|Southwark Cathedral & Education centre|
So I’ve made it to half term and am grabbing some time to write the next update before the chaos starts again. Actually I say that, but so far it has not been too chaotic, we seem to have fallen into a rhythm that works for us as a family and whilst there will undoubtedly be weeks when deadlines fall where things may not run so smoothly, so far so good!
This term I have 2 modules to study, one for evenings at Southwark, which is ‘Church in Practice’ and one for the weekends, which is focusing on Mission. Church in Practice (or CiP) covers the history of the Christian church, how patterns of worship formed, ie: why we do what we do in our churches. Also looking at the Christian calendar: events that are celebrated annually in the church - Easter and Christmas being the obvious but there are loads more. We started this module looking at liturgy which is the way services are formed – the wording, the various components that are included in each service and so on. Got to admit I thought this was going to be a pretty dull module to start on, but I have actually found it fascinating. So, for example did you know that early Bishops in the church were chosen according to how well they could lead services by listening to the Holy Spirit and being guided by him (I think the technical term for this might be ‘winging it’ !). Seriously, I loved reading this because this is how I try and live my life, just being guided by God not according to some set pattern.
The module on Mission which we are taught on over the weekends is just amazing. It’s an area that I feel passionate about anyway but the teaching has been so inspiring. Mission is basically taking the message of Jesus out into the world, not just by telling people about him, but by showing them. So it can include things as diverse as community projects, praying for people on the street, events and more. We have had a guy called Ian Mosby to come and tutor us who runs a project in London called ‘Moot’, which basically allows people to explore spirituality within a Christian context. He shared some startling statistics that showed that in a survey of non-Christians in the UK, over 75% would agree that they have some sort of belief in a force of good, possibly God, and accept that humans are spiritual; but of those less than 10% would look to the church for answers. That is exactly what Moot is addressing – helping people ask those kind of spiritual questions in a non traditional church format. Very inspiring.
As part of this module we also get to do a mission placement project and our group will be going to St Peter’s church in Henfield, which is very local to us here. We’ll be helping to put on a nativity festival in the church which I’m really excited about. If you’re local, it will be starting over the weekend of 7/8 December so do pop along.
I’ve also just finished my first assignment (just in time to enjoy half term!). It was a 2000 word essay entitled; ‘To what extent has observance of the Christian year been a unifying factor in the history of Christian worship?’. Which is probably enough to send anyone to sleep and anyone who I have mentioned it to seems to glaze over within seconds, but I have found the research really interesting.
Our second study weekend was at an ex-army hotel in Gillingham, which let’s face it, is not the nicest town in the world, but compared to the stone cell I had on the previous weekend was actually pretty luxurious. And of course it had actually hit the 21st century, I mean I even had a teasmaid in the room this time… I think like most of our venues there are little quirks, like the fact that we had to use one big room for most of the things we did, so while we were holding times of worship, the staff would often be setting up for dinner in the other half of the room, or clearing away from breakfast. Needless to say there were several bouts of stifled giggles when odd clanking noises occurred in particularly reverential parts of the services (maturity doesn’t come along with being a Christian clearly…).
Well lots really, after the low of the first weekend it has all been pretty much uphill. Plus a trip to Disneyland, Paris last week which has nothing whatsoever to do with college but it was amazing!
Rough stuff //
: Getting lost in a park in Gillingham – decided on an early morning run and got hopelessly lost in a park near our hotel and ended up running twice as far as I wanted and nearly missing breakfast. Thankful for a random dog walker who pointed me in the right direction!
: Two weekends away within the space of a few weeks – this is a one off as we had an induction weekend as an extra this term. Pretty rough on us all to be honest, but thankfully the next one isn’t until the end of November now.
Prayer Stuff //
: I’m approaching a very busy few weeks with 3 family birthdays, a new project at work hopefully getting off the ground, Christmas preparation, planning the Mission Project and another assignment due. So prayer for peace, no stress and good time management would be great.
: For Phil & the family, for good quality family time, for continued ease in general organisation, and for understanding all round when I am snowed under!
So, that’s all for now, thanks for your continued support,