Status Updates



2013/14   Into a New Era

Three weeks ago (at the end of November) I announced formally to my faculty colleages at Northern Seminary that I had decided to retire from teaching at the seminary after nearly 14 years of adventure in their midst.  I shared that this decision had not been easy because part of me hoped to continue the recent pattern of the last two years by which the seminary graciously enabled me to teach DMin and MDiv courses intensively each Fall term.  Already, this has allowed Carol and me to spend some time rooting down back in Cambridge. However, living between two continents has proved very complex and in our praying and reflecting we have gained peace about drawing this chapter to a close.

However, I am not retiring!   I must emphasize this!  I shall continue with preaching and some teaching with commitments stretching ahead through 2014 and beyond.  In 2014 the Craddock Lectures in Knoxville in April, and the Truett preaching lectures in Baylor (September) bring me back to the US.  Several other commitments are already filling up my calendar - I want to continue to be useful to God.

When we return to the US in March 2014 to attempt (!) final tidying up after 14 years of living here, we shall look forward to a set time for farewells.  The seminary has chosen the evening of FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014 as a date to say our goodbyes and we hope that not only the seminary community but friends from our years over here will join with us. I use the word 'adventure' when I describe our time here and that is the right word to describe an exhilarating, challenging, great ride by God's grace.  I have been ruminating about some of the many changes we are beginning to experience on my blog, and I remain so grateful to friends who continue to support us as we move into a new era.


2013 A Year of Transitions

I last wrote on the cusp of 2013 with some awareness that we would be pilgrim people because of delays in fixing-up our new base on Cambridge.   Those delays extended through until March which then began the exhausting task of moving in with all the attendant frustrations of organizing nitty-gritty details like gaining internet access (much more difficult than you can imagine) and squeezing our US belongings into to one-third space (almost impossible to imagine!).   Thankfully, my cancer has remained a very low presence throughout.

Fortunately, for my peace of mind (and probably Carol's too) the builders also constructed a garden shed which has become my devotion/study/music haven.  This 'man-cave' of sorts has allowed for some continuing work with lectures to prepare for Asbury Seminary in Kentucky and Vose Seminary in Perth Australia.  I have completed some work for publication, especially an essay on the use of historical sermons.  Sadly, not too much time to play!

One of the most encouraging aspects of being in Cambridge these first months of 2013 has been the renewal of friendships as well as making new friends.  If you read my blog you will know that my visits to various churches have particularly revived warm memories with deep thanksgiving for the continuing witness of friends over the decades. 

Now we are back in the US for the last part of 2013 we are experiencing some inevitable tensions because of our schizoid life-style.  Planning and traveling is ultra-complicated with two bases, but the presence of great friends at both ends and a good Lord holding everything together enables us to anticipate a great conclusion to this year which includes Centenary  Celebrations for Northern Seminary,  and a new DMin intensive preaching course as well as concentrated MDiv preaching courses through to December.  We hope to end these last months of the year on a high in Chicago, knowing that when we return to the UK we actually have a home to go to!

Winter Transition 2012/13


Tomorrow (Dec. 11. 2012) we leave for the UK on a new adventure as we seek to develop a base in Cambridge as well as live in the USA.    Our hopes to have a UK home ready by now have unravelled and so we continue to be pilgrim people for the next few weeks (at least).    The mammoth task of completing an intensive term at Northern Seminary has been completed and I now anticipate fitting in my next academic tasks around the much more interesting (to Carol!) effort to secure a new home and begin our schizoid life.

In the rush since Summer many good things have happened and I have tried to keep pace on my blog.  Wonderfully, I received good news from my latest cancer tests which showed a minimal cancer presence (though I need to keep monitoring it for 5 year).  Perhaps, as 2013 stabilizes for us I shall be able to update my web site more regularly and interestingly.   Carol and I rejoice in our wide circle of friends and send our very best greetings for a glorious Christmas and fulfilling 2013.   I'll be in touch.


