The last months have been really hectic with a busy Christmas, kid’s mocks, wider-family health issues (aside from ongoing kids issues), college, work and new projects. We have just about squeezed a weekend away in for Nicki and myself, but have not found time to write newsletters! Sorry!
Work has been increasingly fruitful. Fusion club has matured well and we have great fun each week with the 20 kids who come. They are really enjoying it and we are discovering that for some of them this is the only club that they can come to and feel happy in. They are also asking more questions about faith and are even becoming almost silent when listening to us talk! Nicki has connected to the mums and is continuing her pastoral work with them. It feels good being rooted into the community around the church like this.
I (Kevin) have a number of smaller projects on the go and some bigger ones too. I help with the toddler group to allow more pastoral time for other workers and have made good connections with different parents including the Dad’s of the twins (we have three sets who come!) Parents of twins need a lot of support we feel! I have also been co-leading a Christianity Explored course and I am working on the church fundraising for the new building extension. I feel like a lot of the group work is paying off and more people are coming along from the groups to Sundays also.
I have started an evening service called Restores My Soul, that is a development of the Just Be group I was running. It is a very meditative and gentle service. We use the Northumbria Community’s Evening prayer as a base but have a variety of meditations as well as some choruses and Taizé chants. I am really pleased to see the Just Be group leading so much of the service and with great confidence. The practice of the Contemplative prayer and Ignatian prayer has developed useful skills for this new service.
If contemplative prayer has really been effective then the inward pursuit of God should result in a fresh engagement in the world too. Over Christmas I have met Michael who has started the Ark project (http://www.caap.org.uk) to offer a bed, shelter and support to rough sleepers in Reading in a renovated double-decker bus! I have prayed a lot, visited and taken food to the homeless, first with Impact and then with others over the last few years, always asking what I could do to be more engaged and make more of a difference. I have joined Michael and team as a trustee as I felt the Ark had identified a gap in provision of shelter for Reading rough sleepers. It is a wild and challenging ride! We are setting up the charity and the bus is taking shape with heating, power and a paint job all provided for. Much remains to be physically done let alone work out how to operate and get the staff and volunteer capacity we will require. However I am really excited about it.
I am also pleased to be training with Nicki again at CMS. I missed her last quarter. We are looking at Pastoral Care and Ethics but I had a great week away looking at The Bible in Context led by the author and academic John Drane. I have a lot of writing and reading to do as I get two large portfolio assignments in for 25th April! We both continue to find the pioneer training at CMS stimulating and our fellow students fun and inspiring.
I hope that fills you in on where we are up to right now.
Kevin, Nicki, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh
- 11-12 March: Kevin visiting Plymouth and speaking at St Jude’s in the morning.
- 22 April: Ark Bus launch party!
- 25 April: Assignment deadline!