Light Parties near you...

Light Parties near you...
A safer environment...

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Frightened by Halloween? Try these safe alternatives...

Some children enjoy Halloween, others are frightened by the masks, dressing up and unwelcome knocks at the door. The churches in and around Newbury are hosting various parties for children for 31st October which provide a safe, non-scary place to party. 
These events are free, with refreshments served and lots of fun and games.
·       St Nics Newbury: Snap Crackle and Pop Party Thursday 7th November 5.00-7.00pm
·       Thatcham Baptist Church: Treat Station Thursday 31st October 5.30pm-7.30pm 
Glendale Church Let's Glo Thrsday 31st October 5.30-7.00pm The Well, Thatcham RG19 3RG
Newbury baptist Church Join the Circus Thursday 31st October 5.00-7.00pm 
Maybe find a safe Halloween event at at church near you...?


Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Book Review: Milkman by Anna Burns

70's Belfast. Violence. Suspicion. Sectarianism. Longing for safety and escape. This is this scene for Anna Burns' novel which won 2018 Man Booker Prize. An unnamed 18 year old woman is ducking and diving, reading and running in this tense, long winded story which could be set in any totalitarian regime where whispers, gossip and who-not-to-trust under oppressive, brutal regimes are the order of every day. The reader never discovers her name, the names of brothers and sisters or "maybe-boyfriend" which deliberating dangles the reader over the world of secrecy and suspicion. Milkman is a creepy, older man who stalks and grooms the central character. In fact, Milkman stalks and unnerves the reader...

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

PUG - Parental University Grief

It is that time of year - children leaving home to go to University. For those going to uni it can be a time of great excitement mixed with trepidation. For those left at home: mother, father, siblings, it can be a time of real sadness. Of loss. Feeling like a bereavement. We can underestimate the emotional impact of a child leaving home to go to university. The power of the emotion took me by surprise. I call it PUG - Parental University Grief. It is real thing. Psychologists measure emotional impact in units out of 100. Apparently, a child going to uni for those left at home is 29 points of impact. High impact.
You are not strange. Thousands of parents and brothers and sisters are feeling what you are feeling this week...

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

100 Romantic Ideas #60-100

Beverley and I did the Marriage Seminar at Westpoint - a Christian festival in the summer. We called it "100 Romantic Ideas". We got the delegates to do the work in expressing what they thought was romantic. Here are some of the answers:

  • A surprise weekend away
  • A well prepared evening
  • Exploring somewhere new 
  • Evening on the canals of Venice
  • Texting romantic messages
  • Good conversation
  • Stroke as you walk past each other
  • Surprise dinner
  • Foot massage
  • Stargazing together
  • Dancing
  • Organise a fishing trip for your husband
  • Having a lie-in
  • Picnic
  • Renew wedding vows
  • Anything that doesn't involve teenage children
  • Listen
  • Posting affirming statements about your spouse on social media
  • Take a boat out
  • Together with no technology
  • Quality time
  • Playing a game
  • Cleaning the house
  • Running
  • Flowers
  • Beach walk
  • Rose petals on the bed
  • Kissing more than once a day
  • Bringing tea in bed
  • Focus on your partners favourite thing
  • Homemade chocolate
  • Presents
  • Reassurance
  • Put love gel on for my husband to kiss\lick off
  • Spontaneity
  • Hot air balloon
  • A week of saying nice things
  • Cook a romantic dinner, serve it naked!

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Mark's Highlights of Westpoint 2019

Westpoint is the annual festival of the Commission family of churches- part of Newfrontiers. 4,000 campers gather at Westpoint arena in Exeter for 4 days of worship, teaching, fellowship, fun and family activities. Amongst the highlights this year were: the weather, Commission Collective (gathering of the best musicians and singers from Commission churches), Hannah Anderson speaking on the Goodness of God, Guy preaching from a fishing boat, blacksmithing and ferreting, extensive sports programme, great range of seminars, amazing works of art in the worship, camping together in church groups and...oh, the weather!
See the highlights video here:

Monday, 19 August 2019

The 9 Top Jokes from the Edinburgh Festival 2019

2.”Someone stole my antidepressants. Whoever they are, I hope they’re happy” – Richard Stott
3.”What’s driving Brexit? From here it looks like it’s probably the Duke of Edinburgh” – Milton Jones
4. “A cowboy asked me if I could help him round up 18 cows. I said, ‘Yes, of course. – That’s 20 cows'” – Jake Lambert
5. “A thesaurus is great. There’s no other word for it” – Ross Smith
6. “Sleep is my favourite thing in the world. It’s the reason I get up in the morning” – Ross Smith
7. “I accidentally booked myself onto an escapology course; I’m really struggling to get out of it” – Adele Cliff
8. “After learning six hours of basic semaphore, I was flagging – Richard Pulsford
9. “To be or not to be a horse rider, that is Equestrian” – Mark Simmons
And the winner: 

1. “I keep randomly shouting out ‘Broccoli’ and ‘Cauliflower’ – I think I might have florets” - Olaf Falafel who then said:
“This is a fantastic honour but it’s like I’ve always said, jokes about white sugar are rare, jokes about brown sugar… demerara.”