Summer Turmoil 2012

Those words in my last post about the major changes in my life from July 1 2012 were written too easily!  The words tripped lightly off my fingers about plans to continue teaching intensively at Northern and have flexibility for other teaching opportunities as I spend more time in the UK.  Wow!  What a complicated life it has led to these last few months. Selling our home here and moving into fresh accommodation has been a particularly exhausting process, especially since we are also sending some of our possessions back to UK to develop a new base there.   We have been dividing our goods into four piles: stuff to remain here, to go to the UK, for charity shops (large), and for the trash.  Piles is the word!  Having a basement has encouraged acquisitiveness, and now we are suffering the consequences though some of our friends have benefited!  We need to learn the lessons of simplicity!

Meanwhile, some of my dreams to be useful on a wider front are coming to fruition with interesting commitments into 2014.  Of course,  underlying everything is God's grace in my continuing health and the strength and energy (sometimes flagging!) to undertake all the many changes that face us.  Thank you for your support and prayers.   As always, my postings on my blog (click above) will give more regular updates on our progress. 

Cancer Interrupted May 2012

I have been remiss in not sharing my good news on my web-site.  Earlier this month Carol posted on my blog as soon as we heard the news that the first tests after my radical surgey show such a low level of cancer that technically they call it 'undetectable'.  The surgeon warned me that I need 5 years of such low levels before I can claim that I am cancer-free but this is the best possible news at this stage!  Profoundest thanks to all our friends who prayed and supported us through these past months.  We have learned much that has deepened our faith, our appreciation of life and our gratitude to family and friends. 

I mentioned earlier how the surgery had altered some of our plans for 2012.  However, one of the biggest changes was already in process before cancer struck.  From July 1 2012 I shall concentrate my teaching at Northern into some intensive courses each Fall.  This arrangement should allow me to spend more time back in the UK each Winter and Spring, though already I have speaking and family commitments in the US that will bring me back at other times.   So I continue as C.W. Koller Professor of Preaching but with greater freedom to preach and teach as well as spend time with family and friends in the UK (who have been inevitably neglected over the last 12 years).  We are not sure how this will all work out.  As you can imagine, complications abound for work arrangements, housing, transport, finances, taxes etc. . But Carol and I are most grateful to be able to embark on this new adventure, especially with the encouraging news about my health.  How different it might have been!

As always, I shall keep in touch through more regular postings on my blog (click above) as plans progress.  We so appreciate your interest.


Cancer Interrupts 2012

As followers of my blog know I have suddenly discovered that I have aggressive prostate cancer which has grown surreptitiously over many years.   Beneath the radar of apparently normal PSA levels and good health, this cancer has now dramatically asserted itself.  I face surgery on January 27th. when my prostate, lymph nodes and surrounding nerves will be removed in the hopes that all the cancer can been caught and eradicated.  You can imagine the flutter this has caused and also, amazingly, the peace and grace that the support of so many friends has brought. 

Of course, this means some plans have been immediately postponed.  For example, my hopes of speaking on my book: Preaching as Worship on Friday February 10th. has to be delayed.....I hope for not too long. My wife and I are now traveling on a very different journey from how we pictured 2012. This is a time to exercise faith and trust and that's how we shall seek to live.  I will keep in touch with more detail through my blog and look forward to sharing good news!


Winter 2011

Though I keep in weekly touch ( more or less) by my blog,   I am amazed to see how rapidly these last months have fired by since last I wrote on  this web site. Teaching double classes with a major on-line component has made extra demands this Fall but nothing has come close to the traumas of trying to sell our house.  For the last six months we have followed our realtor's advice to the letter, with several massive upgrades and further drops in price (so far amounting to $40,000 down from the price in June!   Every morning we have manically removed any personal signs that people actually live at our address, with every speck of dust banished.  But the few who have troubled to visit have remained utterly unimpressed.  We remain hopeful that someone will respond in 2012 before the price drops closer to zero.

