Church Life

Signing Marriage Certificates

Tue, 31/05/2016 - 11:46 -- James

A small note for Anglican clergy who read this blog.

Until very recently, when I led the "signing of the marriage registers" after a wedding, here is how I did it: 1. The groom signs 3 copies (the two marriage registers, and what will be their marriage certificate). 2. The bride signs 3 copies. 3. Witness 1, then Witness 2, sign all 3. 4. Lastly I sign both marriage registers, I sign the same box on the marriage certificate, and then I sign the declaration at the bottom of the marriage certificate.

Blog Category: 

Advent TV

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 15:56 -- James

It's Advent.

It's widely acknowledged that there are some TV shows that are timeless, and deserve to be watched at Christmas time. The film It's a Wonderful Life, various editions of Dickens' Christmas Carol, Raymond Briggs' The Snowman, and so on.

It is less widely appreciated that there is TV that deserves to be watched each Advent.

With a hat-tip to Ian and Peter (you know who you are), here is my suggestion

Blog Category: 

How balanced is your preaching programme?

Wed, 16/07/2014 - 10:49 -- James

I had a really interesting conversation this last week on the subject of what proportions of sermons here should be on which parts of Scripture. (I said that I try to aim at 1/3 each of Old Testament, Gospel, and rest of New Testament - after using some weeks for the occasional topical series).

Blog Category: 

Of the Authority of the Church

Mon, 14/07/2014 - 20:28 -- James

THE Church hath power to decree rites or ceremonies and authority in controversies of faith; and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything contrary to God’s word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ: yet, as it ought not to decree anything against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce anything to be believed for necessity of salvation.

Daft carol lyrics

Mon, 23/12/2013 - 12:21 -- James

I love Christmas carols. Really I do. We had a great night yesterday, with about 20 from our church singing carols in lots of the public spaces in the village, joined in each place by some who live nearby.

But sometimes, honestly...

Blog Category: 

Jesus was essentially Jewish

Tue, 17/12/2013 - 10:38 -- James

It's the time of year for Christmas carol services.

On Sunday night, at ours, we sang Wesley's final verse of "Hark! The herald-angels sing". It's an absolute cracker, rich in biblical theology, that praises Christ for his work in a full way, and prays that he would accomplish his work in us and in the world.

Blog Category: 

Anyone fancy touring the Bible?

Tue, 10/12/2013 - 11:00 -- James

Bible Tour 2014The two churches of Kemsing and Woodlands in Kent are going on an ambitious journey together in 2014. We're going on a Bible tour.

Here's the plan: Read the whole Bible through 2014, in step with one another. In that sense, it's a communal read-through. (We're not actually going to come together each day to read, at least not in any way that's organised for the whole church).

Blog Category: 

Preacher: Start your prep early

Mon, 21/10/2013 - 09:18 -- James

On a Monday morning I'm always exhausted. Sundays take it out of me.

That means I often use the lion's share of Mondays to get admin done, or other things that take time but don't require the most intensive thought.

But over the years I've learnt the value of starting my preaching preparation early in the week.

(Before going further, I know: Sermon series preparation can usefully be done 6-9 months ahead, and you shouldn't first think about the passages you preach in the week before you preach them. Take that as read).

Blog Category: 

Use resources - but carefully

Tue, 30/07/2013 - 12:05 -- James

Book Shelves
Photo: Germán Póo-Caamaño
Lots of churches have had their summer holiday clubs for children - they do them as soon as term finishes. We do ours the other end of the summer - just after the bank holiday weekend.

(Quick plug: If you live in or near Kemsing, and have children who have just finished a year at primary school, we can probably still fit you in - 4 mornings starting Tuesday 27th August).

I'm looking over some of the resources we've got for the club. Never mind which one we're using, as I'm not wanting to make a point about any resource in particular. As it happens, I think the resource we're using for this year's club is excellent.

Blog Category: 

I can't grow plants

Mon, 24/06/2013 - 14:43 -- James

I cannot grow plants.

It's true that I'm not very good at gardening, or even at caring for house plants. But that's not what I mean. Even if I do remember to water them, put them in the right place, prune them, leave them alone when they need it - I can't make them grow. I cannot turn my care of the plant into cellulose and chlorophyll.

Which is also one of the most humbling, frustrating and relieving aspects of pastoral ministry.

Blog Category: 


Subscribe to Church Life