I have spent the last two days, while travelling to Solihull, listening to Ian Hamilton and David Meredith speaking at the North of England Church Officers’ Conference 2007. I would never have heard of it were it not for Danny Foulkes’ summary.
If you want to know about Christian leadership in relation to community, materialism, sex and being different then I can warmly recommend that you download and listen to these messages. Yes, all of them.
I came across an interesting thing yesterday. A friend of mine, who works for a FTSE-100 company, had to undergo compulsory diversity training. He had come home with a pack of booklets he had been given about Islam, published by the Islamic Propogation Centre. In other words, materials for use in prosoletising.
My friend said he thought that this was a response to the perceived mismatch between the ethnic/religious diversity of the company compared to that of the surrounding population.
I quipped, “One way to redress the balance would be to get more muslims to become employees. Another is for the company to assist in the conversion of existing ones.”
Just call it, “Diversity Training”.
It has finally happened. On 17th March I was ordained and installed as Organising Minister of Solihull Presbyterian Church. I have written an article about the service which you can read here. There you will also find links to some photos and you can download some audio mp3 files of the service.
I strongly recommend listening to the sermon and “charges”.
Enjoy and learn.
I saw some good sites today. Thought I’d pass them on:
- Christian philosopher, Alvin Plantinga, reviews Dawkins’ The God Delusion. A taster:
Now despite the fact that this book is mainly philosophy, Dawkins is not a philosopher (he’s a biologist). Even taking this into account, however, much of the philosophy he purveys is at best jejune. You might say that some of his forays into philosophy are at best sophomoric, but that would be unfair to sophomores; the fact is (grade inflation aside), many of his arguments would receive a failing grade in a sophomore philosophy class. This, combined with the arrogant, smarter-than-thou tone of the book, can be annoying. I shall put irritation aside, however and do my best to take Dawkins’ main argument seriously.
- Testimony from Anglicans to the remarkable transforming power of the Cross amongst homosexual men.
- I am not sure what to make of this last one, but I have recently come across several testimonies of former Muslims in Muslim countries, closed to Christian missionaries, who testify to the significance of dreams as they come to Christ. This site has some amazing stories. (Warning: some of these dramatisations have depictions of Christ.)
- Finally, while I was being grilled, my mate Rob Whiteway was being inducted as Assistant Pastor at Wem Baptist Church. Danny has some pictures here. I would have been there if I could have!
I didn’t post about this on Saturday night. I was just too tired…
On Saturday afternoon, at the presbytery meeting of the EPCEW in Solihull, I was licensed for the ministry in the EPCEW and then called as the organising pastor to Solihull Presbyterian Church. I have much to thank the Lord for.
On Friday I had to travel to Cambridge to meet with the relevant committee to review my presbytery exams, trial sermon and essays. Mostly positive with some constructive criticism. I enjoyed the fellowship.
The final hurdle was presbytery on Saturday. I preached the morning devotions but had to wait for the afternoon for my ‘floor exam’. The trouble with these kinds of tense occasions is that I have a tendency to become monosyllabic. There were a couple of points where I really struggled. I think the questioning took longer than it has been on other occasions I have observed. However, it finished eventually. The subsequent vote was unanimous. As I said, much to be thankful for.
Elders must shepherd the flock and guard against wolves. Both of these require skill and experience because the flock is small in the UK and wolves abound. We need well-trained men to lead churches. Therefore, though difficult, I appreciate and believe in the process that I have been taken through. (In fact, I agree with any sentiment that suggests more rigour, not less!)
Afterwards, when presbytery had finally dispersed, I felt weak with hunger. So, as well as stopping off for fuel on the way home, I stocked up on chocolate. When I got home an hour later, Susan suggested we go out for a meal to celebrate but I was just too tired. But it was a delight to be home with the family without pressure for a while.
ADDENDUM: Andy’s comment reminds me. The ordination service will take place on Saturday 17th March at 11am at Solihull Methodist Church (Google map here), followed by a light lunch. I will be sending out invitations soon to most people I can think of. But meantime if you want to come you can let me know here or by email – see my profile.