Tag Archives: church

2013 Project365 (Day 97)

ThanksgivingToday we had a really lovely day as it was The Little Mister’s thanksgiving service. We decided not to have him baptised but wanted to have a little service to say thankyou to God for him and welcome him into the Christian church.

Lots of our family attended which was really special for us and we were thrilled that they could share our day with us. Also my Uncle Nick was able to do the service as he is a Bishop in Argentina and was over visiting for a few days. Today’s picture is of part of the service and obviously wasn’t taken by me. My Auntie Karen sent it to me and she also does photo of the day and she blips over here.

Here is also a bonus picture as I just love this photo of my beautiful boy. He is also wearing the most awesome tank top ever!
Gorgeous boy

2012 Project365 (Day 257)

Courage CelebrationToday I flew to London to go to the Courage 25 year anniversary service. Jeremy Marks, the founder of Courage, is semi-retiring and as a result Courage will be ceasing in it’s current form and taking on a new format called The Two 23 Network. It looks like it should be really exciting and I can’t wait to see how things develop.

The Thanksgiving Service was absolutely lovely, although a little lengthy, which was a bit of a shame as it meant that I wasn’t really able to spend much time chatting with people. One of the nicest things about the service though was hearing people talk about their experiences of being at Courage and also the impact that Jeremy has had on their lives. Dave Tomlinson spoke at the service and was really challenging.

I miss seeing the Courage members. Over the years their support and faith has been both comforting and inspirational. Whilst being in Guernsey is, without a doubt, the right thing for us, it doesn’t stop me missing people and having input from them. Courage has played such a major part in my own life over the last 15 years, and I truly appreciate all that the organisation has done for me over this time.

It has been a lovely day, but now I am absolutely shattered! I think I need to take it easy tomorrow! This photograph is the beautiful window at St Luke’s and Christ Church in Chelsea which is where the service was.

2012 Project365 (Day 154)

A Jubilee Street PartyIt has a busy day. I sang at the wedding and then I raced off to town to attend a Street Party. My Mum and Dad attend Eldad Elim Church and they were involved in helping to organise a street party in the road outside the church.

It was brilliant and they reckon that they probably had about 300 people attending. Hopefully they had some people from the flats that surround the church because it is a reasonably deprived area by Guernsey standards. There was a face-painter, a man making balloon models (who was brilliant!!), hula hooping, Splat the Rat, a bouncy castle, a band and people dancing. It was a lovely atmosphere and most importantly, there was a lot of cake!!!

2012 Project365 (Day 153)

Rose WindowTomorrow I am singing with Bel Canto at a wedding at St Peter’s Church in Guernsey so we had a quick rehearsal this evening. It is a beautiful church but has such a sloping aisle and it also has this beautiful window which I believe was designed fairly recently. It is gorgeous and the light coming through it is heavenly, unfortunately this photo just doesn’t quite capture it fully!

2012 Project365 (Day 96)

Town ChurchI am not entirely happy with this picture because that annoying car got in the way!

This is the Town Church in Guernsey and apparently there is evidence that there has been a church on this site since 1048. It has lovely acoustics but it is really hard to see anything when you are sat in there because there are too many pillars in the way! The church is right in the centre of the town, overlooking the harbour and there are more pictures here if you are interested.

2012 Project365 (Day 22)

Day 22 - St Matthew's ChurchAfter a big Sunday lunch Mum and The Mister and I managed to drag ourselves out for a walk. The light was starting to go so this picture doesn’t have quite the same brightness I would have hoped for.

This is St Matthew’s Church which was completed in November 1854. It has quite an interesting history as a young girl, Marianne Carey felt sorry for all the local fishermen who had to travel all of two miles to their local church raised the money to build the church. She raised £1600 for the building and continued to raise money for the Vicar’s stipend.

I love this church, and in particular I love this view of the circular back wall, in the sunlight the beautiful Guernsey granite seems to glow. It can be seen right from the beach which would seem particularly appropriate as it is the fisherman’s church.

I also love this little church as my Grandpa and Gran Nora and Auntie Doris and Auntie Reta as well as my great-grand-parents are all buried in the graveyard here. You could say that this is truly my family church!

Philippa Stroud, sexuality and me

I was a little bit bemused to take a look at my WibStats and find out in that in the last 24 hours the number of unique visitors to my blog had increased by 166%. Now, by anyone’s standards this is quite impressive. However, I then was meandering through a few groups on Facebook and discovered that someone has posted a link through to my blog from a group called “If Cameron cares an ounce about LGBT people, he’ll sack Philippa Stroud”. They link my blog to the group by stating that “her [Philippa Stroud’s] church, New Frontiers, doesn’t just have an issue with lgbt people, but also women”.

I have to admit that I am quite bemused by this link and thought that the subject deserved a mention.

