Please comment or contact me on Twitter with suggestions of people this letter should go to by Monday, 10th October. Anonymous comments are fine for now, I'll have to screen them/turn them off if it gets abusive.

I'll also give it until Monday for people to sign. If you want to sign, please leave your name, post (if applicable and you're happy to share) and parish in a comment, or contact me on Twitter:

EDITED TO ADD: This letter is to church leaders/churches. It is from people who would like churches to resist Amber Rudd's name-and-shame proposal if it becomes law. Please do sign it if you support the idea.

I'd like to send it to the Church Times, but more importantly to various churches and Christian organisations within the UK.

Dear [Church leader],

On Wednesday, 5th October, Home Secretary Amber Rudd proposed measures to crack down on overseas students and workers, including compelling businesses to publish the percentage of foreign workers they hire.1.

While we do not yet know what may be included in the eventual legislation, the possibility of naming and shaming employers who hire foreign workers is extremely concerning. The government already has access to information about the nationality of workers, through the National Insurance number scheme. Making such information public, in a society where xenophobic hate crime is a growing problem2, seems calculated to increase conflict. At best, it will make it more difficult for foreign nationals to find work even if they already have permission to live and work in the United Kingdom, as many companies will play it safe and turn away foreign applicants. At worst, it could lead to serious violence against foreign nationals or businesses that employ them.

Whatever one's views on immigration, Christians have an obligation to care for foreigners living here: to care for the alien and stranger.

Churches are charities, not businesses; however, most do employ people in both local and organisational contexts. We call on all churches to refuse cooperation with any regulation which requires them to calculate, pass on, or publish the percentage of their workers who may be foreign.

Yours in Christ,

Kathryn Rose

Mark Hewerdine, Priest-in-charge, St Chad's Ladybarn, Diocese of Manchester
The Revd Philip Green, Assistant Curate, Parish of St Peter, London Colney, St Albans
Karen Sumpter, Churchwarden, All Saints Evesham
Anne-Marie Organ, Franciscan Tertiary & member of St Michael, East Wickham in the Diocese of Southwark
John Halton, elder, Christ Lutheran Church, Petts Wood

Diana Hofler, St Andrew's Leytonstone
Stephanie Offer
The Revd Dr Catherine Dowland-Pillinger, St Paul's with St Agatha's, Woldingham
Dr Stephen Coltrane, St Michael & All Angels, Bedford Park
The Revd Caroline Martin, curate at St Margaret's, Berechurch, Essex

Rachel Wakefield, Lay Reader, Diocese of St Albans
Jem Bloomfield, parish of St John the Baptist, Beeston
Alex Roberts
Brian Johnson
Chris Hutchings, Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, Church of Scotland

Angie Panozzo
Jill Segger, Associate Director, Ekklesia
Steve Clough
Revd Ronni Lamont
Helen Brennan, Our Lady & St Joseph, Kingsland

The Revd David Hughes, Minister, Paignton Baptist Church.
Ade Couper
Zair Ficinski
Kathleen Jowitt, St Andrew's, Chesterton, Cambridge
Karin McDonald, Godalming Parish

Ali Wilkin, Lay leader, SOURCE Community, The Hythe, Colchester
Andrew Avramenko, Holy Trinity Church, Diocese of Bath and Wells
Rachel Edge. Electoral Roll, Holy Trinity Clapham.
Julie Winkless, Belmont St Mary Magdalene (Durham)
Anke Plummer, St George Wolverton

Clare Lissaman
The Bridge, Hinckley
Jacq Applebee
David Barton
The Revd Stephen M Day

Gareth Hughes
Liz Gloyn
Elly Hadaway
Robert Marshall, Reader, Macclesfield Team Ministry, Diocese of Chester
Barbara Kennedy

Revd Dr Keith Hebden, Director of Urban Theology Unit
Mark Bostock, St. Bene't's Church, Cambridge
Bob Stoner, Birmingham
Gary Burnett
Francis Dickinson

Julian Bond
Steven Maxson, Director of Music, Grimsby Minster
Sally Johnson, St Peter in the Forest, Walthamstow
Julie Lunn, Madley Chuch, Hereford Diocese
Bridget de Mello, Associate Priest, Holy Trinity and St Augustine of Hippo, Harrow Green.

