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The Rev-iew

A still image from the first episode of Rev

Last night saw the debut of BBC2’s new comedy drama ‘Rev’ with Tom Hollander. Tom plays Rev Adam Smallbone, a new Vicar in an inner-city parish, with a standard array of peculiar characters orbiting Hollander’s star. In rev-iewing it now (oho, see what I did there?), I guess I give it a cautious thumbs-up. 6.5 to 7 out of 10.

To deal with the criticisms first, it kind of annoyed me that they had to start the series off by him waking up with a hangover, then proceeding to swear regularly and smoke at every opportunity. It’s too easy and too fatuous a laugh to portray the sort of Father Jack (from Father Ted) school of priesthood, burnt-out and only able to smoke, drink and swear. On another level, however, I am not sure if my annoyance is with the programme or with my fellow clergy who I know behave just like that. Long before Rev Smallbone was seen on my screen, I’ve felt my hackles rising Read more

Welcome to the new Bishop of Rochester

A photo of James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester designate

With all the kerfuffle about the election in this country and the new ‘progressive’ alliance at the heart of Government, I guess it was unsurprising that the nomination for the Bishop of Rochester sank to the bottom of the respective in-trays for David Cameron and Her Majesty the Queen. It has, apparently, been sorted for some time but awaiting their sign-off. Anyway, yesterday Downing Street finally announced that The Queen has approved the nomination of Bishop James Langstaff for election as Bishop of Rochester.

It’s good to finally know who my Diocesan Bishop is going to be going forward from this point and it’s great to be able to welcome Bishop James to the Diocese of Rochester. Now all I need is a Vicar!

It has got to be a hard thing to be newsworthy on a day when the country is being given an extremely harsh, ‘wake-up and smell the prune juice’ budget from the Chancellor and the nation’s ability to digest such financial news is diluted and diverted by a do-or-die World Cup game for England in the offing (now thankfully over, and thankfully game won).

It’s possibly even harder to be newsworthy when the appointment seems to have come out of left-field. Various names were mentioned, various favourites were being named openly around the Diocese in the last twelve months since Bishop Michael resigned, and not once can I remember hearing of James Langstaff. I quite like that, I think. It spikes the guns of all the factions for a time while they all try and work out if they won or not!

One of the favourites that I heard mentioned (Bishop Nick Baines) has blogged about the appointment. It is certainly good and interesting to hear what Bishop Nick has to say as someone who Read more

Café Church station: Jobs Board

A photo of an example Job Board advert

This month at our Café Church, I have to confess that I wasn’t much involved and so don’t have much to share.

HOWEVER!! I do have one idea to share which went down very well.

The service as a whole was looking at the subject of the church with one definite thread looking at how we contribute together as a body and all need to be using our gifts to benefit one another.

For one of the prayer stations, I did a Jobs Board. Ahead of time, I asked all the different groups in the church if they had any jobs that needed doing. We got all sorts of responses from the usual need for more children’s workers to very specific things like wanting a Bass player for one of the worship groups!

To set-up the jobs board, I used some very simple Word-style templates straight out of my Mac Pages template section (see this image for example) that picked up the idea, very familiar from universities, of a pull-tab flyer poster where you can rip off one of the contact slips at the bottom. We did a whole bunch of ‘jobs’ in this way and put them up on the wall.

It worked really well and we had a nice double effect going on. On one hand, people ripped off the tabs and so had something to take away with them and to act upon. The other effect was that people following them could see which ‘jobs’ were popular and which had yet to receive interest. Worked really nicely, recommended.

The World Cup and the Church

A photo of Bobby Moore, England captain in 1966

On a personal level, I am about to embark on my once-every-four-years month-long trial of both tortuous nervousness, mixed with moments of sheer joy and hope, culminating in bleak disappointment and despair. Yes, the FIFA World Cup is here again.

As regular readers will know, I’m a football fan. In fact, for once, I have more reason to be cheerful about football than usual given that my beloved Tottenham Hotspur have actually managed to achieve something and qualified for the Champions League next season.

Even more important to me, however, than Spurs’ impending European adventure is the hope that I will one day live to see England win their second World Cup. I wasn’t around for the first one and the thought that I might never see my compatriots lift the most-hallowed trophy in football fills me with dread. So I will be watching the games, an anxious knot in my stomach, knowing that the chances of failure are more real than the chances of success. I’ll be watching knowing that if we foul it up, it’s another four years until we get another chance. However, I will also be watching hoping and praying that England actually play to their potential and beyond and conquer the world.

All that aside, however, this World Cup represents the first opportunity for me to actually influence church activity during the tournament. I’m intrigued and fascinated by the way our nation changes once every couple of years for a month or so. England flags appear everywhere, people actually talk to each other in the street, enormous crowds gather to share good-natured community, the stock-market goes up and generally the feel-good factor is enormous. It’s also, I think, a great opportunity for the Church to engage with our nation, to share a common passion and to show that some of us at least are actually normal people… just people who happen to believe and trust in God. Read more