As many of you have kindly commented, my opus Preaching as Worship has emerged with early encouragement in sales and reviews.  Of course, I am longing to see pastors and lead-worshippers take up the book's challenge in real live churches.  The seminary is organizing a special meeting to give me a platform to speak about my book on Friday, February 10th. at 7.00 pm, which will be my first public occasion to make a positive noise, with plenty of time for feedback.  Perhaps some of you who are close by can book the date?  I would love to see you.

2012 promises to be an exciting year ahead with a number of new challenges (including selling the house).  My  hopes are that you will keep well and know God's blessing (His 'power on the move') surging through into the New Year.

Summer 2011

As the academic year comes to its crescendo with Graduation at the beginning of June, I enter a different tempo. Summer this year will be spent in the US, unlike previous summers when we have visited family and friends in the UK.  Last year's extended sabbatical took up most of our permitted days' allowance for entry to the UK for (at least) two years.  However, two major speaking engagements are planned over here:  as Evening Hour Speaker at the week-long Northern Pines Conference in Wisconsin and as interim preacher at Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church in Illinois. 

I mentioned in a May blog my delight at the emergence of the Chinese translation of my 360degree preaching book , but major excitement is building over the arrival of Preaching as Worship at the beginning of September.  (Note the picture above!)  After 5 years' work, the publishers received my manuscript at the beginning of June 2010 so it has taken a long time to arrive. I write "major excitement" but there are always mixed feelings when something you have labored on in private becomes open to public critique.  Who knows what may happen?  Good or bad!  Of course, I remain grateful for your support and interest and shall keep you in the picture as this venture comes into open view.  May your summer be filled with good things.

Dual Personality

I need to apologize for a major communications hic-cup (which those who read my blog will already be aware of)! For nearly two years I havebeen blissfully unaware that alongide my official email address: mquicke@seminary.edu I had been given another one by Northern Seminary.  This adds the word faculty: mquicke@faculty.seminary.edu.

Somehow, and I must shoulder some blame, this parallel existence was allowed to operate without me having the slightest clue and therefore I totally failed to access it.  Indeed, I had no password and my computer needed upgrading. So, the last two weeks have frantically been working through over 2000 emails at this other address - many of them work-related.  Many, many apologies to those of you who used this address and were irritated by my silence.

Further, I have become aware that there is another authentic Michael Quicke who is also a preacher in the US.  Apparently he has posted sermons to the site: Sermon.Central.com and obviously has a following! 

Sometimes I am confused enough without such parallel personalities complicating life. I am sure he may feel this too! All I can say is that the English Michael J. Quicke is trying to put his house in order and will try to answer future messages more promptly!.

Forward into 2011

Breathlessly we have just returned from the UK ready (more or less) to begin teaching again at Northern Seminary.  From January 10th - June 4th I am engaged in a heavier teaching schedule than normal, doubling up on some courses in order to ensure all students complete their preaching requirements before graduation.  Teaching in a great privilege and I am focusing on this as I work new material into my courses, and seek to convey my enthusiasm for the high calling of preaching.

To my surprise my calendar has far fewer commitments ahead than for many years...this a good sign!  I shall be free to respond if preaching requests arise but shall largely be free to concentrate on teaching and some continuing writing.

Hopefully too I shall be able to keep some momentum going for my blog!  As always, thanks for your willingness to travel with me.  May this be a healthy, fulfilling year for you.

A sabbatical of four parts

I mentioned last time that my sabbatical had kick-started in June.  Well the first part went at breath-taking speed.  My preaching through June/July at FBC Wheaton stretched me in fresh ways as I blogged about some questions of Jesus, and interacted with the congregation. This should provide a lively basis for my next book.  In addition I worked on a chapter for a book with the title: 'Further Reflections on a Sacramental Theology of Preaching.  Catchy isn't it?  This needed much theological thinking.

Part 2 of my sabbatical sees me in the UK where I shall be writing, as well as speaking at a number of events. Hopefully I shall have a chance to blog about some of these on the way.  It looks to be an exciting time.