Ian Halliday, Reader, Diocese of Chester
Eve Jacques

[other signatories: hopefully lots]

If you would like to sign the letter please comment with details I can verify (e.g. which parish you minister in), or contact me via Twitter.

(There are probably better ways of doing this, but I am in a hurry and I don't know what they are. So this is what you get.)

1 Amber Rudd vows to stop migrants 'taking jobs British people could do' and force companies to reveal number of foreigners they employ, Telegraph, 4th October 2016.

2 Brexit: Wave of hate crime and racial abuse reported following EU referendum, Independent, 26th June 2016

Edited to add: You don't have to be ordained to sign, but if you're associated with a church in some way (ie you attend regularly or are on the electoral roll or are a member or similar), including that is probably good. But this is not a letter from churches, you are not signing on behalf of your parish or anything else, you are signing on behalf of yourself and asking churches to take a stand on this issue.

Edited to reflect comments here and on Twitter. Meaning substantially unchanged: I removed scare quotes, and changed wording slightly and added a link to show hate crime is a growing problem. Changed "duty of care to" to "obligation to care for" as the former has a specific legal meaning which is not appropriate in this context.

If you have names/addresses of people you think this letter should be sent to, please contact me on Twitter: (Don't put people's addresses in public comments on this post, please!)

I will add signatories in batches over the next few days, and hope to post the letter properly on Monday.

EDIT, 11/10/2016:
Yesterday and today have been more difficult than I expected, but I am getting this letter sent and will put it on my main blog tomorrow. Comments are now closed.
So on Twitter @RevJarelRB said someone shoudl perform a Requiem for all those refugee souls lost at sea and I am thinking that writing one might be an idea.

I would want to raise money for e.g. MSF or some similar organisation -- or even better, one run by refugees? I'm not sure. I sortof know someone who works at MSF and might be willing to talk to me though so it's as good a place to start as any.

I don't want to be appropriative and I don't want this to be about my voice, necessarily. I would hope to interview some actual refugees, and with their permission, use their words/experiences -- about the persecution they are fleeing and also about the journey itself.

I'm thinking of the standard text of the Requiem Mass, in Latin, interspersed with words of refugees in English and other languages.


NaPoWriMo 3

Apr. 5th, 2016 07:36 pm

I tell myself it's only
a trick of the light,
wishful thinking,
the sun in my eyes...

But my memory is seared with brightness.

NaPoWriMo 2

Apr. 2nd, 2016 05:07 pm
A thousand small kindnesses you offer.
Each builds on the last,
row on row, until
I learn to wrap myself,
safe and warm,
in the blanket of your care.

NaPoWriMo 1

Apr. 2nd, 2016 05:02 pm
A lune:

Saturday: wash clothes,
mow the grass,
make this house a home.
I've decided to take part in NaPoWriMo 2016. I last did this in 2013, and didn't finish, partly because at the time I was planning my wedding and various other things. This year I have less on my plate and I am hoping to complete thirty poems in thirty days.
There's a flap going around Twitter at the moment about the possibility of "algorithmic", which is to say, non-chronological, timelines.

People are unhappy and upset about this because it takes away from them, the users, control over who they interact with. That has a pretty disruptive effect on the community; it's a bit like going to a pub where the landlord tries to guess which sentences people say that you will like, and somehow only lets you hear those.

what's actually going on? )

So far, so theoretical. What are we supposed to do to help our social networks survive, to maintain viability (with some kind of convenience) for those relationships we treasure and continue having access to new relationships online?

There isn't, I'm afraid, an easy, convenient answer: no matter what you do, some people you'd desperately like to stay in touch with are probably not going to stay in touch, because using some other means of communication is more effort than they want to put into the friendship. I remember when this happened to me on a small scale: someone I had been conversing with a lot via Gmail Chat (remember that? Before the whole Google+ thing) stopped using it, and... it turns out that e-mail isn't a good way for that person and me to converse, and they don't have that much time for Twitter these days either. I still feel abandoned and forlorn about it, but the truth is, if the person really wanted to keep in touch with me at the level we were in touch, they would have taken the time to do it. And yes, that does hurt, even though I know there's no ill-will, just not enough hours in the day.

