Those fine people at the Church of England Newspaper still allow me to blogchive my columns each month so here is the one I wrote for May:
It’s not often people start raving about church but the media has given one and a half cheers for St Pixels recently. It’s, ‘...a sacred space on the internet where people from all walks of life are welcome to come and explore God and get to know each other in a general Christian context.’ Church-on-the-net.com looks good but doesn’t go live until next month. You can register and they’ll email you when they open. It’s a project of Holy Trinity, Ripon, a church with an excellent web-site.
If you do want people to start enthusing about your church you need to attract them. You will find Getyourchurchnoticed.com does exactly what it says on the tin. It has helpful advice about notice-boards, magazines, leaflets and logos.
‘Concerned for a Christianity that is open and generous on all matters? Convinced that contemporary thought and understanding matter as much as scripture and tradition?’ If you answer ‘yes’ to these questions you might find support at PCN Britain – the Progressive Christianity Network.
Good preaching is attractive so sermon help is always useful. Kairos Journal offers advice to preachers anxious to provide a prophetic voice to the church. It is biblically conservative. Dave Bish’s The Blue Fish Project is an interesting blog. Theologically very conservative it can sometimes feel like a giant in-joke but persevere, there is some biblical treasure to be found. It works for me in the same way as the Daily Mail. I disagree with loads of it but feel compelled to read occasionally.
Good prayers also make for good worship. Inspiration may be found at World Prayers, an archive and database of ‘...the great prayers written by the spiritual visionaries of our planet ... representing all life-affirming traditions.’ To be clear, that’s not just Christian. Meanwhile if you need a joke for a sermon in a hurry then try Jokes for Speeches, the International Rescue of contemporary speaking. Now you know about that I’ll have to go back to writing my own gags. Durr.
From his days at Administry onwards professional rescuing has been provided by John Truscott, church consultant and trainer. I love the strap-line which talks about creative organisation, two words which rarely fight for space in the same sentence. The Administry domain seems to have been taken over and is pop-up hell. Avoid.
I’m a rubbish twitcher in my spare time and need help often. What do you do when you can hear a bird but not see it? Go to British Garden Birds and you can hear a recording of over 100 common birds both in song and alarmed. The RSPB offer a similar service.
Have you ever felt that your gas or electricity meters hadn’t been read for a while and all your bills were based on dodgy estimates? No more hanging on the telephone. If your services are supplied by one of the major companies you may be able to submit your meter readings to My Reading.net. It’s a service provided by Lowri Beck, an independent meter-reading company.
Best site name of the month? The Rev’d Paul Sinclair is an Elim Pentecostal minister who works full-time for motorcyclists. He updates the wonderful fasterpastor.com.
Teachers have some stories to tell and many are told on blogs. Pepperpot is an anonymous female teacher working in the UK education system somewhere. She blogs at the wonderfully named It’s your time you’re wasting not mine a title which even has an embedded grammar lesson. ‘In many schools the Year 11 leave this Friday on what is laughingly called 'Study Leave' but which should more accurately be known as 'Playstation Holiday.' It is nothing more than an opportunity to make an early start on the summer crime spree.’ If this level of cynicism floats your boat then Mr Chalk is another teacher whose blog will amuse.
Maybe eventually I’ll manage four weeks without being distracted. This month MyHeritage (a family network site) offers the chance to make a Celebrity Collage. Simply upload a passport-style picture and the site will analyse your features and give you a list of the celebrities you most resemble. Everybody’s doing it in the blogosphere, a place where the easily-distracted congregate. I’ve kept back from Second Life because it’s one of those virtual worlds (like the Sims etc) which can take your time and turn it into waste. Looks fun though.
Pop along to my blog Mustard Seed Shavings and tell me you care. You’ll find last month’s column there.