Friday, 9 January 2015

New Year Celebration 2015

It's going to be twelve months of modestly-scaled events.  But the turn-of-the-year national celebration is customarily more in-house and low-key, anyway. 

Northampton Council appeared to have generously cancelled parking charges, I suspect for post-Xmas shoppers.  But it may simply have been staff cuts.  When we arrived, St John's Multistorey was already filling up.  My five passengers, including Clara and Lu, two Chinese-speaking students, had all fallen asleep en-route. 

I'd gathered that I wasn't due to be taking part in the stage items, as Farhad hadn't me sent a running order.  It was true that there were no baptisms (my usual responsibility at national events), but in fact we were due to recognise a new church household in Coventry, which is part of my 'patch'.

Perhaps more pressing on my mind was my mobile phone.  There's been an interminable dispute over text messages since we changed contracts from Orange/EE/HTC to Class Telecomm/Vodaphone/Motorola.  I have half a dozen 'bogey' numbers that my phone won't send SMSs to under any circumstances.  These include Mick, Kelly, Jack, Barrie - a pretty significant inconvenience.  I've done a good engineer's diagnosis run: how are the numbers stored?, is there a problem with signal/network connection?, etc.  Tellingly enough, I've never - at the same time - had a problem with an old EE pay-as-you-go phone that I've hung on to for just such eventualities.  We've tried a new handset (reluctantly - as it took more than an afternoon to reset all my applications, and then I've lost some data).  Most recently, Class Support sent me a new SIM.  No better.  Today, I'm under instructions to try the SIM in someone else's handset.  I have to pick some guinea-pigs.

The afternoon items were fresh and positive.  We introduced 'Sovereign over us' - much better than the attempts I'd achieved around the Regions.  And, led by Steve, we recognised the pioneering Coventry church household 'New Furrows'.  It has several of my old friends in the membership, including Nick and Gav and their families.  I'd also squeezed in a look at Andy's extended range of old book and article reprints.  Mary and I are recording NIV gospels of Luke and John respectively, for his visually impaired project. 

The tea scene was the usual mele.  But I found Viv, and we did the SIM-swap bit with his Nexus 4 - and it worked fine.  Then the same with Gav and his Sony Experia Z1.  So, job done; all but the long email to Support that I'd have to send to list the results.  I wanted to catch up with Clive from Springfield, and I know they eat in the Cafe, along with Battle Centre and Open Doors.  The peace and sanity was like landing on the Mayfair and Park Lane end of your Monopoly board.  I saw Dave our ICT techie, too, and we speculated if GCHQ are interrupting my texts and bodging sending them on.  Seriously.

In the evening Mick slightly cut short the programme.  Constitutionally, I'm not a 'less is more' protagonist.  But we seem to have covered the 2015 word of discipling effectively, and had engaged well in heartfelt worship.

Steven stayed on board with Mary and I as we headed to Kings House.  We were stopping overnight so I could take the Sunday morning event in Coventry.  Mary had arranged to see Andrew, Ellen and crew on their longboat over breakfast.   We opened the 'spreads' cupboard door to find only yeast extract and marmalade for our toast, and explored the cake tins with similar small returns.  And our folks at home still insist we don't overdo food.  

The Coventry morning meeting rolled along well, and Simon inspired the congregation to pray out about their needs so they could move forward in 2015.  Then he showed me the leaking boiler plumbing in the Jesus Centre.  We settled on lunch at Open Doors, and had a constructive exchange with Ruth about "kids' splots".  As we hit the M1, once again my passengers fell asleep.  I'll take it they were content in their spirits.  It's a good job I'm well adapted to lonesomeness.

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