Losing a platform, either suddenly or gradually, will highlight a lot of that. It's going to hurt. There's a lot we can do to mitigate the effects, though, so that when (not if) Twitter (or some other network) becomes unusable, it feels more like "one of the local pubs is closing, that's sad" than "the only pub I could ever go to has become uninhabitable and I have no other way of contacting my friends".

Step 1: Have another point of contact. That might be here on Dreamwidth, it might be giving your e-mail address to people, it might be the Book of Face (yuck), it might be somewhere else. But have it, and make sure people you want to stay in touch with know about it.

Step 2: Seek out and maintain other networks. This always feels a bit like a betrayal, and it requires a change in habits, but maintaining some kind of a presence -- even a post once or twice a week -- is probably a good idea.

Step 3: Cultivate closer ties with a smaller group of people. There are people I try to see regularly offline if I can. There are people I e-mail regularly. I'm a lot choosier about who gets to see my locked Twitter account and my not-this-username Dreamwidth account than I am about the public, artsyhonker-associated accounts.

I think where a lot of people are falling down is at Step 2: if you've mostly only used Twitter and Twitter is easy to use from your phone and Facebook is terrible, where do you go?

Here are some suggestions:

GNUsocial: This is an open-source federation of servers ("instances" or "nodes") that are a lot like Twitter. There's a 140-character limit. The protocol they use is called Ostatus. I use it as @artsyhonker on the server, the public timeline of which is a bit scary to see at the moment. All of the whack-a-mole problems with abuse and spambots and unwanted porn exist here, but one strength is that you can set it up so that it cross-posts to Twitter: if I post a 'queet' or notice or whatever it is, it also appears on my Twitter timeline. So there's a bit of continuity there, at least. I know of two Android clients that support it: &Status (or AndStatus) and Mustard. Neither of them are amazing, but there may well be others in existence.

The main weakness of GNUSocial, other than just not having the critical mass of Twitter, seems to be a lack of coherence of things like direct messages and private groups over instance/node borders. I don't use DMs a lot on Twitter so I'm not sure this is a huge problem. And there's other stuff that's different on different instances... apparently the Rainbow Dash instance has no character limit, but I don't know how that works with displaying things on, say, If you're looking to keep a close-knit group together it might make sense to all migrate to the same instance. If you're sure you'll keep in touch with one another in other ways anyway, you might want to each check out an instance and find out which one will work best for your needs.

Dreamwidth: You're reading this post on Dreamwidth. It's an online journal system that sort of forked off of Livejournal several years ago. As you can see, it doesn't have a 140-character limit! It does allow for the use of cut tags for longer posts, though. And you get a 'reading page' (see the public posts on mine here) which is... in reverse chronological order! Hurrah! Comments on entries are threaded nicely and don't turn up as entries/posts in their own right, so it's a little bit harder to join in unless you want to, but also easier to not get bogged down in conversations you don't really want to be part of. And -- get this -- you can decide on a post by post basis which posts are public, which are access locked to just people you've granted access to, and which are only visible to people on particular filters. You can decide whether to allow comments from anonymous users or just people with Dreamwidth accounts. You can also use it as an RSS reader, so if you're still kindof missing Google Reader from your life, this is a really good thing. It's community-led and community-funded: the revenue model is that you can have a paid account, which has more bells and whistles. But the free accounts are definitely very much enough to be getting on with.

The main weakness of Dreamwidth is the lack of a mobile client. The Android client 'EllJay' will post to Dreamwidth, but it's pretty limited. I understand that [personal profile] marnanel is working on an Android client with more functionality.

Streetbank: This isn't so much an online social network as an online way of meeting your geographical neighbours, a cross between Freecycle, skillsharing sites and a tool library. The idea is that you can loan people actual things, or given them away. You can tell it how far away you want to see requests from (I think the radius can be 1 to 4 miles) and your own address is kept private. I'm including it here because I think getting to know some neighbours can be a good thing.