Part 3 sees me back in the US in order to speak at the Evangelical Homiletics Society annual meeting. The conference title is : Connecting Preaching and Worship. I really look forward to engaging with my colleagues on this!  I also visit Toronto for centenary celebrations of Timothy Eaton Memorial Church.

Part 4 and I am back in the UK to finish off my writing commitments in the hopes that I can fulfill all my academic ambitions for this period of study leave.  I know how fortunate I am to have this time for reflection away from the seminary.   I aim to use it well and shall keep you posted on my blog.  Thanks for your interest.


A year of two halves


June 1st marked a huge divide in my 2010! Every day (almost) since Jan 1st. I have been working on my worship book. In my last report (below) I lamented the hours in my molehole that yet needed to be spent if the manuscript was to be finished.

Well, on June 1st the manuscript landed on the desk of my commissioning editor at Baker Books! Of course, a different kind of process now begins as dispassionate editorial eyes assess its worth.  Publishing is expensive and I know they have to weigh up carefully what they are going to do with it! But at least my major part is done. I AM REJOICING. Many people helped me on my way. In particular I was continually encouraged by my six readers representing a whole range of expertise who kept faith until the end, pouring in suggestions and improvements.

But June also marks another major transition. Not only is the book (mostly) done, but my sabbatical begins to launch me onto fresh tasks. One of these is writing a more "popular" book on questions that Jesus asked in the gospels. Indeed, I have started a preaching series through June and July at First Baptist Wheaton to give a platform for this next project.

I am also delighted that my mentoring of leaders at Grace Community Church, Oak Lawn, in its major worship/community project has now just concluded,, though I look. forward to helping another church In Milwaukee in August as they similarly embark on a worship project with Calvin Institute. For both these churches my books proved basic resources!   I am grateful that people are still reading them!

 Many other tasks lie ahead. As always, my blog keeps fairly regular contact with my happenings and I am grateful for your support and interest.

Racing through 2010

It's extraordinary how quickly the calendar changes and we're off from the "noughts" into the so-called decade of the "teens."  As you will guess from the infrequency of site updates (and slowing down of blog postings) much has crowded into these last months, some of which I anticipated.  However, the biggest reason for slowing down has been my latest book What every preacher should know about worship, which continues to dominate every (and I mean every )spare moment.  Contracted to be completed at the end of 2009, my publisher has given me more grace to complete it in the early part of 2010. But it keeps metamorphosing as fresh insights tumble in.  My six readers have been invaluable, as are the prayers and support of many friends. Let's hope the end is (relatively) nigh. (Certainly my wife is praying for that!)

This term is a full one with teaching and supervising doctoral students. Deliberately I have kept other commitments at bay, though I preach at Taylor University Chapel, and conduct a pastors' conference in Indiana in February, and continue to mentor leaders of Grace Community Church, Oak Lawn, in its major worship/community project.  Further ahead lies a conference with teaching in Australia and, in the Fall, a period of sabbatical study based mainly in the UK. Several new writing projects loom ahead but, of course, my sights are firmly glued to finishing the current book.

So, the primary picture of me for the next months (as for the last) is of a figure hunched over a laptop in a messy study with papers all over the floor, emerging to teach and cheerily encourage others before disappearing again. Carol calls the study in the basement - my bolthole.  Well, I've got to know it really well recently!  I look forward to announcing completion eventually.....and a return to living more normally.  

All good wishes to you as the year shoots forward.

Fall

Seminary term has just launched and life is back in the teaching groove....though "groove" isn't the word to describe today's interactive students. I have some good classes with plenty of enthusiasm and interesting stories. One student shared in class how, on arrival at seminary three years ago - "the last thing I wanted to do was take a preaching class.  I found preaching an utter waste of time." However, he's changed his mind. I love students like that!

