Wednesday, May 13, 2020

'Never waste a good crisis' ~ Winston Churchill

'Never waste a good crisis' ~ Winston Churchill

I heard this Churchillian quote this morning while enjoying my traditional 'whatever the weather' porridge. A quick google turned up these interesting words written by Andrew Low for the commercial world.
"In challenging times one must question the accepted reality because things are going wrong, rapid answers are needed and the solution may well be found outside the usual compass.
In the world of business we are often guilty of not challenging the norm; we are instead satisfied with following procedure and tradition. It takes insight and not a little courage to question your leaders as to why are things done the way that they are? However, in times of crisis there seems to be more latitude to do so – management in fact is actively seeking input it seems. Leading companies nowadays recognise this and cultivate a more open, questioning climate within the office at all times because a degree of continual review is healthy within a business."
Interesting in that it taps into a value recognised by Robert Warren, when he observed healthy churches 'face the cost of change'. [More...]

Interesting in that it connects with a quote John Clifton shared recently  ‘The Salvation Army will die if it loses the commitment it exhibited in the past for creativity.’ Eugene Cho

Interesting in that the article was written in 2016.

One thing for certain, I wont be changing my breakfast routine for anyone! ;o)

Friday, June 21, 2019

In her eyes...

Three years of planning, form filling, team building. Three years of fund raising, house buying, permission seeking. Three years of anticipation, emotion, excitement and the moment had arrived, suddenly our passport photograph family were stood with us. Suddenly Community Sponsorship was more than an idea, a project, more than names, this was real. 

Beyond the chaos of suitcase upon suitcase upon suitcase and translated hellos was Rana. Below her perfect hijab, were mother eyes beyond tiredness, telling an unimaginable story. What does it take to choose an uncertain future, to trust her family to passport photographs? Everything for this moment risked, Gatwick her portal from a life known to a life unknown. Certainty, albeit fragmented, gone. Heavy, grey eyes reflect belongings and loved ones left behind for an unshaped dream. 

Bewildered she trusts and we leave. 

Not a week later she explains, “for many months I have not slept, who are these people? Only photos and names”. 

We’re eating, sharing, laughing. Two cultures collide to create something new over chicken shawarma,  tabbouleh, yogurt and sweet sweet coffee. The room dominated by our welcome sign, a comforting reminder, an art installation of  corporate love. Her eyes now different. She laughs, her head rolls back and the room is full of joy. The faceless greyness of uncertainty replaced with the beauty and deep colours of hope.

The Bullet List...

It is refugee week 2019, six weeks ago we welcomed an amazing family into our community, it all started with a simple question 'is Community Sponsorship something you could consider?' 

Looking back I can hardly believe my reply. The simple invite brutally ducked out of it with a carefully worded, six bullet pointed apologetic for non-involvement. No house, no money, no capacity, a bullet list of fear and indifference.

Looking back I can hardly believe how the doors opened. It was like a retirement was meant for this moment with it availability, willingness and drive. Meetings and dreams, planning and scheming and we were on our way. A new bullet list emerging.

·             A local authority willing to help and to guide.
·             A benefactor willing to give.
·             Our church both local and national willing to support.
·             A team willing to give.
·             A Home Office willing to guide.
·            Application forms filled
·            Resettlement plan completed
·             A house bought  
·             Painted, decorated, carpeted
·             Willing translators found
·             Warm Job centre contacts made
·             Food bought, fridge filled
·             Mini bus booked
·             The day is here.

Six weeks in and hiccups, frustrations, misunderstandings seem far away. Looking back I can hardly believe we made it, but we did. Together we worked and prayed through a far better bullet list, a list bringing unimaginable difference.

Thinking of Community Sponsorship? It’s worth it!


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

In his eyes….

I don't tend to blog as much but this is a day I don't want to forget.... btw Jamal is a pseudonym


I looked into his eyes and I saw why we had invested so much of ourselves into this project. “Thank you thank you thank you….”, we were at the airport and the Syrian family we will be sponsoring were with us in arrivals. The boys were beyond themselves with happiness. Jamal looks at his family and then me and  whispers ‘thank you’.

Communicating through google translate Jamal reads my message, “we are looking forward to sharing life with you”, he looks up at me, tears well up. Full of emotion Jamal speaks into the phone and shows me the translation, “nothing I can say will let you know how grateful we are… we are safe”.

Out in the garden, high above an EasyJet Airbus banks and changes direction, the engines whine in protest, Jamal violently sucks in air, ducks and looks at me with eyes of terror. For a moment hope cowered. I try to reassure but sense the indelible memories of a life only seen by me on the BBC. With a sharp exhale of relief the moment is gone,  and I recognise what we have done through Community Sponsorship. 

Tonight a family sleep safely in a home lovingly prepared by a church I am immensely proud. Tomorrow is the first day of a new life for us all!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Lessons for TSA from a Spider Crab...!

I can't imagine there are many that don't enjoy sitting and marveling at what the BBC serve up on a Sunday evening with the amazing Sir David Attenborough! Octopus is definitely my new favourite cephalopod!

But the spider crabs on this week were equally as stunning. Their gathering in extreme numbers to molt their shells struck me as being a rather pertinent lesson. Thousands merging together to support and protect one another as they lost their shell and the soft shell beneath hardened. Support for one another at a time of extreme vulnerability.

I didn't think too much more about this until my daily dose of Rohr popped into my inbox today. I read how Episcopal Bishop Mark Dyer referred to 'recurring periods of upheaval in the church as giant “rummage sales” in which the church rids itself of what is no longer needed and rediscovers treasures it had forgotten'. Rohr continues by quoting Phyllis Tickle who suggested in the process of building necessary structure in institutions, we eventually “elaborate, encrust, and finally embalm them with the accretion of both our fervor and our silliness. At that point there is no hope for either religion or society, save only to knock the whole carapace off ourselves and start over again.” 

I wonder what those spiders feel like once they shed their shells - I bet they feel brilliant!

Sunday, October 01, 2017

'first being last and the last being first' thinking...

We used this prayer this morning written by Gary Kowalski

Gracious Spirit,

Who makes the first to be last and the last to be first,
Who makes the rain to fall and the sun to shine upon all,
Help us to understand that life is not an contest
Where having the most toys is the point of the game,
To realize that the victor’s circle can be the loneliest spot on earth,
To recognize that the greatest rewards don’t come from winning
but from relationships where both triumphs and tears can be celebrated and shared.

Powerful Spirit,

Infuse us with your lifegiving strength
And grant us the inward security of knowing our own goodness
without needing to prove it to the world;
Lift us above both envy and pride --
the need to feel superior to others and feelings of inadequacy alike --
Enabling us to walk together as equals,
At home in the great community of life.

Wise Spirit,

We know that life is not a race to be won
But a journey to be savoured.
Grant us the faith to live each day with the finish line in sight
So that when our days are over
Our achievements will be measured not by the degrees we’ve earned, or the size of our estate,
but by the dimensions of our character,
not by the quantity of our possessions
but by the quality of our love 

Triumphant Spirit,

Instill in us a yearning for the prizes that matter most:
Not the laurels of celebrity or acclaim that bring just passing pleasure,
But grant us the more enduring gold
Of a life well lived,
Spent in gratitude for what we’ve been given rather than in pining for things we lack,
Gratitude for friends, for work, for opportunities to use our gifts in service to the world.
Holy Spirit, hear our prayer.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Prophets - Rohr...

A bit of today's daily dose of Rohr...

"Prophets, by their very nature, cannot be at the center of any social structure. Rather, they are “on the edge of the inside.” They cannot be fully insiders, but they cannot throw rocks from outside either. They must be educated inside the system, knowing and living the rules, before they can critique what is non- essential or not so important. Jesus did this masterfully (see Matthew 5:17-48). This is what Martin Luther King, Jr. taught the United States, what Gandhi taught British-occupied India, and what Nelson Mandela taught South Africa. Only with great respect for and understanding of the rules can a prophet know how to properly break those very same rules—for the sake of a greater purpose and value. A prophet critiques a system by quoting its own documents, constitutions, heroes, and Scriptures against its present practice. This is their secret: systems are best unlocked from inside."

One of the most common complaints I hear from some Catholics is, “You criticize the Church too much.” But criticizing the Church is just being faithful to the very clear pattern set by the prophets and Jesus (just read Matthew 23). I would not bother criticizing organized Christianity if I did not also love it. There is a negative criticism that is nothing but complaining and projecting. There is a positive criticism that is all about hope and development. (R Rohr)