Sunday, September 25, 2016


Between last Wednesday and next Wednesday I shall be jumping between my old life and new.  Last Wednesday was the first time for 16 years that I had been back in a lecture room at Spurgeon's College.  Actually, I had to ask where Lecture Room 2 was because building alterations meant a walk around outside to new entrance (with security cards buzzing me in!) into a transformed former Reference Library.   In spite of many changes with walls knocked down, former entrances blocked and much improved security all round so much was reassuringly familiar. Faculty and staff were generous in their welcome.  The Acting Principal is a former student of mine and though several faculty members have changed there was a happy buzz as old friends were hugged and new friends were greeted.
As always, interacting with students was the most rewarding part of all.  My day with 9 D Min students and 2 PhD students proved lively and encouraging.  Best of all, among the new students present for Orientation Week were two friends,  Chris from my home church in Histon and Erica who was once in the youth group in my Cambridge church.  Oh, how good to see another generation coming through.

Next Wednesday I shall be in Northern Seminary in Lombard with much that is reassuringly familiar in greeting faculty, staff and students.   Again, interacting with students while living on campus and during the Forum on October 1st . will likely be the best part, though meeting up with friends from the churches I served will run it a close second!  With Carol I do not take the privilege of doing our bit both sides of the Atlantic for granted.  At church today, several friends said they would be praying for us and we continue to be grateful especially for prayers for health, strength and wisdom to be used by God aright.   Wildly paraphrasing the psalmist: This is the day the Lord has made and I don't want to mess it up ! 

Friday, September 16, 2016


I've been quiet on the blog front recently, overtaken by a phenomenal amount of holiday hospitality as we have hosted friends from UK, Canada, Australia and USA in a solid (but happy) sequence.  But there is another reason for my quietness  - I have been desperately working to three deadlines.

First, to complete Module 7 (with 3 chapters) of the resource book for A New Kind of Ministry.  Only one more module remains....but then the task of re-editing and including stories from the field begins.

Second, a Doctor of Ministry Workshop Day back at Spurgeon's College on Sept. 21st.  Two years ago I had the delight of being appointed Distinguished Visiting Scholar which blissfully involved me in nothing until now!  But my first duty has arrived.  It's a good one because there are few occasions more stretching than reflecting with practitioners about where theology is meshing with their ministry practice  Of course, I shall hope to turn some of my sessions towards enriching my own work for my further deadline....which is:

On October 1st. we hold our second annual FORUM for the New Kind of Preacher at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. This year we are developing one of the program's main themes - collaboration.  Several people will be speaking, including a pastor for whom collaboration is central to his ministry practice.  For both my sessions I have dared to involve a good friend of mine, Bill Suriano, who is a trial lawyer in Chicago.  Collaboration requires the give-and-take of people who take each other seriously in pursuing a common goal.  In the past Bill (and his wife Dawneen) have been wonderfully warm, direct and insightful in partnering me in both preaching and writing.  I am expecting him to tell the forum just what it's like to collaborate from the pew-side.

Time for registration is nearly concluded....hopefully last minute participants can squeeze in.  For  kind friends who follow my happenings thank you for praying for these two events. I'll let you know more later.