Several events will likely ungroove me this Fall. My mentoring of Grace Community Church in its project, applying some of my preaching principles, is charging full-steam ahead.  In October I present a paper to the Evangelical Homiletics Society at SW Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas. I hope to learn much on the theme: Promoting Community through Preaching  (and hopefully contribute a little too).   I also speak at the Fall Conference of the Inland North West region of ABC churches in the Cascade Mountains, Washington State.  In some respects the most daunting commitment lies ahead in December when I give the opening preach at the Academy of Homiletics in Washington D.C.  Carol will accompany me for this our first visit to Washington for an event which also includes a workshop on comparing my ideas of leadership through preaching with writings of a big name pioneer -Dr. John McClure.  Throw in some preaching at other locations and all this will make for an interesting few weeks ahead.

Of course, I continue to press on with my book on worship. Several friends are now receiving drafts in instalments as I push towards completion. Inevitably, some of the commitments above are slowing down progress!  Thanks for continuing to express interest....and for reading my blog.  Have a great Fall!

Summer

Over the next few weeks I shall be wandering, visiting family, friends and preaching at my first church, in Blackburn, Lancashire. I left in 1979 and, though we have kept in touch with many friends, I have only been back to preach twice in the last thirty years. It promises to be significant - as does time with my grandchildren!

I have just crashed through completing two manuscripts (as readers of my blog will know). One is for The Preacher, a British journal in a series on preaching called (unsurprisingly) "Preaching in the Baptist Tradition."  The other is a much more substantial treatment of preaching and community for the Fall program of the Evangelical Homiletics Society. Titled: Exploring the Architecture of Community Formation" I hope it will form a strategic element in my next book on worship, and I am eager for feedback when the paper goes on line next month (and at the Fort Worth society meeting).  Writing is a big part of my job spec. and I shall continue to tap away at my laptop over the next weeks as my book manuscript shuffles along.

To my surprise, a lengthy interview with the Editor of Preaching has led to an article in the July/August edition. I say surprise because I thought it would remain a podcast (to be found at www.preaching.com/media/podcasts). However, complete with a full-page (strangely posed) picture, some of my interview has made it into print.  Called "Preaching and Worship" it makes some controversial points (which I still find myself agreeing with). Actually, for me, some of the happiest results have been messages from former students and other friends who have troubled to be in touch since seeing my picture! It's always a joy to hear from you.  Please keep the links alive. May your summer go well in every way!

Pentecost

I mustn't comment on the weather again as we move through what has turned out to be a wet, wet Spring with our sump pump operating night and day to clear the ground water.  Well, I just did comment (!) but more importantly let me welcome you into the continuing Quicke Saga. As term rapidly approaches its end and concludes with a Doctor of Ministry intensive week's teaching (Jun 8-12)....I look forward to laying down my teaching, and especially grading, for some weeks.

One recent highpoint has been an award given to a renewal project devised by the Pastor of Grace Community Christian Reformed Church, Oak Lawn, Illinois. This project aims at developing a process for sermon development and delivery that is interactive and incorporates the wider church fellowship. The pastor was partly triggered in this project by a conference I led and by reading my books, and part of the award proposal involves me being appointed as mentor to him.  This promises to be a great work-out of continuing ideas about preaching as worship, and about collaboration with the whole congregation.

In June I also preach at First Presbyterian Church of Aurora, and make plans for visiting the UK and my former church in Blackburn, Lancashire. Plenty of writing work continues to occupy me - for the latest scribings and for making your own contribution, please consult my blog!  May you have great Summer days ahead!

Nudging into Spring

Slowly (very) Chicago is shuffling into Spring, though we had snow showers last weekend!  Talking of shuffling - this web site has added some more bits and pieces.  In particular, the "Family History" which has been added under "News" has resurrected some old Christmas letters with their "annual reports."  At present there is only a sample, beginning in 1975, but it brought back long-buried memories.  I know our children appreciated them even if noone else does (which is a distinct possibility).   Book cover copies of my books for the Indian and Korean markets have also appeared (media) and Rob has been able to add a few more photos on different pages.  There is still much to do but I am grateful for early feedback.

