Warning: If you have no interest in Twitter, the well known internet timewasting service, and Christianity, the well known religion, you will find this post dull and an utter irrelevance.
The Twurch of England is the Church of England on Twitter. The bishops, the clergy, and the… hang on… it’s only the bishops and the clergy! The laity (ordinary people) are nowhere to be found. This is an unjust state of affairs which sends out the message that the ordinary people are not as important as the bishops and clergy. Being mildly deeply upset about this I started a ‘Reform the Twurch’ campaign yesterday – you can read all of the tweets on the subject via the hashtag #reformthetwurch. It was great fun and a most creative protest. Proceedings were conducted calmly and peacefully, and from time to time nuns came out and brought us tea.
Of course there are other Anglicans not in the CofE, and other denominations of Christians who are also not a part of this group. I certainly think it would be good to include these people, although I understand that the ‘Twurch of England’ may not be the most appropriate banner under which to gather them. Perhaps there needs to be an ‘Anglican Twits’ (Anglicans who aren’t CofE) group, and one for ‘UK Twistians’ (UK Christians whether they are Anglican or not). I suspect forming a ‘World Christians’ group might be rather more time consuming.
My challenges to Twurch administrators (The Church Moose and Peter O) are as follows:
1) First of all I think you really need to include CofE laity if you are to go on calling it the Twurch of England. It’s OK, there aren’t many of us and we’re declining in number all the time.
2) Secondly, I understand that you may want to restrict membership of the Twurch of England to members of the Church of England. However, if you don’t find a way to include the wider groups of people (Anglicans, UK Christians) in some way I suspect someone else will. There is an opportunity for a creative individual to form the Anglican Twitter community or the Christian Twitter community, and sooner or later someone will do so.
The picture above has nothing to do with this post by the way. I just didn’t have anything else to put in.
Now… stop trying to distract me – I’ve got work to do. My big important project went a bit better yesterday, for which I am thankful.
I’d like to give a quick mention to Paul, whose children’s comic book ‘Exile Road’ is being used by the Spring Harvest Christian holidays this year. Paul writes a ‘Wiblog’ on my other site (the one that was broken but is now less broken than it was). You can read information and discussion about it on the Spring Harvest Christian holidays site.
Just as an insignificant aside, is anyone who reads this weblog going to the Minehead Week 1 Spring Harvest Christian holiday from the 5th to the 10th of April this year? I have no particular reason for asking – it is just idle chatter.
Whilst I’m on a ‘Fresh Expressions’ sort of theme here’s something else that has popped up in the comments. The Baptists in Welwyn Garden City have started to ‘cross frontiers and break new ground’ by having church meetings in their local Costa coffee shop (see image: right) and have chatted with Costa who have said that can other churches can hold their meetings in Costa coffee shops too. There is news about this on the Fresh Expressions site.
As an aside, it pleased me that the minister’s name is ‘Cid Latty’. Latty… Latte… Never mind.
An organisation has been formed to administer this network of Cafe Churches and the associated website. This weekend there is a training day. Once you have set up an organisation it is always important to have a training day. If I ever set up an organisation running a training day will be one of my priorities. You can sign up now if you like, though I must warn you that I haven’t decided what the organisation will be yet.
Of course a lot of other people have been running Cafe Churches over the last few years. The Australians in particular do a lot of this sort of thing – see this group and this group for example. Andrew the Tall Skinny Kiwi was running Cafe Churches back in 1989 when you and I were still in short trousers. There are many examples of Cafe Churches in Britain that can be discovered by using a search engine on the internet.
The UCCF are encouraging Christian students to help illustrate the gospel of Mark using doodles. The scheme is called ‘oodles of doodles’ and is explained here. 400 000 copies of the doodled-upon gospels will then be given out to students this September.
An example of a good evangelistic doodle is shown above. One assumes that the three lightening bolts represent the wrath of God, the heart represents the human condition, and the five stars represent astrology. I don’t know about the seaweed – I haven’t worked that out yet.
The doodles must not use words or letters as explained in the downloadable instructions, reproduced below. It would appear that numbers are OK. Punctuation is a grey area, and therefore discouraged. Non-literal gospel drawings are encouraged, but not outside the box.
I for one am in favour of encouraging people to doodle so I think this scheme has my hearty backing. It is my opinion that pens and paper should be given out on the way into all church services. If everyone did more drawing the problems in this world would be cut by about 10-12%.
Monks have been illustrating gospels since early times. This is also relevant, but I forget why.
Background information: The UCCF is a conservative evangelical university Christian Unions organisation. See here to see the posts I’ve written about them in the past.
This is my drawing for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, a special 8 day week which is currently taking place. The Churches Together in Britain and Ireland site has links to pamphlets and the BBC has a picture showing how doves are involved. Notably the week is 100 years old this time around, meaning that there will have been a total of 808 days of prayer for Christian unity, assuming that they started it on the 8 day basis and have continued ever since (I must confess to having done limited research).
Talking of unity, I have come to the conclusion that the current Anglican difficulties to do with sexuality are as of nought compared with the most pressing contentious issue of the day we face, that of Family Services. Thank you for your comments here andelsewhere by the way – really thought provoking and sincerely appreciated.
