"true north for the believers" - yes that is what it says on the top of this northern monk beer can. they make great beer by the way! at greenbelt this weekend i was there both having fun in sweltering heat with family and friends but also working with cms around pioneering. this time round we had a table in the exchange venue to hold conversations about business for good. i hosted three panels with three stories in each. i also helped proost put at an event and the bit i did was playing with the idea of true north and false norths inspired by the labyrinth from 2000. we also celebrated the northern centre and i just felt we had to get some northern monk beers to do so! it felt like it was meant to be.
true north is a metaphor i have played with around pioneering - i wrote a reflection on it about 5 years ago. true north is like a pull or an orientation towards joining in with god's mission - that is the healing of all things. and i reflected on various characteristics of it for pioneers - i guess what the charism or gift is of pioneering as we see it at cms. so now we have a partnership in the north it seems even more apt!
i love this photo of richard passmore who has been the catalyst for the northern centre - he is looking very happy (maybe that's the northern monk!). we have been friends a long time now. he was appointed to develop fresh expressions and mission for carlisle diocese in late 2015 and in less than 4 years there are over 100 fresh expressions and their research shows that 1 in 4 people in the diocese of carlisle who go to church are in one of these new expressions - that is mind blowing. you can get details on that from the diocese i am sure. and it's why we are partnering together so we can support with some of our training and experience. well done to you richard - you should feel good.
it was also amazing again to see harry and chris pack the big top with thousands of people off the back of edinburgh festival. i also really loved harry's solo show - he is so brilliant! he and chris must be soooo tired - have a well deserved rest guys! they are on tour in the autumn so do go and see them.
apparently according to my older brother i first went to greenbelt in 1981 so it turns out i have been quite a lot of times now. i have missed a couple of years when kids were young.
we're gearing up for a new term in oxford. we will have about 76 students across everything including 6 on the new doctoral programme. because the pioneering work is growing and expanding in other hubs and centres round the country, i have rejigged my role to free me up to give time to that developmental work. and cathy ross is now the lead for the oxford centre. she is amazing and already leads our masters programme so i am very happy about that. a few people have assumed i will be disappearing - i won't! i am still a cms director and i will still be around teaching modules, tutoring and so on but doing less there overall and handing on the lead of oxford centre. it feels like a good change. and i am sure there are plenty of adventures ahead.
[thanks to mark kensett for the top two photos - there are some more and a bit more info here. the last is at a strange angle but i was sat at the front at harry's feet for his poetry show]
every bank holiday in august i look forward to greenbelt festival. i have been more years in my life than i care to count. it's a beautiful blend of hanging out at a festival with friends, exploring ideas around issues of justice and faith, enjoying music and arts, and these days even hanging out with grandchildren and nephews and nieces! i love to take part too and have done talks, photography exhibition, led the main communion service, lots of alternative worship events, run labyrinths, chaired panels, and co-ordinated the worship programme for several years. this year i am excited to be involved in the exchange venue which is about social transformation and i'll be chairing three sessions talking to pioneers who have turned a crazy idea into a project to contribute to good in the world - see this post on the pioneer site for details.
i'll also be hanging around that venue wanting to talk to anyone who is interested in turning an idea into reality and trying to persuade them to come on the amazing make good week which is so great. and i'll be chatting to anyone interested in talking about pioneer mission who might be interested in training with us on the cms pioneer course. honestly those of us there from our team would love to hang out and talk pioneering mission with anyone who wants to. if you are interested, have ideas, are struggling or having a great time come and say hi.we are going to be with richard passmore and others from the northern centre which we are partnering in so if you are from the north and interested in pioneering come and say hi and find out what's happening there.
and i will be helping proost with a creative worship service on sat evening.
and of course i'll be answering politely all the people who ask me if i am harry baker's dad - yes i am! looking forward to seeing his show off the back of an amazing run at edinburgh festival and chris' show and harry and chris's show! it's going to be busy... it's going to be fun... and oh yes i am soooo happy to say the weather forecast looks great!!!!
i am exhibiting as part of home - an exhibition by the ealing london independent photography group i am part of. once again this is part of the borough of ealing art trail. the flyer is below which is also an invite to the opening night. the opening is early evening due to the venue being in a park. but i'd love to see anyone who is able to make it. i am also giving a talk/hosting a session as part of it - details below the flyer
blurb for the exhibtion
We tend to think of ‘home’ as a haven, somewhere we can retreat to after a busy or stressful day. It’s where our family, our partners, our familiar faces and favourite things are… where we can feel secure among the bricks and mortar of our domestic bliss. But it can be more complex than that. Some feel tied down by this image of home, with a longing to escape the over-familiar and make new memories elsewhere; for the elderly,loneliness can be an issue… and increasingly, contemporary times suggest other stories; home is a luxury some just do not have. The world is changing and for many the notion of home is changing too. Photographers from Ealing LIP reflect on what ‘home’ means to them.
At The Rickyard, Walpole Park, from 6th - 15th September.
Fri 6th, 12 - 7pm; Sat 7th & Sun 8th, 12 - 6pm Mon 9th to Thurs 12th, 12 - 5pm; Fri 13th, 12 -7pm; Sat 14th & Sun 15th, 12 - 6pm
blurb for session i am leading - longing for home
For some of us home is a place we take for granted, somewhere we can return to - but for others in the world, conflict or occupation has meant they have had to flee their home and are unable to return. They make home in a new place but still have memories of home from their homeland and a longing or an ache for it. Many Palestinians who have been exiled from their homes carry a key to remember home, and as a sign of their longing. This workshop will be a chance to hear stories of home, exile and longing. Facilitated by Jonny Baker whose photo ‘The Key’ is in the exhibition. The Rickyard, 4pm, Saturday 14th Sept.
jenny and i visited edinburgh festival for four days last weekend. it's such an incredible festival with so much going on. i genuinely don't know how they pack all the events into the city let alone where all the people find places to stay. it brims over with life, joy, poignancy, artfulness celebrating life.
we first visited i think in 2009 when harry took part in an open mic at a free fringe event. he was subsequently invited to a poetry event in london and that was the beginning of an adventure which included exploring poetry for a gap year and went ever upwards from there. so it was incredible to be back at the festival again and see harry with a solo show in underbelly and a harry and chris show in underbelly both selling out when we attended. it's harry's seventh festival i think with three solo shows and three harry and chris before now. i of course have a totally unbiased view but they were fantastic. it's not just me as you'll see from these 5 star reviews. i have added some photos to an album here.
we packed in about four shows a day of comedy, circus, theatre and also visited some of the art festival. it's hard to pick highlights but we loved in no particular order occam's razor, john robbins, jessica fostekew, matt winning, milton jones, bryony kimmings, tom crosby, lazerkiwis, nathan coley, alfredo jaar. it's surprising how much you can pack in to a few days (and how much you can spend!).
a lot of people identify with the description of spiritual but not religious. it's an intriguing descriptor for sure. we have lots of pioneers who engage with people in that space. i like to think i am in it but i probably have a bit too much religion to get away with it! anyway all that is to say the latest issue of anvil journal is out and is exploring that theme and mission with people in that space. it's creative and provocative. and do read the story at the end of emma moreton's article on drumming at the summer solstice at stonehenge which i loved! i do have a book review in there but i think i'll post it on the blog as a separate entry...
i have been blogging for a decade or more in fairly eclectic fashion. i am an advocate for pioneers, lover of all things creative, an explorer of faith in relation to contemporary culture, a photographer and writer. explore the presences section below to find me in other spaces