Weaknesses/unknowns: I have no idea if there's a mobile app and I have no idea how to get it up to a critical mass in a local area; it almost needs deliberate, strategic adoption by a small group of people in an area to work, I think. As things stand, I don't get reminder e-mails often enough that it's a big part of my life, but if everyone within a one-mile radius of me posted three things per week (for lending or give-away) it would probably get spammy (there are 134 of us). I'm not sure what the revenue model is, which makes me a bit uneasy.

None of these are a replacement for Twitter; all of them are worth checking out. Other suggestions are welcome.

I'll see you around.


Nov. 19th, 2015 03:31 pm
On the first day of the week,
Women at the tomb did seek
Their Master; but the stone was rolled away.

Terrified, they bowed their heads,
"He's not here, he is not dead,
But risen," dazzling angels then did say.

Then the women did return,
Told the others what they'd learned:
That Love had won the Resurrection Day.
The General Synod of the Church of England met today; one of the things they discussed was environmental concerns (often lumped under "stewardship" on Planet Church).

For a few years I've been grumbling under my breath "Well, there are something like 14000 south-facing church roofs in the C of E alone, too bad English Heritage can't let us put solar panels on most of them." My own church is a Grade II Listed building in a conservation area, and our chances of putting solar panels on our roof are approximately nil.

Now, I'm not suggesting that ancient roofs that are of particular interest (maybe thatched or something) should be replaced by shiny shiny solar panels. But being serious, the vast majority of church roofs are not anything special: their function is to keep the rain off, and that's about it. But because of the way the listing of older buildings works, we can't differentiate between the roof and the walls, the windows and the drainpipes; and while there is something to be said for architectural harmony, many modern solar panels are very unobtrusive anyway.

But I'm not the only one grumbling about this. It's just that it gets lost among the messages about using less packaging, and encouraging people to cycle more rather than drive, and eating less meat... all good and noble things to do, but not something most church communities are going to be able to get behind in an enthusiastic way. Similarly, divesting from fossil fuels is great, but as far as Yer Average Churchgoer is concerned, not something that affects the day-to-day running of the place. And as for solar panels at home, well, I rent, and so do many people I know, and solar panels on a private home are nearly as large a project as solar panels on a church, with many less people to lend a hand with the work.

So I wonder... could a campaign in the church at many levels shift government policy on listed buildings to allow installation of solar panels on most churches? If we just focus on the solar panels, might we make more headway than if we talk about all the little lifestyle changes we all need to make? Getting solar panels (whether hot water or photovoltaic) on a church roof is something a lot of churches *can* move toward, with help, if it's made legal; and campaigning to have it made legal in all or most places might be something people can get behind.

There is always the danger of seeming a bit hippie-middle-class-ish, but the reality is that solar panels on churches in the poorest communities will save money for those churches (or even act as a source of income) and help them help the wider community more.

And, of course, a church with solar panels on the roof is making a strong statement: that this is a community which can move with the times, which takes seriously our stewardship of the planet on which we live. It makes our cruciform, east-oriented buildings with all their south-facing roofs a visible and practical symbol of our role and commitment to that role. It makes our buildings indicate a sacramental presence, if you will. It is a way of looking at the earth, as God did, and seeing that it is good -- and then showing that we'll put our money where our mouth is and act on it.

I think this project needs:
-a lot more thought
-a snappy name (probably not SPORC for Solar Panels On Roofs of Churches, for what it's worth)
-maybe a canon lawyer
-someone who is good at grassroots campaigning
-general admin time
-a fair bit of untangling of situations where churches can *already* install solar panels (in some places it really is possible)

I think we might want to talk to:
-other denominations, especially if they have lots of listed buildings
-Friends of the Earth
-Transition Towns (these are quite locally based so it might be easier to make links at a local level)
-Green Christians
It's that time of year again: time to get started on the Online Carols

I'm making a new mailing list for this year's coordination.
It is at -- please join it if you would like to contribute. If anyone else you know would like to contribute then please ask them to e-mail me (artsyhonker at gmail dot com) or join the list. Some years people have just randomly prepared things and sent them to me, which is great but I can't always use such material if all the slots are full!