This month brings my favorite time in the church year - Easter.  For the first time for a while I shall be able to celebrate in the pew - and celebrate I shall!  Spring Quarter has just begun at Northern Seminary, and a couple of major events coming up add to my joys. April 4-7th I speak at the Metro Kewsick Convention in Halifax, Nova Scotia.   Called "The Confrontational Jesus," eight sessions will focus on some questions that Jesus asked.   Full details on their website: www.keswickconvention.ca. 

On April 21, I share in the 2009 Ministry Professsional Growth Seminary at Southern Adventist University, Collegedate, Tennessee. One of the great thrills of this occasion will be to share the day with Dr. Fred Craddock - a revered doyen of the preaching world.

Our seminary president, Dr. Alistair Brown, will be installed on April 17th. and this marks the formal beginning of a very important chapter in the seminary's life. Much prayer and energy is being spent on shaping the seminary to do God's will in troubled times. As always, my blog will maintain a more regular flow of bits and pieces.   A glorious Easter celebration for you!

A New Beginning

Welcome to my new web-site!  I shall not weary you by recounting difficulties encountered over the last six months, as my old site became inoperable. Let me summarize: owing to a series of strange happenings, (including a credit card mishap), it ceased to function properly and caused considerable grief. So, now, I begin again. I know this looks much like my former site (!), and I continue to be indebted to my son Rob for his web-mastering. While I shall try and keep my own blog ticking over with (fairly) regular postings, this site will maintain basic details about my profile, events and continuing ministry projects. And also smatterings of family and personal news!


LATEST NEWS: MARCH 2009


A New Beginning

Welcome to my new web-site!  I shall not weary you by recounting difficulties encountered over the last six months, as my old site became inoperable. Let me summarize: owing to a series of strange happenings, (including a credit card mishap), it ceased to function properly and caused considerable grief. So, now, I begin again. I know this looks much like my former site (!), and I continue to be indebted to my son Rob for his web-mastering. While I shall try and keep my own blog ticking over with (fairly) regular postings, this site will maintain basic details about my profile, events and continuing ministry projects. And also smatterings of family and personal news!

Just to catch up over the last few months...

Family – since my old web-site died, our fourth grandchild, Sophie Grace, has been born to Rob and Lori, on December 4, 2008, in New Jersey .  This means that four grandchildren now form the latest generation of Quickes, though now with a girl in the lineage. We rejoice in good family happenings, both in the US (see realquicke.blogspot.com), and in London, UK.

US life – continuing to live at Warrenville, in the western suburbs of Chicago , we happily are involved with friends in our neighborhood, and several churches, though we miss being with our London tribe and many UK friends. Living through the 2008 election was memorable.

Churches – my interim preaching at Calvary, Memorial, Oak Park , came to an end in Fall 2008 and has left me free to do itinerant work. Fortunately, the number of engagements has slowed down in 2009 (see events), to allow me to expend creativity elsewhere.

Northern Seminary – my work place continues to be in transition with the main seminary base at Lombard being stretched into developing at other sites in Illinois , with an increase of on-line courses.  A new president, a Scot, Dr. Alistair Brown, began in September and we are grateful for his leadership into the unknown.  In my ninth academic year here I wonder what may happen next. Teaching continues to be a privilege and joy.

Speaking Projects – In the next few weeks I am giving the Ockenga Lectureship Series at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, Boston ,  addressing the 2009 Metro Keswick Convention in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and sharing in the Ministry Profession Growth Seminar to be broadcast from Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee.  Much new work to be prepared!

Writing Project - My major work is producing the manuscript for my next book, with the working title:  "What every preacher (and others) should know about worship."  It is proving to be a complex and demanding subject . I shall hope to employ my blog for feedback as the final draft emerges.

I look forward to continuing relationships with you as this new site unfolds and wish you God's blessings through 2009.

No comments: