Tuesday, 29 December 2009

How long to stay?

My placement began when I mae contact with my assessor. That was back at the beginning of July, so my 6 months are up on Satuarday. So, in theory, I am back at my home church as of Sunday.

I supposed I could just sneak away. I'm not one for a fuss or stuff like that anyway, but I've built up good relations with many in the congregation and it would seem rude not to say goodbye. Also, what is the social norm?

I'll definitely be in touch with my placement church - a week on Thursday I have my local review and, naturally, my local assessor will be there. Once I hear the outcome of that, I'll let the congregation know.

There's nothing to stop me visiting. I know that. But, if I am selected as a candidate for ministry, I will have to get used to constantly moving on. Building up new relationships, getting used to new customs and practices. Whatever happens, at least God will be going ahead of me, preparing the way for me.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Quick discussion

I had a quick meeting with my assessor just after morning worship. She was a little concerned about a line in my PDI report. The interviewer had written "Because she is so intelligent and can often see clearly where she wishes to lead the group - how can she achieve this without conflict!"(Punctuation is the interviewer's).

I must admit, that was the one line in the report where I thought, hang on, where did that come from? Most of the interview I thought I showed little experience of leading groups, as I do have little experience of this.

My assessor brought it to my attention so I could think about how to respond if that line is picked up on at my local review. I was glad she did - at least I won't be too thrown if one does. It also shows how much she thinks of me, which is very humbling.

I don't want to focus on this too much, but just need to keep this in mind. I'd hate to have started to mature and grow in ways I never envisioned, following God's call for me, and let this get in the way of following the path He has prepared ahead of me.


I'd been looking over my answer to John's challenge to describe the bible in 5 statements. I wasn't happy with the statements, so I've edited it. The updated version can be found here.

Friday, 25 December 2009

A child is born

Merry Christmas to everyone. May the Lord Jesus Christ be born in you afresh this Christmas.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Skiving work!

The snow has resulted in my hubbie and I taking the day off work. When finding the front path is a problem, we don't go to work. It's not as though our work is of the essential kind.

Our office only closes for the public holidays and my hubbie and I would rather have holidays when there's more interesting things to do! I normally take Christmas eve off, so I can have a long lie (usually 'till 7:30 - far out or what!!!), prepare Christmas dinner and get things ready for Christmas in the Gerbil household. Given the unexpected day off, I've now done my Christmas eve duties. At least today's been productive.

As for tomorrow, I'll worry about tomorrow tomorrow.

The bible in 5 statements

John has challenged me to:

"Summarise the Bible in five statements, the first one word long, the second two, the third three, the fourth four and the last five words long. Or possibly you could do this in descending order. Tag five people."

So, here goes...

In the beginning was God
God loved all creation
Creation turned away
Jesus Christ

I tag:

Anne Droid
Crabbit Besom

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Nearly finished

Last night I spent the evening filling in the applicant's report form for the end of the co-ordinated field assessment. I've been at this placement since early July, so the new year will also be an end of it too.

I was surprised how long filling in the form took me - 2.5-3 hours - but I have done and learnt so much during this time with my assessor. I actually feel I could have written more, but it was perhaps getting excessive as it was!

Now, I'll wait and see what my PDI and local assessor's reports say. Hopefully, I don't disagree with then too much, particularly my assessor.

I'm much more aware of where I am, with my call and my self, following this placement. I've also been much more reflective and open to learning than I was at my last placement, though my assessor there didn't make that easy - late or no feedback, irregular meetings etc. That said, I was probably breezing through, not really engaging with the process and he was ill too.

I'm be sad to leave my current placement, but I know I'll have to get used to this if I'm accepted for training. I also know it's going to be stage going back to my home church and just sitting in the pews, though I think I'll make the most of it while I still can!

I may be nearly finished this part of my journey, but God alone knows where the rest of my journey will lead.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Slow down - breathe

I lead the whole of worship this morning and, to be frank, I was wetting myself. Really wetting myself. While I have lead the whole of a service of worship before, that was at my home church. Although I was nervous there, I wasn't nearly as nervous as today. Yes, I have built up good relationships with many in the congregation, but I'm not as comfortable as I am at home.

Overall, I feel my delivery was good. I know I have a clear voice and ever those with hearing difficulties can hear me well. The service came together quite well, though I'm sure I could have selected more appropriate hymns and probably cut down the readings. I followed the lectionary and used the whole of 3 of the readings for today. On reflection, the first reading was too long. I needed to only use the part of that scripture I then talked about in my sermon.

I know I was more nervous during the second service as in the second from front row there was my hubbie, Mum, mother- and sister-in-law. It was great to have their support, but it still made me nervous.

My placement church has a rota of people who lead the bible readings. At the second service the person doing this managed to jump onto another part of the page, just after finishing the passage. I did notice and gently whispered in her ear. After the service I thanked her for the readings and told her not to worry about it. Not many people where following the readings and no-one else would notice.

