protection – I’d want every criminal to know I had a gun so I wouldn’t silence it. Not for hunting – its useless as a hunting pistol and still makes enough noise to scare off any game. Not at the local gun club – you all wear ear protectors. I cannot for the life of me see why.

 

I fell in love with parts of America and with parts of the American church but there are certain things that make me glad I’m coming home to Oz – and military grade, noise suppressed, semi-automatic pistols for under $2,000 is one of them. Makes me shudder to think of it.

 

I was sad to leave the Lone Star State. I made good friends there, I saw how two wonderful churches (Spirit of Joy! (don’t leave out the exclamation mark) and Grace Lutheran) and how two truly wonderful pastors work, I met loads of wonderful people of God who are doing amazing work in his name, even a couple of decent presbyterians. But Texas really is another America though – a wild, weird and wonderful place full of strange people, spaceships, gun shops and Jeezus.

 

Onward to Baltimore…..

 

Category : Community , News , Social Media , The Trip


  • 0

church is for EVERYONE (even little green kids)

Well I’m still in Texas (I’m not but the blog is, so stick with me, I’ve only got one more after this blog from here), and I’m feeling like a big kid.

Why????

I’m on my way to NASA!

Anyone born in the late sixties or early seventies will have a special place in their heart for NASA.

A year before my birth men walked on the moon for the first time; As I was being born Apollo 13 was in trouble; I watched the first shuttle launch in school; I saw the first shuttle disaster on tele; I wanted to be an astronaut!!!!

So here I am on the way to the Mission Control in Houston. I’m not going to go into detail here – this is not a tourist blog but the tour was great, a real high point of my trip. There were some amazing things to see – a real NASA skip (with NASA written on the side); Mission Control but the biggest thrill, however, was the Saturn 5 rocket!!!

094A3050

I made a model of one of these when I was a child, it had a little Neil Armstrong and everything. I knew the scale of a man to the machine but seeing it was MINDBLOWING!

Huge doesn’t do it justice – the jets of the rockets had a 40 ft diameter and there was 5 of them – this thing is unbelievably big; massively large; unfathomably vast. Even that doesn’t make it clear how big it is!

IMG_0391

 

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I mention it because I have been in awe of the this machine for years and as amazing as it is it was nothing to how I felt that evening. My hosts (Megan and David) took me from NASA to a suburb of Houston to the Grace Lutheran Church where we met the pastor Lura Groen.

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Grace is a fantastic little place in a hip neighbourhood of Houston that does some utterly amazing stuff. The three things I want to mention are –

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  1. The Neighbourhood food bank that was going on when we arrived.

This is such a simple idea – local growers bring their produce to the church where a local co-op hires some space and sells good, local grown food for fair prices. Everyone wins – the church gets a working presence in the community, the community gets fresh local food and the growers get some money. WIN/WIN/WIN. Simple and brilliant.

2)   The work they do with Homeless teens.

Lura gave us the grand tour and one of the big things the church does, in conjunction with the other organisations, is to have a ministry to the local homeless youth, many of whom are gay. On Thursday evenings there is a drop in session held at the church with a safe place to talk (the church board has made the best room in the building available to the homeless – that speaks volumes, it says ‘you are valuable AND you are welcome’, words these kids may not here from anywhere else. There is a clothing bank and a food bank where good (hip) clothes and healthy food are available. They also supply things that we take for granted but to the homeless are luxuries – toilet paper, sanitary products, batteries etc. It is an amazing work that is not only needed but also really well done – Simple and Brilliant!

3)    Wednesday Night Worship

We arrived in time for the Wednesday Night Communion service. This is a small service held in a small side chapel. As with the House for All Sinners and Saints the liturgy was very traditional and yet was so fresh. It was a simple gathering where prayer, music and short sermon were shared and then we gathered around the table and shared the communion elements. It was made VERY clear that this was an open table and EVERYBODY is welcome. These weren’t just words spoken out of habit – this was a heartfelt invitation to all who wished to hear and come that this table was open to them!! It was formally informal or informally formal – in all the tradition and well known words there was an openness that was so wonderful to be a part of.

The service at Grace Lutheran struck me as living up to that verse that says we must accept the things of God as a child. It wasn’t childish but it was child-like – simple, profound and somehow very truthful. The service (indeed my whole experience was) simple and brilliant.

But what has that got to do with the SATURN 5 rocket – well this – as impressed and awe-struck as I was by the technology of the 1960’s that had 1,000,000 components and put men on the moon I was not as impressed or as awe-struck with that as I was with the wonderful work and the presence of God that I saw and felt at Grace. THAT was amazing in every sense of the word.

—————————————————————————————————-

They welcome they extend goes as far as green, alien children – honestly, it was in their stained glass windows – look-

 

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I couldn’t put this in anywhere but I must tell you y’all; I touched moon rock!!!!

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  • 0

church is for EVERYONE (even little green kids)

Well I’m still in Texas (I’m not but the blog is, so stick with me, I’ve only got one more after this blog from here), and I’m feeling like a big kid.

Why????

I’m on my way to NASA!

Anyone born in the late sixties or early seventies will have a special place in their heart for NASA.

A year before my birth men walked on the moon for the first time; As I was being born Apollo 13 was in trouble; I watched the first shuttle launch in school; I saw the first shuttle disaster on tele; I wanted to be an astronaut!!!!

So here I am on the way to the Mission Control in Houston. I’m not going to go into detail here – this is not a tourist blog but the tour was great, a real high point of my trip. There were some amazing things to see – a real NASA skip (with NASA written on the side); Mission Control but the biggest thrill, however, was the Saturn 5 rocket!!!

 

I made a model of one of these when I was a child, it had a little Neil Armstrong and everything. I knew the scale of a man to the machine but seeing it was MINDBLOWING!

Huge doesn’t do it justice – the jets of the rockets had a 40 ft diameter and there was 5 of them – this thing is unbelievably big; massively large; unfathomably vast. Even that doesn’t make it clear how big it is!

 

I mention it because I have been in awe of the this machine for years and as amazing as it is it was nothing to how I felt that evening. My hosts (Megan and David) took me from NASA to a suburb of Houston to the Grace Lutheran Church where we met the pastor Lura Groen.

 

Grace is a fantastic little place in a hip neighbourhood of Houston that does some utterly amazing stuff. The three things I want to mention are –

 

  1. The Neighbourhood food bank that was going on when we arrived.

This is such a simple idea – local growers bring their produce to the church where a local co-op hires some space and sells good, local grown food for fair prices. Everyone wins – the church gets a working presence in the community, the community gets fresh local food and the growers get some money. WIN/WIN/WIN. Simple and brilliant.

2)   The work they do with Homeless teens.

Lura gave us the grand tour and one of the big things the church does, in conjunction with the other organisations, is to have a ministry to the local homeless youth, many of whom are gay. On Thursday evenings there is a drop in session held at the church with a safe place to talk (the church board has made the best room in the building available to the homeless – that speaks volumes, it says ‘you are valuable AND you are welcome’, words these kids may not here from anywhere else. There is a clothing bank and a food bank where good (hip) clothes and healthy food are available. They also supply things that we take for granted but to the homeless are luxuries – toilet paper, sanitary products, batteries etc. It is an amazing work that is not only needed but also really well done – Simple and Brilliant!

3)    Wednesday Night Worship

We arrived in time for the Wednesday Night Communion service. This is a small service held in a small side chapel. As with the House for All Sinners and Saints the liturgy was very traditional and yet was so fresh. It was a simple gathering where prayer, music and short sermon were shared and then we gathered around the table and shared the communion elements. It was made VERY clear that this was an open table and EVERYBODY is welcome. These weren’t just words spoken out of habit – this was a heartfelt invitation to all who wished to hear and come that this table was open to them!! It was formally informal or informally formal – in all the tradition and well known words there was an openness that was so wonderful to be a part of.

The service at Grace Lutheran struck me as living up to that verse that says we must accept the things of God as a child. It wasn’t childish but it was child-like – simple, profound and somehow very truthful. The service (indeed my whole experience was) simple and brilliant.

But what has that got to do with the SATURN 5 rocket – well this – as impressed and awe-struck as I was by the technology of the 1960’s that had 1,000,000 components and put men on the moon I was not as impressed or as awe-struck with that as I was with the wonderful work and the presence of God that I saw and felt at Grace. THAT was amazing in every sense of the word.

