Monday, June 22, 2009

CEN May 2009

Have you been looking sideways at your vicar recently and wondering if her expenses claim shouldn't have included duck house maintenance and moat cleaning? Time to familiarise yourself with the contents of the Clergy Discipline Measure. There's a procedure to follow.

Better news for clergy is that '...since 2002, the Church of England has been reviewing the terms of service under which clergy hold office. New terms and conditions will be conferred on clergy through Common Tenure. It preserves the historic office holder status of parochial clergy, whilst giving them rights broadly equivalent to those of employees.' The web site from which the quote is taken has a timetable for when this might all happen.

If you would like to track down a vicar of old you might like to try the Clergy Database. It now has over one million records of clergy in Britain from 1540 – 1835. Very few live ones, although that country church we visited on holiday...

If you spend most of your life with an MP3 player for company and a permanent soundtrack in your ears you will probably have found Spotify. It's legal and free access to a huge library of music. The basic version (which you have to be invited to join and then may involve a waiting list) is free but adverts come along every few tracks. The premium version is without adverts but costs £9.99 a month. The whole thing is a combination of music downloading and social networking.

Muddy River Media is '...a registered, non-profit mission society which exists to consistently provide free, quality media resources for churches using the internet as the primary delivery tool.' There are PowerPoint backgrounds, illustrative videos and much, much more. Brilliant.

Of all the crazy things I discovered you could buy on-line, Catchafallingstar takes the biscuit. The name is a bit of a clue. Buy your very own meteorite or bit of one. That site appears genuine, but for a pointless romantic gesture how about naming a star after a special person.

Starlistings will allow you to do that for just £25. The small print says, 'Please note that naming a star for someone is a beautiful and symbolic gesture which makes a stunning and unique gift, but your star name will not be used or recognised by the astronomic or scientific community, and no legal title is inferred or implied.' For £5 I'll name one of my pens after them instead. Cash only please.

If you prefer geography to astronomy then try the Geography Zone. Their challenge is to represent your country and correctly identify ten other countries on a map. It's a giant experiment to find out which nation is best at geogo. I tried it and two of my ten were St Kitts and Equatorial Guinea. Not that easy then. I got five out of ten. I accidentally clicked on Luxembourg when aiming for France. Currently the Philippines are winning and the UK is 60th.

Talking of geography, if carbon-guilt hasn't got you yet, 1,000 Places To See Before You Die is the ultimate tick-it-off list.

Now, if you need some particular therapy yourself there are several noteworthy sites you might try. Beat is the working name of the Eating Disorders Association, the leading UK charity for people with eating disorders and their families.

Therelationshipspecialists (one of the web presences of sexual psychotherapist Paula Hall) offers confidential advice on sexual problems. There is an initial consultation fee of £25.

Anger Management Online offers a help course (for a fee) but without leaving your desk. I like the quote from Aristotle at the head of their home page: 'Anyone can become angry – that is so easy. But to become angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not so easy.'

If a relationship has gone wrong and the idea of divorce courts is scary, try Collaborative Family Lawyers - a calmer and more studied way to end things amicably. Alternatively Resolution, who pride themselves on taking the best interests of children into account especially.

Blog of the month is Conscientisation – 'Not for fear of hell nor longing for heaven but for love.' Nice.

Archives. My blog. Be there. – the link appears to be broken. Not exactly chuffed.

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