My sermon seemed to go down well. I had a couple of jokes in it and they both, thankfully, got a laugh. I have timed my sermon to 13-14 minutes. During the second service I apparently had it done with in under 11! This despite the little voice at the back of my head saying "slow down - breathe". That's something I can learn from and, as I get more practice, become more aware and confident in.

And, do you think I could pronounce Zephaniah? Normally, I can pronounce it no problem. Not today. No. When I got to that in my sermon (5 times - I changed them when I could during the sermon, so I didn't have to say it as often!) I just couldn't get my mouth to do what my brain told it to do! Again, I think this comes back to I need to relax, slow down and breathe.

After the service many people thanked me for a good service. While I know that's not particularly constructive, I still feel it's nice they bothered. In my experience, if people dislike what's been said they usually don't comment at all.

Again, there's much to learn and ponder over on the back of today's services. The main thing I need to remember, though, is I have much more time than I think I do, so I need to take it.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Sunday coming

As I mentioned here, I'm leading the whole service on Sunday. Everything, bar the children's address, is prepared. I let my assessor have a look at my early drafts for advice/feedback and have taken her advice on board. There wasn't much which needed changed - I'd even made some changes along the lines of the ones she suggested prior to her getting back to me. The biggest changes I made were to my opening prayer, which was far too "wordy". My assessor didn't think it needed changed, but when I re-read it I thought, that just doesn't sound like me at all.

I hope the service comes together okay and I get God's message of love to the congregation.

Now, I've to wrap empty boxes for the children's address.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Third pre-delivery inspection

I had my third PDI yesterday. Officially it's called a personal development interview, but given the letters are the same as the letter for a pre-delivery inspection on a new car, my hubbie (and now I) refer to it as such. In some ways, I suppose it is - a mental inspection before the local review. But, that's neither here nor there...

The interviewer was the same as my last 2 PDIs. So at least I knew the person I was going to see, if not the questions he'd put to me. Firstly he asked why I'd had an extension on my placement.

I told him it was as I'd not had a chance to look at some aspects of ministry and to show my last assessor how I'd learnt from various issues which had come to light at my last placement. Given my current placement is a full 6 month one and at a new place, it has been being treated by my new assessor as a clean slate, so to speak.

My PDI interviewer asked how I dealt with criticism. I gave an example which he said could be regarded more as my assessor teaching me. Although that is partly true, I told the PDI interviewer how I view all feedback - either positive or negative - as criticism. I listen to it and, most of the time, use that feedback for the next time I'm in a similar situation. If there's something which has been pointed out to me that I don't agree with the other person's stand point I'll explain why I've done something a certain way. I'm not sure ff that was the answer either ministries council, my local review team etc will like, but it was honest.

My interviewer asked how I dealt with conflict. Unfortunately, that hasn't been something I've had to deal with in my current placement and I recall was something which my last local review stated I needed to look at. I did say I've had situations at work where a group of my colleagues have been discussing a big news item. Although I agreed the crime was appalling I thought the full condemnation of the criminal was excessive. I suggested to my colleagues to think about possibly why the criminal would be like that. My interviewer liked the idea of me using the example of getting people to look at situations from others' prospectives.

I was also asked what style of decision making I would have in ministry. Autocratic of democratic? Democratic. Getting as many people, from the congregation (and wider community), as possible on board strikes me as the best way to go. I did say I was aware sometimes I would have to make decision which may be unpopular with everyone. That said, I would still try to get as many people as possible on board and, hopefully, they would see why the difficult decision had to be made.

So, I wait to see what my latest PDI report says. Perhaps I'm being negative, but I don't think it's going to be as favourable as my last one! Oh well, if God's really calling me, I'll get exactly what I need.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009


I'm leading the whole service on Sunday coming. It's all prepared, though I do need to go over it and maybe change it a touch. All the key ingredients are there. I just need, as my assessor puts it, to let it "stew down". Make the ingredients palatable, so to speak.

No, that's not why I'm nervous. So far, my mother and hubbie are coming to the service. As is possibly my mother-in-law. Then, if my mother-in-law comes, my sister-in-law and her hubbie might come too. At this point I'd like to state my mother- and sister-in-law are regular church goers. Every Christmas eve you'll find them at a watchnight service!

So, no pressure, then!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

What's love got to do with it?

As the hymn says "He came down that we may have love", yet in the run up to Christmas - the day we celebrate that love made flesh in Jesus - I don't see that much love. I see buying for the sake of buying, drinking for the sake of drinking. And, if you don't go along with it, if you don't buy (pardon the pun) into this consumer spend, spend, spend mentality you're either a bah-humbug person or terribly, terribly religious. I have had both reactions from my colleagues recently.

I posting my rants about why I both love and hate Christmas (here and here). Over on Nik's blog she's posted a video which pretty much sums up my thoughts and, I'm sure, many Christians at the moment.

I pray love will be at the centre of all celebrations this year. Maybe one day...