—————————————————————————————————-

They welcome they extend goes as far as green, alien children – honestly, it was in their stained glass windows – look-

 

I couldn’t put this in anywhere but I must tell you y’all; I touched moon rock!!!!

 


  • 0

church is EVERYWHERE!

 

Warm winds blowing,
Heating blue sky,
And a road that goes forever,
I’m going to Texas.

Chris Rea

 

I left Denver reluctantly, (it really is a great place and I learnt so much and saw so much).

I began my trip to Texas. And I’ll be honest I had no idea what to expect.

Well, let me tell you EVERYTHING you read about Texas is true.

It IS big; it IS brash; it IS a place of extremes.

I was privileged to have been invited to stay with David and Megan (@rev_David and @megateer)

IMG_0354

and I was met by David at the airport (one of three in Houston – told you they do it big!). David and I had chatted a bit on Twitter and had a Skype chat once but it would be a stretch to say we were aquatinted. So with some trepidation I climbed into a strange car, in a strange city with a strange man.

If only I knew then how strange he is!!

We circled Houston (it is a massive city) and headed towards where I was to stay. The trip would take about an hour or so. I settled in and we began to make conversation. What was I going to say? It would be all God talk about how wonderful our respective churches are and then would we try and out holy each other. I had imagined it, “My church has 2,000 members.” “That’s nice, we do our sermon in tongues we are so holy.” “Hey, that’s great – we crucify our elders weekly to show how much we love Jesus.” “Who is Jesus?” I was dreading it. (Slight exaggeration but it increases the tension.)

Well, within ten minutes we were done being fakely holy and were geeking it up, finishing each other’s sentences and laughing like old friends. David pointed out this and that (including the way to NASA!!!!!!) and then as we entered the burbs the signs started. Huge (and I mean HUGE) religious billboards for various mega churches and ‘Christian’ organisations. Think Queensland but like they really mean it and are not just pretending. My new friend and host told me of the proven correlation – the more big Christian signs there are the more sex shops and strip joints there are. Which is the response to which, I asked myself???

After passing the sex shops and gun stores and big signs etc etc we arrived at my guest house for the next few days. I then found my next nice surprise – Lucy the beagle/corgi cross, another new friend!!! (click the picture to see her)

IMG_0366

Next surprise – a comic book store / coffee shop right round the corner. Geek nirvana! My final surprise was when Megan turned up – another geeky friend. This was going to be a good week!!

Unlike last week, most of this week was to be about computer stuff for online ministry. It wasn’t going to be a hands on, active service week like last week – or so I thought.

There was a lot of computer work – I watched (and took part) as David moderated the weekly online twitter chat #chsocm. I try to join in with that as often as I can and most of the people I was visiting are active in the Church and Social Media (CHSOCM) community.

Watching the magic of moderating happen was a lot of fun but not what I expected.

I expected this…..

melbwelshchurch_2014-Aug-05

I got this……

IMG_0384

And this was superb – I learnt so much.

I also participated in a podcast for the Church of the Geek. This podcast was on Pilgrimage and will be available on Aug 15th (ish). I’ll link to it from here when it’s available. That was a lot of fun too and again, I learnt much. I had Facebook and Twitter lessons, fantastic stuff.

David was very generous with his time and talent and I will be implementing what he taught me when I get back and have time. I cannot thank him and Megan and Lucy (and the cats!) enough. But again I say, “Thank you!”

It wouldn’t make a good blog to read all about the two of us sitting in front of computers and geeking out over Facebook and Twitter.

What it did re-enforce in me was the fact that Church is EVERYWHERE. We did Church in the car, we did Church eating TexMex with a Bishop, we even did Church at NASA – see the next blog for that!!!

More and more as I travel around this vast country and meet people I realise that church (and by church I mean Christian living) is done very simply here. With the people I have met it is a part of everyday life and not just part of a busy Sunday. Its wonderful – church is part of the everyday lives of people, it is part of their community, it is their community….

church is EVERYWHERE!!!!

Category : News , SM , Social Media , The Trip , US


  • 0

church is EVERYWHERE!

 

Warm winds blowing,
Heating blue sky,
And a road that goes forever,
I’m going to Texas.

Chris Rea

 

I left Denver reluctantly, (it really is a great place and I learnt so much and saw so much).

I began my trip to Texas. And I’ll be honest I had no idea what to expect.

Well, let me tell you EVERYTHING you read about Texas is true.

It IS big; it IS brash; it IS a place of extremes.

I was privileged to have been invited to stay with David and Megan (@rev_David and @megateer)

 

and I was met by David at the airport (one of three in Houston – told you they do it big!). David and I had chatted a bit on Twitter and had a Skype chat once but it would be a stretch to say we were aquatinted. So with some trepidation I climbed into a strange car, in a strange city with a strange man.

If only I knew then how strange he is!!

We circled Houston (it is a massive city) and headed towards where I was to stay. The trip would take about an hour or so. I settled in and we began to make conversation. What was I going to say? It would be all God talk about how wonderful our respective churches are and then would we try and out holy each other. I had imagined it, “My church has 2,000 members.” “That’s nice, we do our sermon in tongues we are so holy.” “Hey, that’s great – we crucify our elders weekly to show how much we love Jesus.” “Who is Jesus?” I was dreading it. (Slight exaggeration but it increases the tension.)

Well, within ten minutes we were done being fakely holy and were geeking it up, finishing each other’s sentences and laughing like old friends. David pointed out this and that (including the way to NASA!!!!!!) and then as we entered the burbs the signs started. Huge (and I mean HUGE) religious billboards for various mega churches and ‘Christian’ organisations. Think Queensland but like they really mean it and are not just pretending. My new friend and host told me of the proven correlation – the more big Christian signs there are the more sex shops and strip joints there are. Which is the response to which, I asked myself???

After passing the sex shops and gun stores and big signs etc etc we arrived at my guest house for the next few days. I then found my next nice surprise – Lucy the beagle/corgi cross, another new friend!!! (click the picture to see her)

Next surprise – a comic book store / coffee shop right round the corner. Geek nirvana! My final surprise was when Megan turned up – another geeky friend. This was going to be a good week!!

Unlike last week, most of this week was to be about computer stuff for online ministry. It wasn’t going to be a hands on, active service week like last week – or so I thought.

There was a lot of computer work – I watched (and took part) as David moderated the weekly online twitter chat #chsocm. I try to join in with that as often as I can and most of the people I was visiting are active in the Church and Social Media (CHSOCM) community.

Watching the magic of moderating happen was a lot of fun but not what I expected.

I expected this…..

 

I got this……

 

And this was superb – I learnt so much.

I also participated in a podcast for the Church of the Geek. This podcast was on Pilgrimage and will be available on Aug 15th (ish). I’ll link to it from here when it’s available. That was a lot of fun too and again, I learnt much. I had Facebook and Twitter lessons, fantastic stuff.

David was very generous with his time and talent and I will be implementing what he taught me when I get back and have time. I cannot thank him and Megan and Lucy (and the cats!) enough. But again I say, “Thank you!”

It wouldn’t make a good blog to read all about the two of us sitting in front of computers and geeking out over Facebook and Twitter.

What it did re-enforce in me was the fact that Church is EVERYWHERE. We did Church in the car, we did Church eating TexMex with a Bishop, we even did Church at NASA – see the next blog for that!!!

More and more as I travel around this vast country and meet people I realise that church (and by church I mean Christian living) is done very simply here. With the people I have met it is a part of everyday life and not just part of a busy Sunday. Its wonderful – church is part of the everyday lives of people, it is part of their community, it is their community….

church is EVERYWHERE!!!!

Category : News , Social Media , The Trip


Upcoming Events

Dec
23
Sun
11:00 am NATIVITY SERVICE
NATIVITY SERVICE
Dec 23 @ 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
FOLLOWED BY A VISIT FROM SANTA AND A CHRISTMAS LUNCH
Jan
27
Sun
10:00 am CHURCH PICNIC
CHURCH PICNIC
Jan 27 @ 10:00 am – 3:30 pm
 
Mar
3
Sun
3:00 pm 2019 St. David’s Day Gymanfa Ganu
2019 St. David’s Day Gymanfa Ganu
Mar 3 @ 3:00 pm – 5:30 pm
A wonderful afternoon of traditional hymns and music held at St. Michael’s U.C. on the corner of Collins and Russell Streets. Features the Blue Ribbon winner from the 2018 National Eisteddfod of Wales, Andrew P.