Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Coventry Jesus Centre - Talking of telephones...

sesame-street-martians-discover-telephone
I recently saw last year's annual review for Coventry Jesus Centre.

And I was so impressed by all that the Centre has achieved that I had to blog about it.

I've been a volunteer at the Centre since its inception in 2002, so I get to see a bit of the day-to-day action.

It's been a pretty astounding ten years.


(This video was shown to the children at a recent
Sunday morning church event at the Centre, which
focussed especially on the work of the Centre itself.)

Talking of telephones ...

- What kinds of people phone up the Centre in an average day?
- Who uses the Centre during the week?
- How does Coventry Jesus Centre fulfil its aim to welcome and help all kinds of people?

Here are some snippets on the kinds of charitable services operating at the Jesus Centre throughout the past decade since opening:

The Bridge
A place where people can drop in and find warmth, friendship, breakfast, showers, washing, and all manner of other help. 5500 different people used the service up to the end of 2011; 1000 in the year 2011.
The Bond Scheme
Helping people find housing, in particular through helping them gain access to funds that will help with their bond. By the end of 2011, 150 people had been housed and 49 had been helped into better housing.
Your Learning
Helping people learn ESOL, English for Work, UK Culture, Basic I.T., CV writing, interview skills, general reading. 189 attended sessions in 2011, with 42 certificates for achievement awarded.
Hope and Help
Support for ex-offenders.
Money Worries
Debt and budgeting advice.
Recycle
A bicycle repair service, with old bikes also repaired and sold on cheaply.
Strum It
A guitar class.
Your Art
A painting and drawing group.
Your Fitness
An exercise and fitness group.
Your Future
Short training courses for building capacity, e.g. photography.
Your Weight
A support group for losing weight.
Well Maker
A weekly healing prayer service, aiming to bring peace, health and wholeness to those who are sick.
Bible Life
A weekly Bible study group for those who want to get more out of the Bible.
The Bible and English
A great way to learn English at the same time as delving into the Bible.
The Well Cafe
The Jesus Centre cafe, open throughout the day, with nice food and a warm and friendly service.

Many accomplishments in the past ten years, but there's still a lot to go for. Here's to the future - and here's to Coventry Jesus Centre! Well done staff, well done volunteers, well done friends and visitors - and well done to anyone who supports the Centre in any way.

A final video:
(This video was also shown to the children at the
Centre, whilst discussing some of the ways in which
the Jesus Centre helps people. A spurious link,
perhaps, but it's a great video. And, besides, the
Centre does have a fan or two, myself included ...)

Further Reading:
Annual Review 2011
Coventry Jesus Centre website

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Celibacy

celibacy-celibate-silver-ring
Here are a few thoughts about celibacy.

I don't always write about celibacy specifically, as I think celibacy itself is a means to an end, or various different ends, and it's generally healthier to focus on the ends rather than the means.

But it doesn't hurt to home in on it from time to time.

So here goes. Various thoughts about celibacy in no particular order.

Some I've read or heard about, others I've observed, others are from my own experience:
1.  Celibacy is a gift from God.

2.  Celibacy is a choice.

3.  Celibacy works well as a lifelong commitment, but can also be for a predefined time span.

4.  Celibacy is often used as a word to mean being in between partners or being sexually deprived (Google it or search on Twitter to see what I mean).

5.  Celibacy features as a discipline in various religions/faiths/ways of life.

6.  Celibacy is seen to be restrictive by many people but can be surprisingly freeing.

7.  Celibacy enables you to deeply appreciate married people.

8.  Celibacy is not just for the Catholic Church.

9.  Celibacy was taught and practised by Jesus Christ.

10.  Celibacy is like fasting in many ways: abstaining from basic human needs (food, intimacy, ...) in order to focus on other things.

11.  Celibacy is harder when you think about it a lot but easier when you forget about it and get on with life.

12.  Celibacy requires the ability to change as the years go on.

13.  Celibacy was taught and practised by the Apostle Paul, who wrote a large part of the New Testament.

14.  Celibacy requires regular re-commitment because you become a different person as you go through the different phases in life.

15.  Celibacy works best in the context of a common cause.

16.  Celibacy can be a good option for homosexuals, heterosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals alike. (So can finding a partner.)

17.  Celibacy is about love.

18.  Celibacy can help you have more time for things.

19.  Celibacy carries a flavour of travelling light, not being tied down, being flexible and adventurous.

20.  Celibacy baffles some people.

21.  Celibacy works well when you forget yourself and live for other people.

22.  Celibacy can be offensive to people without really trying.

23.  Celibacy is for your average normal person, not just for priests or holy people.

24.  Celibacy should understand the needs of others.

25.  Celibacy is in no way superior to other ways of life.

26.  Celibacy should have a higher profile in the mainstream church.

27.  Celibacy releases power in people.

28.  Celibacy can make others feel at ease, knowing that you're not on the pull.

29.  Celibacy has been blamed for child sex offences.

30.  Celibacy can be a vow that you make or a decision from the heart.

31.  Celibacy plunges you into the lives of others.

32.  Celibacy touches something of heaven.

33.  Celibacy works best in the context of some kind of community.

34.  Celibacy enriches the kingdom of God.

35.  Celibacy is about deep friendship with all kinds of people.

36.  Celibacy is good for young people.
These are just thoughts rather than definitive, absolute truths. If you want to add to the list, or discuss any of this, click on 'Comment' below and fire away.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

A POET'S PRAYER

Celibate Poetry - the poet touched by God

A second poem from Wilf, sent to me recently. Surely this applies not only to the poet or the writing of poetry, but much more widely to anyone, whatever their calling or gifts in life.

A POET'S PRAYER

You
Who were the Word
Before a word was spoken
Make me what I write

May the hand that grips the pen
Be gripped first by You

Before this pen touches paper
Oh Lord God touch this man

So that everything I write is
The authentic history and geography
Of a life lived for You
Told
In all honesty brutal and beautiful
Wilf - June 2012

Monday, 2 July 2012

LIFE WAS HARD

Mountain Summit - represents poem written by a celibate about his life
 
Another one of Wilf's poems, recently sent to me. I like it because it is simply written but says so much.

LIFE WAS HARD

Life was hard
And even now when I think of the hardest parts
(Some of which were the longest)
There is still a ball of pain
Which swells at the memory.

It often seemed impossible
But then it wasn't lived because it could be lived
Rather because it had to be to follow you
And if You hadn't been You
It wouldn't have been so hard then
Nor so wonderful now
And when I think of that
It doesn't seem to have been hard at all.
Wilf - June 2012