What's involved:
1) I'll set up a Doodle poll with slots for the readings, music, and prayers and reflections
2) Each person takes responsibility for one of the slots.
3) You can work together on things, of course, and I'll include links to artwork we've been given permission to use, and so on.
4) I'll set up 'dummy' private posts on the site.
5) Record your work, make sure you have a plaintext copy of any lyrics or the words of the reading, and add it to the relevant post on the wordpress site (more detailed instructions later) or just send it to me. Please make sure your sound files, if you have them, are already online: soundcloud is a good way to do this (if you don't have an account already you can get a basic one for free).
6) Publicise the carol service on social media.
7) There will be a "retiring collection" for Shelter. I've set up a JustGiving page here: so that we'll be able to see how much we've raised.

I'd like to have all the content by the end of 22nd December in all timezones, so that on 23rd December I can make sure everything is in order and still have time to pick up any dropped pieces.

Any questions do ask them below!
I'm looking for a London-based 3D modeller who is willing to help me with a project which has the potential to make life better for a lot of people.

I have EDS type 3, which means my ligaments is more stretchy, and my joints are much more flexible and bendy than they should be. For most of my body, this means lots of physio training to keep muscles strong so they can support the joints instead. For my hands, this doesn't work so well: hands don't have a lot of muscle in them, so exercise to increase stability isn't really practical.

One partial solution to this is to wear ring splints. The splints stop the joints bending backward, meaning less pain and more strength.

Unfortunately, ring splints are kind of a specialist item.
Currently available splint options )

I recognise that some stuff is just never going to work off-the-shelf. I will probably have to have custom jewellery made if I want thumb splints that aren't thermoplastic.

But for fingers, things are a bit simpler. Fingers are basically just tapers with joints in them. 3D printing is an ideal way to make finger splints: prototypes can be printed quite easily, rather than needing injection moulding equipment. But it should be possible to create ring splints in a variety of sizes and styles, which are both more comfortable than the plastic Oval-8 splints and cheaper than the custom-made ones. Shapeways offers printing in a wide variety of materials, including plastic, brass, steel, silver and gold. So it would be quite feasible to get plastic splints printed to test fit, then order the ones I like in steel or brass for everyday, and eventually silver or gold for "best". If one got lost it would be easy to replace. Shapeways probably aren't going out of business for a long time yet, because 3D printers are still niche items.

And using Shapeways, we could a) share the design with others, who could make their own modifications if they wanted to b) offer people-who-aren't-me the opportunity to buy splints the same way, and charge say 5% or 10% extra which would then be split with whoever is working on this project with me. We wouldn't have to do order fulfilment and stuff because Shapeways already has all of that in hand; the work would be in the development and the advertising, but once it gained momentum it would just sit there making a bit of money now and then, and making a lot of people's lives easier. If it got to the point where we had to do serious amounts of customer service we could re-distribute prices/profits such that we could pay someone to do that. I'm not really interested in making huge amounts of money from this, though, I'm interested in helping people who are in my position of not being able to access appropriate metal splints without paying large amounts of money.

I don't know how much development work is involved, but I'd be willing to try and do some kind of crowdfundy thing so that whoever is doing the actual 3D modelling work can get paid. But first, I need to find someone to work with. I'm based in London, and I'll want to meet regularly in person.

If you're interested in getting involved in this project, comment here or e-mail me at artsyhonker at gmail dot com.
I went to a Questor's Choir event today, a "cracking the code" thing where choir members and complete strangers come along and learn a bit about sight reading and warming up and singing, and tackle some repertoire. It was good. The director says they make a loss on the event by the time they'v paid to rent the church, paid an accompanist, paid to print the booklets and but usually get one or two people joining the choir as a result.

I'm thinking about running something similar at St Andrew's, though on a slightly different level. Basics of hymn-singing, reading music, breathing etc for non-singers, charge a small fee (all proceeds to the organ fund, at least this time -- or maybe better to say £100 to the organ fund in lieu of hall hire, and anything over that goes to costs and my fee until it passes £200?), advertise the heck out of it locally. Under 16s must be accompanied by a parent, 16-25s get in free.

If I had basic details and a date hashed out by the time the carol service happened I could get the carol service singers to advertise that, as well as the Stainer Crucifixion; and a "singing for newbies" session might be the sort of thing that gets a lot of publicity on various local bits of Twitter, for example, in a way that Top 20 Hymns etc won't.

We'll see... just jotting it down here so I don't forget.
I (or rather, my generous patrons) met my first funding goal on Patreon and now I have to start the associated project.

The project is a (small) hymnal, with all the work in it released under CC BY-SA or CC BY-SA-NC, and released for free online. Some of the music will be stuff I've written already; some will be new. And some of it will be by other people, if I get enough submissions. I am thinking of about 30-50 hymns.

I would like the focus to be mostly traditional-style hymn tunes -- not worship songs -- and the majority of the book should be suitable for congregational singing when accompanied by organ or piano, or by non-percussion acoustic instruments doubling vocal lines. The words can be a mixture of new and old, but I would like new ones to be as inclusive as possible. I'm open to material in a range of styles within the congregational hymn-singing tradition (Lutheran hymnody has a different flavour to English, for example).

If possible I'd like to publish two print editions using lulu: one with full music, and one with melody (and chord symbols if appropriate). No, I'm not going to publish a words-only version, even if we do a third edition with large print. This is sortof a second project, really, but the hymnal itself will be published with the possibility of print in mind. It may be worth pitching the finished product to the RSCM and similar; they can sell it as a "photocopiable resource" even to parishes that don't have a CCLI licence. And selling hard copies could in theory make it possible to pay editors and contributors.

What I want to do this week is:
a) find two or three possible co-editors to help me with things like choosing words, judging submissions by people who want to contribute, proofreading, and so on. I have a few people in mind but don't know if they'll say "yes" and I know I can't do this alone. I haven't yet worked out how I might be able to pay them, but I would like to, even if it is only a token fee; but it isn't impossible, since I'll be getting paid for new works through Patreon.
b) issue a Call for Material with a deadline sometime in August so that I can breathe and do the other projects that are vying for my attention this summer (Mystery Plays and Song Cycle). The call will be for words, music or both. It needs to make absolutely clear the CC BY-SA or CC BY-SA-NC nature of the project! And it needs to have an attached e-mail address or form or something (this is easy) so I can have all the submissions in one place, not scattered about here, there and everywhere on the internet.
c) work out a reasonable timeline for the other parts of the project.
d) write some kind of update for my Patreon sponsors so they see I am following through on this
e) return to my scheduled panic about Holy Week.

This means, potential co-editors, that this week I would want a bit of help clarifying the wording of the Call for Material, but other than that you're off the hook until August.

Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Offers of help?
This is a bit train-of-thought so it is going here rather than on my proper blog. There may well be a part II and a part III at some stage, because I would like to explore both the the wider societal implications of overwork, and ways of holding the centre and refusing that paradigm while stuck in a bureaucracy that is currently pretty wedded to it, but doing so in the same post as all this practical stuff is too long.

There was a conversation on Twitter last night of how many hours per week full-time stipendiary clergy should work, and how that matches the expectations parishioners have.

Clergy do face unique challenges, and I don't for a moment wish to imply otherwise. But this is a wider problem than just one faced by clergy. As a freelance musician I deal with some similar issues. Nobody really expects me to be pastorally available, and there isn't the same sense of responsibility to one community, but those are the main differences.

Here are some of the challenges from my perspective:
challenges )
I think the above will all sound very familiar to clergy and to other people who manage most of their own time.

I spent a few years keeping most of Orthodox Jewish law, and that included strict adherence to Sabbath. It was wonderful. And it has provided me with a strong sense of the value of rest, and of making a proper day off into a "hard" commitment. It gave me endless practice at saying "I'm sorry, I have another commitment then, could we do Sunday or Monday?" to people who wanted me to do things on Friday night or Saturday. It gave me the experience of being told things had to happen Right Now Or Else and finding that, no, most things can wait a day. It allowed me to see that "doing it all" is part of the same idolatry as "having it all" -- one I still struggle with, to be sure, as do many in our society, but at least I am aware of it.

There is no amount of work that I can do that will make me a "better" person. This isn't about needing to rest in order to do more, although that dynamic is also important. This is about knowing that if something doesn't get done, it doesn't get done… and that's OK. I don't have to have the perfect career or a perfectly-kept house. What I can do in six days is enough.

