Feeling at home!

58 In our tent borrowed from Martin Burton

I have not blogged for nearly 2 months, it has been busy settling into our new home and I have been visiting members and attenders of the congregation and didn’t want to make them the subject of my blogging! I don’t want to stop blogging entirely though as it helps me to reflect and keeps me in touch with friends near and far.

Lots of new things recently, new kitchen, new car, new sofa, as well as lots of new names to remember! I have really enjoyed getting to know the people in the congregation and have nearly visited them all now! I perhaps crammed too many visits into some days, but it has been worth it! I am not going to tell you about the people and their conversations with me, but I can genuinely say I found it interesting and  you would be surprised what some people have gone through in their lives!

I haven’t been reading as much as usual due to all the visiting and preparing two sermons each week, but a couple of books I would flag up are Pub Theology by Bryan Berghoef and The Beer Drinker’s Guide to God by William Miller, you can see a theme developing here!!! I am interested in the idea of using pubs as a venue for theological discussions! Watch this space!!!

I have been along to watch Northampton Town twice, first of all, we lost to Orient 1-0 and then we beat Mansfield 1-0, the first game someone offered me a free ticket as I queued up to buy one and the second game a friend from church had a free ticket, so I have yet to pay to see them which has been a blessing!

The photo above is us in a borrowed tent at Greenbelt, it’s new venue is only 17 miles down the road or 30 mins in the car, but we camped nevertheless and loved it! One of the best things about being back in the UK is being able to go to Greenbelt, I did miss it when in Nicaragua! The weather was pretty good apart from Monday when it rained all day, but with a decent waterproof and wellies you can do it!!! The highlights are too many to list, but seminar wise Alistair McIntosh, John Bell and Brian Mclaren were great and on the music front Sinead O’connor was a joy and Grace Petrie a new discovery for me. Jonny and the Baptists were hilarious and had Jodie and I splitting our sides, check them out live, on the radio or youtube

Go well and will try and blog sooner next time, love Stu x



Settling in!

67 Reverend Stuart Dennis at Carey Baptist Church

I have not blogged for over a month as we have been busy moving and only got broadband last week! We have been in our new home for 3 weeks now and beginning to get settled into our new church and home. We moved on the 11th June and on my first day a busload of Koreans arrived unannounced wanting to see the church and the cottage due to its connections with William Carey ! You have to open to such things in my new church! At first we had blocked drains and a crossed phone line, but managed to sort the drains the same day and the phone line was eventually sorted. It is really tiring moving into a new house and job all at once but we are enjoying our new home and church, where the welcome has been warm and helpful.

My induction was on Saturday 21st June and we had a busload from Stevenage which really encouraged us and the congregation here at Carey, Moulton. It was a supportive and moving service and the induction section is available online thanks to Eric Beach videoing it and posting it on Youtube . It was a welcoming event and the spread afterwards was superb, thanks to all who came and helped out!

I had 2 sermons the next day and found that a struggle (out of practice preaching twice!) but it went quite well and got good feedback from the congregation. I am finding preaching, visiting people and a new environment and people tiring but that is to be expected and will soon find a routine and rhythm to settle into.

I was 47 on 24th June, Jodie made me a delicious chocolate whisky cake and gave me a guitar stand (to remind me to play the thing!!!) and we had a low key but lovely day, after all I am a few years away from the next biggie!

Jodie is painting the study as I type and I am about to go and visit a member of the congregation in the village on foot on this beautiful sunny day! So, better go, but will write again quite soon.

Question to part, what are the differences in gender expectations when it comes to purchasing a new sofa? Discuss!!! Go well love Stu x

Staying afloat!

Neil's boat

I got back yesterday from a week on the Norfolk Broads with my best man Neil who has recently acquired a boat (see above). It was good to have a change of environment and a free holiday! On the first morning I was awoken at 4:30am by the dawn chorus which wasn’t annoying just a bit early for me, but dozed off till about 6am and then started my day with meditation, reading and prayer. My bio rhythms were different on the boat earlier to bed, earlier to rise, but that was probably healthier than my later to bed, later to rise at home! It was good to catch up with my old mate from Uni over endless cups of tea/coffee and a few beers. I especially enjoyed the birdlife and saw Marsh Harriers, a Cetti’s Warbler, Oyster Catchers, a Kingfisher, Reed Buntings and a Kestrel to name a few for the twitchers amongst you!

I did a bit of reading on the boat as Neil steered, I read Silence – A Christian History by Diarmaid MacCulloch which I picked up from the local library, an interesting exploration of the theme from many angles! I borrowed Neil’s Woodbine Willie by Bob Holman about the First World War chaplain, well worth a read as we ponder the First World War due to the commemorations.

On Sunday we watched Hibs live on TV in a village pub get relegated as we lost on penalties, it was painful as we were 2-0 up from the first leg and only losing 1-0 well into injury time and then…..you guessed it Hamilton Accies scored to level the overall score to 2-2 and we lost on pens!!!! It didn’t depress me, I found it vaguely funny, but not a good end to the football season for me!

I was a bit worried about the toilet challenges on the boat as you can do number ones but not number twos as they get flushed straight out into the water, however most of the time I made it to the toilets on the Marina, except for when……….

Since I last blogged we went to the village festival at Moulton and had fun watching the Morris Dancers and seeing the village in full swing. We had a tasty lunch of cottage pie at Carey Baptist which was open for lunches and a flower festival,it was nicely strange to visit my new church as a punter and to be able to pop into all the places that were open due to the festival.  We won the guess the number of sweets in a jar, Jodie has a strategy! We move to our new home on the 11th June so not long to go now!

At least Arsenal won the FA Cup and got some silverware at last, even if they made us sweat in the first 9 minutes, going down two 2-0!

On the music front I have been enjoying listening to What have we become by Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott on Spotify, a triumphant return to form from the ex Beautiful South duo, they have been missed, great pop songs with sharp political lyrics, oh how we need such fayre in these days of bland manufactured pop a la X factor etc!!!!

My next blog may well be from Moulton, adios Stevenage, hola, the next stage in my life! Go well love Stu x