week 11 update

Hello one and all. Pentecost greetings.

Please see below another mix of resources etc. All or none of which may be of use or not. Thanks again to those who fed back or suggested resources. It was great to have a response from one of our Anglican colleagues, Roger Woods, who is minister of the Baptist/ Anglican Ecumenical church at Kings Heath. For some musical suggestions that have encouraged him please see below.
I have just been asked to do an online preach and the guidance is to preach for 5-10 minutes because that is what works online apparently. That is the length of most people’s concentration in this new medium of communication. One could say that this leads to a dumbing down of the message, more Pam Ayers than Wordsworth, more Spice Girls than Beethoven.

But my suspicion is twofold. It is resulting in preachers really having to reconsider their message in the light of their audience ‘predicament’ – namely sitting on a sofa sipping coffee with the possibility of being distracted at any moment. This new situation requires a different skillset and communication approach to that which many of us have exercised for years from the pulpit.  I think we have sometimes been somewhat toffee-nosed about some of our ecumenical colleagues' eight-minute ‘homilies’, but here we are, and some at least are recognising the real expertise involved in the SHORT. And not only that, but that it can still be beautiful, meaningful, and filled with God’s Spirit, perhaps even making more room for God’s spirit to be heard and received through others. Which brings me on to my second point …

But perhaps even more interesting is the movement away from ‘one-person does it all’ (or one small group of wonderfully talented people does it all) towards what some would call a multi-voiced community (see Stuart & Sian Murray Williams book). I heard this past week of one minister who asked several people to look at the passage for the approaching Sunday and to come prepared to express a view on what struck them about it. Nothing new about that if it were a Bible Study, but as part of Sunday worship, I think it was probably wonderfully liberating. A movement away from the minister being the ‘answer giver’ to them being an ‘enabler, encourager & guide’ of others as each does the work of grappling with Scripture. I like that.

Now, what is that quote???…  Maimonides ( according to Wikipedia was a medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher who became one of the most prolific and influential Torah scholars of the Middle Ages) “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

I want to say Amen to that. "Amen!"


I start the remainder of this email with a request for prayer which you some of may have already seen on FaceBook. Beth Fleming, the wife of David Fleming, minister of Limbury Baptist Church, Luton is seriously ill in hospital. Beth contracted Covid-19 and, although she was thought to be over it, has never fully recovered. She is now suffering from a number of serious problems resulting in multiple organ failures and the medical interventions are limited. The situation is very grave. Please hold in your prayers, Beth, who remains critically ill, David, and their children, Sarah, James, Andrew and Callum at this most difficult time.


“Please return your church's AGM representative’s contact details to Stephen Copson asap. Directions for the Zoom AGM location will be sent in due course. Details where to join the opening part of the Assembly will also be forwarded soon."

The Baptist Union is seeking to identify people involved in the breadth of chaplaincy work across the country to explore what they need to be supported, encouraged and networked. This may mean sectors including NHS or healthcare, education, retail or industry etc.  People in full time chaplaincy are easy to identify. Less so those among us where the chaplaincy is an additional commitment to their primary role as church minister, pioneer or whatever.

This relates to those people appearing on the BUGB database ThankQ, which will include accredited ministers, retired ministers or unaccredited ministers. If this means you, and you would like to be added to the networking, please get in touch with Stephen Copson to say how you function as a chaplain.


Scripture Union has contacted me to offer support to churches during Lockdown and the transition as the restrictions are lifted. See links below:

Picking up on my musical suggestions Roger Woods adds two more…

  • A daddy/daughter singing duet, Mat and Savannah Shaw form Utah, who have the most exquisite voices, and have made a number of recordings of songs from musicals etc. An example would be them singing The Prayer, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqFCbtRz1Z0. Many have commented on the sheer love and appreciation that the Dad has for daughter
  • Since St Patrick's Day, every Tuesday the Getty family (of modern hymn writing fame, many with Stuart Townend) have been hosting a family singalong with usually 3 of their kids, who are not very old.  2 things have struck me, that they are teaching the young quite meaty hymns (old and new), with great theological content, and also the patience of the man to be able to play the piano so calmly when the girls are messing around and "cuddling" him around his neck!  It is very funny.

From Durham University (came to me via Lichfield Diocese) Centre for Digital Theology

Everyone Welcome to the Future Is about embracing an exciting future. There are a lot of new online churchgoers - the document tries to work out how many. Then it suggests how to welcome people into church and faith today, and how to plan for a mixed in-person-online church future. Lockdown and online give us a unique opportunity to re-think and re-grow our churches. Will we take the enormous opportunity we have been given? Read: Everybody Welcome to the Future

Everybody Welcome Online - UPDATE!

  •    Safeguarding
  •    Church Stories
  •    Good Practice
  •    How to Conduct Great Online PCC Meetings
  •    Zoom
  •    Accessibility and Online Church
  •    Spiritual and Theological Reflections Link


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