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Leadership Lessons from Matthew and Anne Clifton-Brown

Matthew and Anne Clifton-Brown are unsung heroes of the family of churches called Newfrontiers. I had the pleasure of spending time with them recently and picked their brains about leadership lessons they have learnt. Context: Matthew and Anne planted a church in Newcastle, grew it to 250, bought a building, transitioned leadership, moved to plant a church in Edinburgh, grew it 250, bought a building, transitioned leadership and are now planting another church in West Lothian (Livingstone). Oh, they have 6 children!
In short, we have a lot to learn from them.
Here are some of their leadership gems:

  • Remember, God is in charge. It is His church
  • Don't be a perfectionist
  • Don't over look people and miss a leader-in-waiting
  • Don't overlook pastoral people
  • Have faith for people
  • Don't be controlling
  • Be prepared to let go of the wheel
  • Remember to have fun!
  • Don't take yourself too seriously
  • Don't be too intense
  • Read fiction 
  • Appoint elders
  • Wives have amazing power and influence
  • Work hard at building team
  • Lift others up
  • Transition well. Think about it early

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Enchanted by The Highlands of Scotland

We have just got back from our first holiday in The Highlands: clean air, good weather, jaw dropping scenery, great drives, stunning walks, the long climb up Ben Nevis, good food in local inns, surprising wildlife (including 2 stags nearby), lots of accommodation, lots to see and do, culminating at The Edinburgh Festival. Why have I not been before...?!

Friday, 26 July 2019

Highlights of Sustainable Power Conference

Kings Arms Bedford is a large church. It also has a large building - the former Crayola crayon factory. The church building houses the church, the ministries, plus the Kings Arms (homeless) Project and a very snazzy coffee chop. There are 60 staff!
The speakers at The Sustainable Power conference were Simon Holley (his book is the same title), Wendy Mann, PJ and Phil Wilthew. They were all great. I appreciated the teaching, the vulnerability of the speakers and most of all, the encouraging stories from members of the church about what God is doing.
Going to a conference, being a delegate, not responsible for anything, not serving, just receiving was great. If you get the chance I can highly recommend the church or one of the many conferences run there:

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

What is The Thinker thinking about?

You are probably familiar with the sculpture - or are you? Auguste Rodin's The Thinker is one of the world's most recognisable sculptures. You have probably seen the parody of him sitting on the loo too. But do you know what he is really thinking about?
The Thinker is part of a much bigger piece of art on double bronze doors made in 1880. It is called The Gates of Hell. Those entering eternal torment can been seen behind, below and around The Thinker. What then do you think he is thinking about surrounded by such it regret, is it opportunity not taken, is it the eternal godless consequences of his choices...?

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Introducing Lisa John...CAP Debt Centre Manager

This is Lisa John. She is the new CAP (Christians Against Poverty) Debt Centre Manager for Newbury and the surrounding area. Lisa and the team will be available to help and support those facing crippling debt and financial difficulty. Lisa will be working 2 days a week.
If you would like to contact Lisa to find out how you can be involved with the Debt Centre email
If you would like financial help please call the CAP Helpline: 0800 328 0006

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

100 Romantic Ideas #41-60

Sometimes the best thing you can do is put something in the diary, otherwise it just doesn't happen. This might include intimate time together. With busy lives, children, work, other family commitments and general tiredness, intimate time can get squeezed out. We all know it is important. As we get older, agreeing a time for intimacy can help.
Other helps might include:

  • Choose a time you are both awake!
  • Enjoy the anticipation
  • Flirt during the day
  • Touch often
  • Send each other texts
  • Be all there
  • Talk about what you like
  • Have a shower or bath
  • Smell nice
  • Brush your teeth
  • Clean sheets
  • Tidy room
  • Fragrant candles
  • Soft music
  • Take your time
  • Lock on the door
  • No phones 
  • Cuddle lots
  • Don't rush off

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

100 Romantic Ideas #26-40 by Beverley!

My definition of Romance would be an action taken that ignites and increases the feeling of love. Here are some:
  • surprises
  • homemade presents
  • flowers
  • cards 
  • newspaper letters cut out in a message
  • emails
  • tickets 
  • a nice date day in the diary
  • chatting in the car
  • a meal cooked
  • going for a walk and talk
  • listening to the radio together
  • commenting and conversation about what we have read 
  • looking at photos of our holidays and of the family
  • making up stories

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

100 Romantic Ideas #5-25

Dance to that song
Curl up on the sofa
Watch a movie
(that she likes!)
Go for a walk
Hold hands
Hug slow
Kiss long
Touch often
Look longingly
Speak softly
Cook dinner
Light candles
Take time
Watch the rain
Watch the sunset
Watch the clouds
Watch each other
Write a poem
Write a letter
Talk often
Smell nice

Friday, 24 May 2019