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Easter Parable: The Beam of Light

Happy Easter everyone!

With thanks to the children of St Mary’s & St Michael’s Church who helped me put together this Space Ranger parable entitled ‘The Beam of Light’. It was told on Easter Sunday 2014 at both churches for an all-age audience in place of a sermon. If you like it and it’s useful to you for future years at Easter time, feel free to use or adapt, because I’m sure you can improve it! The good bits are the kids’ work, the bits you can improve are obviously mine.

An artist's impression of a Beam of Light shooting into the sky

This morning I would like to tell you a story.

This is the story of a Space Ranger whose name is Captain Steve. He has a spaceship called the Eternal Sunrise that can travel the universe. He shoots from planet to planet, and quest to quest, a hero to the galaxy and a friend to all.

One day, as Captain Steve was journeying a thousand million light years from planet Earth, he noticed Read more

The Genesis of a Non-Story

A screen grab of the headline from the Mail on Sunday

The other day I received an email from the Comms Unit at Church House. A journalist from the Mail on Sunday had been to church (at All Souls, Langham Place for a family event) and was intrigued to see the church used projector screens and also had flat screens on pillars. She wanted to write an article about its use in church.

The journalist spoke to the Comms Unit. The Comms Unit spoke to Publishing. Spotting the chance for a bit of free promotion, the staff at CHP talked about the days of Visual Liturgy, their current work and the (relatively less complex) development of a couple of new iPad apps to help clergy with the lectionary. Finally, they said, if she wanted to know about projection, she really needed to talk to me. Read more

Bringing the cloud of witnesses close (cloud christianity)

A word cloud of famous Christian leaders and saints

Tomorrow is All Saints Day, a day to remember and honour all those who put their faith in Christ and have gone before us into glory.

As a result, it seems the perfect time to develop some ideas that I first put forward at the recent Christian New Media Conference. The more I think about the Communion of the Saints, the more I think that the Internet is opening up new dimensions theologically for that Communion. Check this out from Hebrews… Read more

Reflections from #cnmac12

Christian New Media Conference badge

On Saturday, I travelled up to Kings College, London to participate in (what was apparently) the sixth third annual Christian New Media Conference (the awards night has been running much longer).

I signed up to attend months ago, pretty much as soon as tickets were available, and as it turned out I ended up going as a contributor, leading a seminar on ancient-future lessons and what the Tradition of the church has to say to us today. Read more

Ancient-future lessons (CNMAC 2012 seminar)

An image showing an icon of St John of Damascus

This is the transcript of my seminar today at the Christian New Media Conference. Thanks to those who came to the seminar and for all your encouraging and positive interaction and feedback. For the accompanying Powerpoint, you can download it (.ppt, 7.9 Mb)

Now, as someone who has lived his Christian life through both the Anglican and evangelical traditions, images of God is not something that comes very naturally to me. I am sure we all know the Ten Commandments instruction to not make graven images (perhaps better translated as not making an idol) and not to bow down or worship them.

Indeed, the protestant churches (from which I’m guessing a good proportion of us come) generally draw their heritage from Read more

Letters after your name

A photo of a 10 metre swimming badge

It is a long way from first achievements and ten metre swimming badges. Every time I do get a certificate or qualification, I’m always reminded of a scrawny but proud seven year old with his first swimming badge. I don’t know why.

Anyway, those thoughts came again this week for two reasons. Firstly, I got my Post-graduate diploma in Ordained Ministry courtesy of my IME 4-7 (Curacy training). It can now sit nicely with my other Post-graduate diploma in Christian Theology that I received while at Ridley Hall.

Don’t ask me why I need two. I don’t… long story.

Then I also found out that I passed my Masters in Pastoral Theology (also started whilst at Ridley) with distinction. Read more

Ahead of the game…

Book jacket for Grown Up Digital by Don Tapscott

Norman Ivison is someone I worked with when I was at Church House Publishing. Norman is now Fresh Expressions’ Director of Communications and has a relatively new blog up and running.

In his latest post, he talks about Don Tapscott’s Grown Up Digital, a book I reviewed a year or two back. It’s great to see someone else plugging Tapscott’s work in a church context since we’re not always willing to apply insights from other knowledge bases and experts beyond the Christian world.

Norman has applied Don’s insights to write a post entitled ‘8 ways to keep young adults out of your church‘ and it’s definitely worth a read.

Congratulations Nick

A photo of Nick Knisely

I was very pleased to hear of an announcement in the Twittersphere earlier this week when Nick Knisely was elected on 2 June to be the 13th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island. Assuming all goes well in the process, he’ll be purple-ized later this year.

I wanted to cover this news here because Nick has been someone who I’ve followed at a semi-distance for some time. I first met him through his work for the Episcopal Church in the USA on communications and he was part of a ‘futures’ group that I helped to convene in Dublin a good few years ago now while I was working for Church House Publishing.

I remember sitting at breakfast with him and another American priest, Andy Thayer, while they discussing dimension theory and having not the foggiest clue what they were talking about! I decided to keep quiet and focus on my hotel English breakfast!

Nick is a physics professor, in his spare time, and a blogger. Read more

Gaming in Worship – I’m intrigued

Photo from Exeter Cathedral of Communion celebrated in front of Flower backdrop

A few years ago, Manchester Cathedral and the video game industry had something of a clash. I was encouraged and pleased to hear of a very different encounter between church and gaming industry from Exeter Cathedral recently.

A good friend recently alerted me to this story of a man called Andy Robertson who has collaborated with Exeter Cathedral to use video games in worship.

The service made use of the PlayStation 3 game, Flower. If you’ve not seen Flower before, it is worth Read more

Steve Jobs on vocation

If you are considering a call to the priesthood, if you are considering another ‘calling’ in terms of church life, or if you are just wondering what you ought to do with your life, this is one of the best things I have heard for a very long time.

If you’re running a Cafe Church or have a church where you can use video easily, then this can certainly be used in a discussion of vocation. It can also be used in talking about God’s will, about ‘when bad things happen’ and the good things that can come from failure or difficult times. Read more