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August gallery of clouds – watch it grow! August 3, 2011

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A little project to oversee now that I’m a paid up member of the Cloud Appreciation Society!

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Get ready for Iona’s ‘Another Realm’ May 7, 2011

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I’ve been a great admirer of the eclectic Celtic rock band Iona since my teenage years when I first heard them in a cow shed in Somerset for a few summers at New Wine/Soul Survivor events during the mid-1990s.  They were the first band I’d heard live that really captured my attention and imagination. I remember basing my GCSE Design/Communication coursework project on them (designing merchandise products!) Well, Iona are about to release their next studio album, this time a double-delight (two CDs) and if their previous albums are anything to go by this will not disappoint. In fact some samples are available to listen to on their website as they begin their latest tour. Let’s hope they choose a Midlands location in the autumn for the second leg. With song titles like ‘Ruach’, ‘White horse’, ‘Saviour’ and ‘And the angels dance’ this new offering, 93 minutes in length, promises to bring heaven to earth and capture something of God’s warm embrace.

saints and angels January 23, 2011

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A visit to Coventry yesterday included a wander round the Cathedral. I was particularly impressed with the West Screen which included inscriptions of angels and saints on the glass. This window is also the link between the old and new cathedrals affirming the continuity of Christianity down the ages. It reminded me of the line “ever old and ever new, keep me travelling along with you” from Sydney Carter’s One more step along the world I go. Above is a photo of the West Screen window. I have adapted the image slightly. It is taken from the outside of the new cathedral looking in. The area of white in the middle is a reflection of the sky above the old cathedral ruins. The flash in the pane above the centre door is my camera!

Just lately I’ve been… June 21, 2010

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…eating toasted marshmallows with Shona warmed by the chimenea (as above)… wondering if the gladioli I planted in spring will ever flower… setting up a blog for the forthcoming charity cycle challenge: bar2yar.wordpress.com… accummulating plenty of leg miles as I approach the half-marathon… struggling to finish my final NAM reading book (the words ‘treacle’ and ‘wading’ come to mind)… learning to live God’s days one at a time… humming ‘how do you like your eggs in the morning’ (from Chris Evans’ Radio 2 breakfast show)… buying bike parts like oil, mudguards, lights… watching lots of World Cup games… ‘considering the ant’ as opposed to the sluggard (see Proverbs 6)… waiting for Shona to have her first kick from baby inside (happened tonight)… picking radishes but still waiting on runner-beans… writing sermons on parables of talents and unjust/dishonest steward (prefer to call him ‘rascal’!)… listening to Bon Jovi… coveting a vuvuzela… overfeeding the fish… loving the late summer evenings (only just shut curtains, it’s 10.27pm on longest day)… eating fig rolls… checking campsites for summer holiday (going to Northumbria National Park)… attending Boys Brigade trip to police station… leading a service for renewal of marriage vows… filling in my Panini World Cup sticker album which has taken me back to doing swaps in school playground (thanks to Emilia & Esther for a great Father’s Day gift)… polishing up on a magic trick involving a spoon… learning how to ‘blaspheme the money god’ (as suggested by our ‘churches together’ speaker at ‘What do Christians say about money?’ last week)… tidying the garage… nailing a ladybird/bee box to the fence… playing with the girls in the garden… struggling to find overnight accommodation in Shrewsbury… battling with Sky customer services dept (finally concluded today!)… taking eye drops for a nice reaction to something…  and organising the town centre litter pick event.

But one thing I’m not doing this summer: dressing up as Bananaman again!

Run Reverend Run! March 26, 2010

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I have agreed to run the Birmingham/Black Country half marathon AND do a coast-to-coast cycle ride (Barmouth to Great Yarmouth) with a friend in July this year! More details over at:

http://www.charitygiving.co.uk/runreverendrun

The donations received will go towards three initiatives: Hanbury Hill Baptist Church, Brierley Hill Project, Early Childhood Centre (Uganda). Please consider offering some financial support! Every little helps!!

Black Country Prodigal Son Parable January 29, 2010

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Thought it was about time to spread a ‘lil Black Country ‘spake and post a parable from ‘The Gospels in Black Country Dialect’ book. This one is truly bostin!

E tode em a parable abahrr a bloke wi tew sons, The yungist asked is fairther ter gi im is share o munny. Is fairther gid it im. The chap went tew anuther country an blewed it all in. Wen e’d got nuthin left, e went ter wairk fer a mon wot sent ‘im ter fayd pigs. E’d a bin glad t’ate the pig swill but the mon udn’t gi im enny. E felt as tho’e wus starving ter jeth an dissidid e’d rather goo back wum. E’d ask is fairther ter fergi im an be one of is sairvents. Wen is fairther sid im cummin e run aht ter mayt im an med ever such a fuss on im. E got the sairvents ter dress im up in daycent clews an shews an purr a ring on is finger. E ad a fat calf killed soo’s thay cud aye a fayst an rijiyce cus e’d fun the son e thort e’d lost. The eldest son day alf gerr izself in a paddy abahrr it. E’d bin a gud son an stopped wi is fairther. Jesus tode em that God ud fergi sinners an luv em if thay’d gi up Thayer ayvil ways. 

Where did September go? October 5, 2009

Posted by Andy in Book Reviews, Family, Random.
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Life rattles on at quite a fast pace at the moment. September has come and gone in a flash but it was a productive month:

Loved Waste Watchers Holiday Club at church: report and photo here.

Finished reading Desmond Alexander’s interesting book ‘From Eden to New Jerusalem’: see here.

Visited the local British Legion office (in readiness for Remembrance Parade Service in local park in November) and got shown all their memorabilia.

Enjoyed taking Emilia to a local football training session led by a former Watford player, Paul Devlin.

Inspired by the stories of good citizenship at the local Police Awards Evening.

And finally… Amazed to discover that one of my friends from Primary School days, Richard Green, appeared on X Factor recently. I used to share a lift to school with him, but little did I know 20 years ago that he would one day be a national celebrity (of sorts…) See below for a good laugh:

U2 and Desmond Tutu: hope in a broken world August 24, 2009

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tutu“God will put a wind at our back and a rising road ahead, if we work with each other as one.”

These were some of the pre-recorded words on the lips of Archbishop Desmond Tutu on the video screen at the U2 concert in Sheffield last Thursday. It was a very good way of publicising the One campaign. No prizes for guessing what legendary song Bono followed Tutu’s inspiring message of love, justice and hope with (it’s the name of the campaign!), but the whole of Tutu’s video message can be seen here from a previous night of the current tour:

It was good to see some strong Christian themes woven throughout the concert. For me, perhaps one of the dominant themes was joy. Bono managed to squeeze a snippet of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy and also a quick rendition of “O come all ye faithful, most joyful and triumphant”  (Rev Black Grape version, not Christmas carol) in-between some of the material. This is a band who, in my mind, are at the top of their game and as fresh as they sounded when they first set out in 1978. On the same day as A Level students found out their results, the band members also humbly admitted to not possessing many between them although The Edge did say “more than you” when Bono asked him how many he achieved!

Steve Stockman (Presbyterian minister and chaplain in Belfast), who wrote about U2’s Christian spirituality in his book Walk On, gives a theological reflection on this current tour here.

A place that has to be believed, to be seen July 10, 2009

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u2elevation

I’m having to resist the temptation to go looking on the Internet for reviews and set-lists from the current U2 360 Tour which kicked off in Barcelona recently (though I have had a look at the ‘Claw’ which looks breath-taking). It seems a long time until they play at the Don Valley stadium in Sheffield in August but I’m sure it will live up to my expectations and hopes. To pass the time I’ve had a look at this interesting article which explores the biblical references to the whole U2 catalogue. 

Reverend Bananaman July 6, 2009

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bananaman

The Stourbridge Carnival rolled into town yesterday. The theme was ‘Food’ and the Hanbury Hill Baptist Church entry into the procession was ‘top banana’ as it is every year. In fact even the Minister was called upon to partake. A little arm twisting and cajouling and he soon agreed to join in the fun. What he hadn’t predicted was the sound of about 10 cars beeping and hooting their horns along the ring road as Reverend Bananaman raced to catch the start of the procession. “When Andy eats a banana, an amazing transformation occurs… Ever alert for the call to action!!”

If you want to see the real Bananaman in action try this: