Archive for the ‘Chesterfield’ Category

the pool

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

She had a voice like a sergeant major, and adult woman after adult woman obeyed her commands. Ironic, as her instructions were not directed at them at all. “Front crawl, back crawl, breast stroke, choice, front crawl, back crawl, breast stroke, choice!” she bellowed. “24 lengths as fast as you can – now! Harry … Ben … Bex … George … – go! … go! … go …!”

One by one the children- looking stunned – jumped or dived in – and set off. The adult women too picked up their pace, kicking harder, pointing hands,bending elbows, squeezing feet together, just as the children were commanded. This was definitely the work out they needed, even if they hadn’t signed up for it. Twenty minutes later the three boys and the girl heard the ‘well done! you succeeded!’ and the women too felt validated because they too had been compelled to go the extra mile today.

quasi Christian community

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

I used that phrase in my last post – and since then have had time to think about it. Is the quasi-ness describing the Christian, or the community or both? I’m not sure.

quasi- according to the dictionary means ‘Having a likeness to something; resembling’ … for me it means ‘not quite’ … we are not quite a Christian community here at the Compass. We are all Christians – yes. We all love Jesus – yes.

But – and this is the clincher I think- that isn’t necessarily spilling over into our everyday lives.  Not yet.

I suppose too part of the problem is each of our understanding of what community really is.

I’d like prayer to be a greater part of our community. Private prayer and communal prayer. I sit alone most mornings – breakfast  me and God – and right now I’m using Shane Claiborne’s: Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals. January’s theme is new monasticism.  I was really touched by yesterday’s illustration from the desert fathers.

A brother came to see Abba Poeman and said to him “Abba, I have many thoughts and they put me in danger”. The old man led him outside and said to him “Expand your chest and do not breathe in’. He said ‘I cannot do that’ Then the old man said to him “If you cannot do that, no more can you prevent thoughts from arising, but you can resist them”

I really liked that because it reminded me that we do have the power to resist in us. It comes from God. It is God.  And so when I’m struggling with thoughts of quasi-ness (if that’s even a word) I can recognise that for God all things are possible and what is required from me in this is to spend time with Him, to hear what He says, to obey Him in the small things as well as the bigger tasks – and to let Him be God.

A good start to a new year in this place I think.

wake up Chesterfield

Friday, October 19th, 2012

or should that be wake up me?

I had a relatively early train to catch to London this morning. It meant I left home just after 7am. It was dark. But when I got to the market area it was already buzzing with life. Some stall holders were already ready to start serving customers (I have no idea what time the market opens for trading, perhaps 7.30am?), others were unloading their wares. I had so many cheery ‘good mornings’ that I started the day with a bigger, bouncier spring in my step.  Think I ought to do this (not the early train bit!) more often.



Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

This year I’m living in an intentional Christian community. It’s called the Compass and you can find us opposite the main sorting office (PostOffice) here in Chestefield. The property is owned by a Christian Charity, and it’s a converted pub. The accommodation is upstairs and at the outset the pub part was a Christian Cafe. The idea was for it to be a ‘gathering place’ for Christians to meet non-Christians etc. Sadly right now the cafe is no longer running. More on that another time.

What does living in an intentional Christian community mean?
Different things to different people I’m finding out :) Only this summer I presented an academic paper at a conference called Power and Difference and there I used my friends at the Palace in Turku as an example of how a local expression of new monasticism can and does make a difference in the community.

The Compass isn’t there yet. Or perhaps it was – and has simply lost its way momentarily. As one of us said the other day – “we’re a bit in limbo”. So rather than reaching out I’m finding that living here means reaching in and reaching up. Reaching up to God – because without Him it’s all a waste of time, and reaching in – as in into the community itself.

I think the first step is spending time together and learning to listen to one another. And that’s not as easy as it sounds. For starters we are busy people. And secondly we might listen but we also interpret – which means that we don’t necessarily understand and communicate well. At least not the first time, or the second … or the third.

What I’m finding though -and this is so encouraging – is that setting time aside to discuss how we’re doing really helps, particularly when that time is followed by prayer and then food. Yes food. Jesus loved table fellowship and so do I. Mealtimes build community.  Yesterday one of the community cooked freshly picked corn-on-the-cob grown by a relative. It was delicious – and sacramental, every bit as precious as sharing communion on a Sunday cos God was in our midst.

here by the grace of God …


Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

somehow, beyond all hope, God intervened and I’m back in England for a year. More on that later … tonight I want to talk about this

Picture used with permission

Chesterfield is a nice town to live in. Not too big, and mostly peaceful. Only one year ago Christians Together for Chesterfield(CTfC)’s vision to be part of the increasingly national Street Pastors network. You can read more about that here

Tonight was the commissioning (and re-commissioning) of street pastors (there are now 34 of them) and the prayer pastors who support them. It was so encouraging to hear their testimonies, to see the police in church with them supporting their efforts too and also hear how – as a spin off from the Street Pastors – there had been six weeks of Christian Community activity (throughout the school summer holidays) working with children, youth and families. Crime is down and people -epecially the street pastors – are smiling. I’ve never met such a smily lot of people in ‘uniform’.

There are several ways you can support them.

  • Prayer - join our great team of Prayor Pastors who commit to praying for the Street Pastors on patrol either at our base in Grace Chapel or from home.
  • Finance – you could support us with a financial gift or commit to a regular standing order.
  • Presentations – invite us to come and speak about Street Pastors to your church or group.
  • Membership – become a member of Chesterfield Street Pastors.  It costs you nothing and you will receive regular newsletters and updates.
  • Gifts of items that we use every week - first aid supplies, tissues, wrapped lollipops etc.

And better still, why not begin praying if your community could do with seeing your church on the streets a bit more. Maybe something like this is a way forward?