Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: birmingham, Brandwood, easter journey, photography, st bede's brandwood, urban, urban nature, urban walking
I usually post shots from the top of hills from when I’m out walking. I climb this hill almost every day from St Bede’s and home at the bottom. This is a stunningly beautiful shot that Meenakshi took yesterday.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: autumn, birmingham, Brandwood, photography, spirituality, urban walking, walking
It’s been a demanding month or two. A day off today and I am tired, although I can feel creative energy beginning to bubble at a deep level.
Out for an hour or two in the late autumn sunshine to stock up on some good bread, fruit and salad. A circular route that, in the middle of the city, stays away from roads.
Time to ponder and reflect on the paths and roads of the past months and to look forward to those which are in view. Perhaps more on this in the next post.
The first winter wind is here. I zipped up my coat as I watched the canal.
This skip hire base, next to the council tip, reminds me of Our Mutual Friend with its steadily growing piles of bricks and dust.
yet next to it is the reservoir hemmed in by the beauty of derelict parts of factories and another canal
In this moment of the year we see the underlying structures and skeletons of things laid bare in the dropping of the leaves and the light of the low sun
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Advent, Advent journey, bbc radio, bishop david urquhart, Brandwood, councillor barry henley, darkness, estates ministry, hanukkah, hope, light, peshawar, st bede's brandwood, suffering, urban ministry, woodthorpe school
We are reeling from the terrible news from Peshawar yesterday. 141 people, mostly children, slaughtered in an attack on a school. Things don’t seem to have changed much since the massacre of the Holy Innocents in Bethlehem which the Church remembers each year on December 28th. It is bleak and dark. We are shocked, we doubt, we lament, we cry, we light candles.
As the news of this started to come through yesterday, I was in amongst it in one of those busy pre-Christmas days. I spent the early afternoon helping at the Learning Disabilities Chaplaincy Christmas Service. This is up the road at Monyhull. This is special for many reasons. There are strong links. When St Bede’s were rebuilding after the fire, our congregation were welcomed in by the church made up of folk with learning disabilities and their carers and, for a few years, the two congregations were one. My Grandad spent his life as Head Porter in a similar place. It is wonderful to be with this Church and I have such a lot to learn there. It was good to be joined by Bishop David who cemented his reputation there as the man who lies down in services.
The current austerity and attack on the NHS is in evidence though. There were far fewer residents present than usual. Many of the homes are now run by private companies, making it very hard for the Chaplaincy to work in a coherent way; staffing is cut to the bone; there are not enough staff to enable everyone who wants to to attend. After Mass and carols we ate mince pies together. I’m not sure if J. broke his record for eating them.
I was then kindly by Councillor Barry Henley to accompany Bishop David and Sior, the Chaplain, to Barry’s house where we joined in the lighting of the first candle of Hanukkah. It was moving to reflect together on the meaning of this miracle against the background of the school massacre. Light shone in the darkness; oppression is faced by justice and righteousness. Some of these thoughts should be broadcast soon on Radio WM.
In the evening I went to Woodthorpe Junior and Infant School for their Christmas Concert. It’s been wonderful to have a link with this school for many years. I sat in a hall full of parents and grandparents as the children sang wonderfully Christmas songs. This excitement and joy is a response to the darkness of terrorism. Children and schools acting in the way they should so that children grow and flourish, learning practically to respect other people and value life.
The light shines in the darkness.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: baverstock, Brandwood, druids heath, estates, estates ministry, school
Tonight’s Panorama on BBC 1 is about Baverstock, a secondary school up the road from here. This looks worth watching. The school fights tooth and nail to keep all young people in education rather than excluding those who are particularly disruptive. All the pupils in the LEAP Unite got 5 GCSEs and 60% got A*-C grades.
Details of the programme are here
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Brandwood, jesus shaped people, jesus shaped people in birmingham, jesus shaped people in st bede's brandwood, jesus shaped people in st gabriel's weoley castle, outer estates, outer estates ministry, st bede's brandwood, st gabriel's weoley castle, urban ministry, weoley castle
St Gabriel’s, Weoley Castle and St Bede’s, Brandwood have just begun Jesus Shaped People, a season in which we work in a concentrated way to be the sort of people the Church could be if it followed the model that Jesus gave his disciples.
I will post some more detailed reflections on this later, but I have set up a new blog:
that will contain material from Jesus Shaped People. This will include notes from the sermons each week and the groups meeting during the week. This is as a resource for those taking part.
In the meantime, if you have any questions, please ask. And if you are a person who prays, please pray for the parishes.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: birmingham, Brandwood, doors, gardens, wine
While some of us choose to regard the world through the window, I went out into the garden
Again, there was a book and a glass of something good.
In the last of the summer sun, the first autumn cool in the air, I was reminded how important it is to sit and be
and I found myself regarding the various doors here and their possibilities