Monday, March 21, 2011

"Senior" Church Leaders course at Whirlow Grange in Sheffield

So I've just gotten back from assisting on our "Senior" Church Leaders Foundation Course (Transforming Church Conflict for Senior Church Leaders).  What do I mean when I say "Senior," well generally that means they might be older, but not necessarily.  I mean leaders within each denomination that have quite a bit of oversight.  This means Bishops, Deans, Archdeacons in Anglican Church of England terms.  Rural Deans, Synod Moderators, District Chairs in other denominational terms.  This past week's course was primarily Anglican, with a couple Baptist, one from the Salvation Army, and one Presbyterian/Methodist.  Among the Anglicans we had four Bishops (although one had just been appointed), a Cathedral Dean, and numerous Archdeacons, along with a couple misc. Bishop's staff members.  A diverse Anglican group, but not as diverse a group as we sometimes have denominationally.

It was a real privilege to be a part of the Senior Leaders course.  The people who come on it are really top notch individuals and really eager to engage and learn.  It means we've really got to be on our "A-game"as a training team.  I've attached our group photo and some other shots from one of the participants took during the week.  He had a keen eye for taking good photos.

 Group Photo

Football match going on in a nearby pitch.  

We just couldn't get them away from their iPhones 

Three wise monkeys 

 Whirlow Grange Conference Centre

Having a discussion during a break-time

As far as London Mennonite Centre life / decisions, the Trustees had another important meeting this past week (15 March) and decided to pursue one of the two options which they were considering.  They have another meeting in mid-May to decide whether to continue with it fullstop or look for alternative avenues.  The gist of it means I will likely be moving to a temporary LMC staff location for the duration of my term in mid-late July.  It also means that Bridge Builders will need to find alternative office space before August/September.  So come the end of the summer I will be commuting to work and living somewhere else in London.  They (the Trustees) are still in the early stages of this, so not a whole lot is known or a given.  The plan is the have everyone who is living at the Centre in a temporary lmc staff house for a 6 to a more likely 12 month period somewhere in the North London region (perhaps close to the Northern line).  A lot will depend on the May Trustees meeting.  If plans change they all that I've said could be thrown out the window.  At the moment I'm glad that plans are for those who live at the Centre to remain in community and trying to not focus too much on the fact that Bridge Builders really needs to find get on the ball about finding new office space.  Overall, I'm figuring I won't know where I'm really moving (or working) until about June/July.  

In other news, I might have a cousin (he/she who shall not be named at the moment) coming over to the UK/Ireland to do start a cycling journey across Europe.  My cousin will probably come over sometime in the beginning of August, head from Dublin to Belfast, then to Glasgow and toward London.  I might join said cousin for a portion of it (bit from perhaps Glasgow to London).  Other details are yet to be discovered/made.  I'm excited!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Streets of Rome

So I've now been back from being on holiday in Rome (17 Feb - 21 Feb) and I can certainly say I walked a good deal of the city of Rome.  I probably walked more than I have ever walked (at least over a five day period) ...I'm guessing at least between 15 and 20 miles the middle three days and at least 5 to 7 on the first and last day (when I was only there in the evening and the morning).  Can't be sure since I didn't have any real way of tracking my movements, but it was enough that my feet hurt more than they did when I ran the marathon earlier this year.  It got to a certain point where they just kept hurting, but I kept going...there was just too much I wanted to see.  Each night gave my body enough time to recover.

Rome reminded me a lot of Athens because of the ancient buildings interspersed throughout the city.  It differed from Athens by being substantially cleaner, looking relatively nice (compared to Athens which looked like it was falling apart), and being relatively smoke free (again compared to Athens and Paris which smoking seemed to dominate outdoors).  Most places I visited that did cost money didn't cost much more than 12 Euros.  I think one place cost 16 Euros (maybe the Vatican museum) and a couple cost as little as 6 Euros.  The two hour flight from London Gatwick wasn't too bad and the food was overall amazing.  Living there full time I think I would get sick of having mostly pizza/italian resturants around, but I guess it's a little like that in London with Pubs/fish and chips shops.

Some things to note:
  • Wine in resturants is sold by the bottle - either small or large
  • There's a reason Romans conquered the Greeks and not the other way around
  • The Vatican, while amazing to visit, had an odd feel to it, partly because of the money spent (St Peter's and the Vatican Museum itself), and because of the massive wall surrounding it
Overall, a great trip.  Didn't spend much time "relaxing," but then again that's not really my type of holiday, at least not yet.  I'd go stir crazy if I tried to sit on a beach for a week.  While I've posted a couple of my favorite photos here, the full albums are on facebook.  Only 445 photos in all.    

The next two weeks I will be preparing for another BB course, this one for "Senior Church Leaders" e.g. those in positions of senior leadership or authority, whatever that means for their respective denomination, whether it is a Bishop, Archdeacon, or Rural Dean, etc... but tonight I am leading a "review of the emotional journey" of the past year for the local Mennonite Church.  I'm hoping it will be prove to be insightful and useful for members of the church, but there's really no way of knowing until it happens.

Also in the next two weeks the LMC Trustees will *most likely* be making some serious decisions about the future of the Centre.  Time is starting to slowly disappear, so their window for decision making is starting to close.  They've got two meetings in the first two weeks of March, so prayers for them as they work to come to a common mind on a couple of important issues would be appreciated.

- Sam