What this means, in practical terms, for me now is this:
practical responses )

I think some of what makes all this difficult is the background capitalist assumption that work only counts if you get paid for it. Where clergy often run into trouble is with the commonly-held notion that they are paid to be available to their parishioners at all times and in all places -- clearly impossible even in a tiny parish like St Andrew's, with roughly 3600 people in it, let alone a more typical urban parish of 16000 or so souls.

More later -- busy day ahead in which I am triple-booked at one point. Joy!
I had this idea before but didn't write down my ideas.

Basic plan:
-find other musicians-who-cycle: maybe four to six.
-cycle 30 to 50 miles per day, visiting churches
-put on concerts at the churches. The churches keep the proceeds. In return they give us dinner, somewhere to sleep, breakfast
-individual cyclists can do charity sponsorship thang
-we could do lunchtime stuff too
-not everyone has to be there entire time
-not everyone has to perform every night
-whole thing lasts about 2 weeks, leaving London on a Sunday afternoon and returning Saturday 13 nights later

It would be a bit of work to organise but it ought to be possible.

Musicians would need to play small, light instruments, or sing. We'd need to do some rehearsing and planning beforehand.

This is a very rough draft post but please do comment with suggestions, ideas, and so on.
At St Andrew's Leytonstone this summer we're hosting Mystery Plays as an organ fundraiser.

I've made an initial list of ten plays (playlets really). The idea is to have all of these covered by the beginning of June, after which if more people want to join us they're welcome and we can expand.

Various local groups have expressed interest in participating and I'll be approaching them this week to see what they'd like to do. In the meantime, if anyone reading this wants to take on a play, either with a few friends or in an already-established group, please let me know!

You don't need to be a church-goer or a Christian to take part, or to be available for loads of rehearsals. There will be a wide range of groups taking part, from (I hope) the local Scouts to semi-professional actors, and I expect that the style and presentation of the plays will vary accordingly. You do need to be able to get to St Andrew's Leytonstone on Saturday, 20th July for the performance, and you need to be able to rehearse on your own. You can use a traditional rhyming script (please remove the anti-Semitism if you do: if you're not sure about this, I can help), or make up your own, or we can provide you with a modern-language script for some of the scenes listed here.

Don't worry about there not being enough space: once these ten playlets are covered, we can always expand, so if you want to take part you won't be displacing anyone who has already registered their interest.

1. Creation -- Eve and Adam | this play is now TAKEN
2. Flood -- Noah
3. Exodus -- Moses
4. Ruth
5. Nativity
6. Baptism of Jesus
7. Last Supper
8. Crucifixion & Death of Jesus
9. Supper at Emmaus
10. First Pentecost

I know this leaves a lot of holes in the story: we will have a narrator (or a few narrators) who can fill in the gaps, so that e.g. Jesus doesn't go directly from being baptised to the Last Supper without anything happening in between!

If you'd like to take part please contact standrewsorganappeal at gmail dot com or leave a comment here with contact details (all comments will be screened until I'm told otherwise).
I didn't finish. Other things came up.

Sixteen poems in a month is still more than I've written in years, though. I'm glad I did what I did.

I discovered that I enjoy it, that sometimes I do have something to say that doesn't lend itself to prose.

I learned that I can still rhyme, though it is hard work for me to do so.

I've been reminded that I'm really terribly soppy. A quarter of the poems are love poems... oh dear!

I might write some more, from time to time.
I've always loved lilacs,
but the sweetness of your smile
makes me wish they bloomed year-round
to please you.
I would traverse mountains for you,
     cross countries and continents
     to start a new life at your side;
But you're nearby.

I could keep watch outside a castle,
     raise armies to defend you,
     vanquish every earthly foe.
But you live in an ordinary terraced house. It doesn't even have a moat. And you don't make enemies easily.

I long to capture the tears of the unicorn's cousin
     and mix them, according to ancient recipes, into an elixir
     tasting of lilacs and gin
     that cures all ills, heals all pains
     and present it to you.
But you'd only blush at the fuss and find someone who needed it more.

So I try to be sensible, and follow the world's rules in showing my clumsy affection.

I hope you understand.
The high street bustles with traffic noise,
Cheap fruit, discounts, the odd car alarm.
But yet I have known no greater joys
Than seeing your smile, taking your arm.



October 2016

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