This subject has come up due to an article in The Guardian newspaper entitled “Rising Tory star Philippa Stroud ran prayer sessions to ‘cure’ gay people”. The article stated that the leaders of the church that Philipppa was involved in were praying for people to be ‘released’ from their homosexuality and there is a quote from a transexual girl who said that

“She [Philippa] wanted me to know all my thinking was wrong, I was wrong and the so-called demons inside me were wrong. The session ended with her and others praying over me, calling out the demons. She really believed things like homosexuality, transsexualism and addiction could be fixed just by prayer, all in the name of Jesus.”

The interesting thing for me is that I was certainly aware that things like this were going on in the Newfrontiers churches that I was part of about 10-15 years ago. At the time I was wrestling with my own perspective on sexuality and faith and was trying very hard to support friends who were coming out to church leaders who believed that they could be cured of their homosexuality. I am not surprised these issues are coming back to haunt Philippa, and I am equally not surprised that they happened. It would seem that the Newfrontiers view of gender is extremely black and white and if you do not fit into the cultural and social norms and expectations set before you then you are extremely isolated. This is not only for gay people, but also for women with opinions, as I have discussed on this blog many times.

(In an interesting aside, the Ekklesia website has made the point that Newfrontiers believes that women should submit to their husbands, and as a result would the electorate actually be electing Philippa or her husband. If she has to submit to him and this clashes with the Conservative viewpoint what would be the consequences of this? For more info see the link here. Just an interesting aside I thought!!!!)

I loathe the perspective that homosexuality can be cured, and I fully believe that churches, church leaders and the ex-gay movement should be held to account for the pscyhological damage they have done to countless men and women. Thank goodness for organisations such as Beyond Ex Gay and Courage who seek to support people with finding out how they can balance their faith and their sexuality.

However, I would like to make one disclaimer here. I have known of Philippa and her husband David for many, many years, and I do not believe that they are bad people. I believe that they are extremely devoted, committed Christians who do things according to their beliefs. I believe that their strongly held beliefs are in some cases extremely misguided, but in essence they are good people.

David and Philippa Stroud have made a huge difference to many different homeless and addicted people through the work they have done over the years. I hope and pray that this story does not undo this good work. Equally, I hope and pray, that being held to account for previous (and possibly current) beliefs will cause them to reconsider why they hold these beliefs.

To sum up, I believe that this is a difficult issue and the fact that it has hit national newspapers is a good thing. For a start, we need to see what our politicians are made of – both morally and ethically. We also need to have the issues around faith and sexuality continually raised. This homophobia, sometimes expressed and sometimes hidden, needs to be brought out into the light and challenged. Only then will the church be able to move on, and only then will gay men and women be accepted for the wonderful people they are and will be able to contribute to their local church in a meaningful way.

The Gayification of Greenbelt?

The very kind Dave Walker pointed me in the direction of the Anglican Mainsteam blog, and in particular a post by Lisa Nolland called Greenbelt, ‘gay evangelicalism’ and CMS: Summer 2009. One of the standout quotes is as follows…

Finally, perhaps most galling is the deeply discriminatory nature of the programme, which presents itself as the antithesis of discrimination. Given the resources and people which such recent events as Sex and the City, The Big Question, and the Moral Maze, showcased, there is no reason why Greenbelt should only push one ideological agenda and only grind one axe, unless it is wanting to slant the argument and deprive its audience of expert opinion on the other side. What about equal air time for it? What about poster boys or girls for the ex/post-gay movement being handed the microphone, instead of just Gene Robinson (again), with his sadly amaturish biblical hermeneutic? Given that Greenbelt has invited so many people who strongly promote a different sexual ethic to that of a traditional Christan sexual ethic, the least they could do is allow equal air time for traditional sexual views.

I found this especially interesting in, as she calls, the ‘discriminatory nature of the programme. It seems to be that Greenbelt over the last couple of years has actually decreased the amount of high-profile gay, lesbian, bi and trans people involved in speaking and performing at the festival. Certainly those who are focussing on sexuality as a primary issue anyway. It also irritated me that she describes Athlete and Royksopp as “gay bands”. For a start I didn’t even know they were gay. Surely a band is just a band, if they happen to be gay, lesbian, bisexuals or trans does it really matter? Most people will be going to see them play music, not because they are gay or whatever.

Interestingly conversations I have had with gay men and women have seemed to suggest that they feel that Greenbelt has actually built themselves a a gay ghetto with the creation of Outerspace. Instead of having LGBT people involved with every part of the festival they are kind of shunted into a corner and left to get on with it. The label sticks and rather than challenge it directly there is a rather more subversive feel to it. I am not sure how I feel about that perspective myself. I would like to see all parts of the festival being inclusive and I am slightly uncomfortable with the creation of specialist groups such as this. However, I also recognise that there is a need for individuals to be offered a safe space to discuss potentially difficult and emotional subjects.

I expect this is a subject that is going to run and run, especially with more mainstream conservative people getting offended with what they perceive as the ‘Gayification of Greenbelt’. Personally I say, BRING IT ON! Big parties, fabulous clothes and a deep sense of joy about a festival that is truly wonderful. The gayer the better 😀