It seems to me that your response to the thorny family service issue depends upon a number of factors including but not limited to:
Whether you have / have had small children or not
Whether you have the responsibility for running services
The kind of church you go to
Whether you have, over the course of your lifetime, spent many long bitter hours in family services wishing that you were anywhere on the earth but here
In a way I am pleased that you all think so differently. It shows that this site has a diverse readership, and for that I am grateful.
[By the way, please feel free to reuse this cartoon on your blog with a link. If anyone would like to reuse it anywhere else let me know and I'll post the high res version on the main site.]
Some of the UK’s Methodist bloggers have been having a gathering this weekend.
Note the dark brown cups as opposed to the pale green variety traditionally used by Anglicans. (Aside: If the Methodists and Anglicans ever join together the proposal is to have cups of a murky brown pale green colour.)
The Methodists are way ahead of use Anglicans in terms of mixing and mingling. Not only do they meet in real life, but they’ve had a Facebook group for a lot longer than our brand new Anglican one (I’ve been overjoyed at the response by the way – thanks everyone).
Darren’s cartoons are all about the charismatic branch of Christianity. If you are, or have been, involved in that side of things I think you will enjoy this book.
Those who have been reading my website(s) since the early 2000s might remember that we featured some of Darren’s cartoons on Wibsite.com. At the time Darren was the cartoonist for ‘Christianity and Renewal’ magazine. ‘Renewal’ was later dropped. I can’t remember why exactly. Probably because, as all library-goers know you can only renew something about eight times before having to take it back and choose something else. Failure to do so will incur a charge of 20p a day.
So says Time Out magazine in its special Religious London issue which is on news stands everywhere as long as you are in London. Sorry for being so London-centric again, but it’s just that I don’t have any other capital cities half an hours train ride away.
Here is a sample paragraph from a sample article. In a religious fashion piece the magazine ‘meets the young Londoners making religion hip’. Londoners such as Lizzy B Houston, ‘The Christian Rockabilly’, who says:
I am religious but the word really irks me. It’s about so much more than going to church. It’s a mentality and lifestyle. I have conversations with Jesus throughout the day. However, I do go to church on Sundays. I like the Glorious Undead Church in O’Reilly’s pub, Kentish Town, where kids who don’t like the Anglican style go in their punk, goth or metal gear.’
The Pentecost Festival is a huge event planned in London from the 9th to the 11th of May next year:
A massive weekend party in central London with hundreds of free events and high impact performances. A cross-generational, multi-cultural celebration of the Church’s creativity and compassion that will fill hundreds of venues – coffee shops, parks, pubs, streets, boats, churches, clubs, hotels, halls, restaurants, theatres, shops…
In a snapshot: vision, creativity, comedy, sport, the arts, prayer, children’s entertainment, fashion, debate, movies, food, music, colour, campaigning, social action, hope, physical theatre, story telling, clubbing, ecology and much much more…
Rob Frost, the much loved and respected Methodist minister who died in November was, if I understand correctly, to head up this initiative. The plan is still very much for it to go ahead. A draft programme (pdf, 2mb) is now available to download, and I have to say it does look really promising. Speakers include Tony Campolo, Adrian Plass, various MPs and there is a jolly good comedy line up. There are plans to take over Trafalgar Square on the Saturday with modern music-type bands.
The event is organised by Christians on the evangelical side of things, which I realise may not be the natural ecosystem of everyone reading. But I for one think it is a good thing to support and I hope it is a success. Put it in your diary if there is any chance you can be in the vicinity of London and you have a diary.
The Echo has the story of the new papal tractor which has been built down the road from here in Basildon. A New York Times report has a few more details.
The tractor is a gift from Fiat, who own New Holland. The tractor took two days to make. Normally they can put one together in about ten minutes but this one has special features – a hint of gold and the coat of Papal arms.
The tractor plant is a well known landmark in these parts. It is next door to the Festival Leisure Park (known locally as ‘Bas Vegas’) where the young people go ‘night clubbing’ and the like.
Discussion topic for groups:
Tell us about the time you sent the Pope some kind of vehicle. Did he seem pleased?
I have discovered that one of the people who was up against me in the Creative Blog Category in the Christian Blog Awards is an evangelist who navigates around Britain in a sailing boat, stopping here and there to evangelise riding a Sinclair A-bike whilst dressed as John Wesley.
I went for a coffee in the local Nero’s and met Grant who like many many other people was intrigued with my A-Bike, which following an explanation of its workings allowed me to continue our conversation with me sharing the gospel with him.
On my way back to see if my new friend had arrived at the meeting point I was astonished to be stopped by an elderly lady who must have been well into her 80’s who wanted to talk to me about my bike.
I would reiterate what I have said in an earlier newsletter that if you are at a loss on how to start conversations with people to share the good news about Jesus with them, then buy an A-Bike and you will have many such encounters each day. They can be obtained from www.a-bike.co.uk for £149.95.
The A-bike, in case you are wondering, is a folding bicycle. It is apparently great to carry but not so great to ride. If you want a space-age bike that is great to ride but not quite so great to fold then I’d recommend the Strida. Not that I’ve got one, but who knows, one day.
Anyway, enough about bicycles. John is the intrepid evangelist’s name. I wish him all the best on his mission.