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Showing posts from January, 2009

A Video Study in Preaching

On Christmas Eve a few weeks ago I came home after spending an evening with some of my congregation and turned on the telly for a few minutes. On one channel was midnight mass, coming I think from some Catholic church. A man was preaching as I turned on and although I can't remember what he was saying, and I only watched for about a minute, I remember the tone of his voice very strongly. It was a typical "vicar voice" - terribly posh with its own distinct cadence. If you don't know what kind of voice I'm thinking of then listen to Radio 4 at 8 o'clock on any Sunday morning. Some days later again I was flicking through my channels and happened to stop at the Evangelical Christian radio station that's on my Freeview. Again I was hearing a sermon. But this time the voice was distinctly different, it was younger, and somehow it felt different. There wasn't a strong regional accent, but there was an informality and energy to the preaching that you rarely he

The Nite Cafe

I haven't (so far) written that much on this blog that relates directly to my ministry in Bolton. But it is worth talking here about our Nite Cafe project, because it is an example of the kind of radical missional ministry inside-out-church thinking that I' trying to promote here. The following article appears in the most recent edition of The Inquirer. There are two sides to Bolton town centre. There is the daytime side – when the streets are full of people shopping and when many businesses and shops are in operation. And then there is the night time Bolton . This is a very different beast. Like many other cities and towns all over the UK , Bolton town centre has a thriving night life – what is usually referred to by the town council as the “Night Time Economy.” At Bank Street Unitarian Chapel we had spent more time thinking about the daytime Bolton than the night time Bolton . We have a cafĂ© on Thursday mornings that many people drop in to; as a member of Chr

What is ministry?

Something silly leading to a theological question: I'm filling out a form on a dating website. And one of the questions aks, "What are you doing with your life?" i.e. what's your job? Nevertheless the way the question is asked suggests an answer with a verb, not a noun. And a lot of people choose to answer this question without talking about their paid employment. So partly because of the way the question is asked, and partly because I think it will put people off to say I'm a minister, I'm trying to think of another way to answer that question. So what would you say that being a professional minister is doing ? Without using the word "church" or "minister" - what would you say ministry is doing?

Latest from Bill

While I was writing the last post I was listening to the latest sermon from Bill Darlison. Much worth chewing on as usual. How about this definition of Unitarianism: "Liberal in politics; Humanist in philosophy; Anti-metaphysical; Materialist; Agnostic with regard to God and life after death." Discuss...? Now I think about it, it seems familiar, is that from somewhere? And here's another one: "The only scholars we have are historians." There's a very perceptive observation. Very important thing to note, and to be concerned about.

EC election results

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you all. Before Christmas the results of the Executive Committee was announced. It's worth noting that these results were posted immediately on the website , which didn't happen three years ago. The website's much better at keeping up-to-date nowadays. Here's the new folks elected: Joan Cook Jim Corrigall Elisabeth (Lis) Dyson-Jones Dot Hewerdine Andrew Pakula Ann Peart Peter Soulsby David Usher All I will say about this group is that there are a lot more people that believe in CHANGE in there. And I think that's a good thing. But for now I'm much more interested in what the electoral register reveals. The number of people on this register was 3933, which is considerably more than the number in 2006 - which was 2563. Now the number of Unitarians has not increased by that much since 2006, rather the way in which the electoral papers were distributed enabled a g