Yesterday, Sam was quite discouraged. She is trying to help a homeless chap who has no serious problems, not on drugs, etc. The Hub won't help him as he is not in enough danger. Start taking drugs, get ill, and we can do something for you - what a message to give people!
This morning, we prayed for him. Lunchtime, I hear that he has been offered the possibity of a room. He would need to get a job, but he works as a bartender, and another person in the house runs a bar. There are still some details to work out, but it is exciting to see God's hand at work.
Rosemary and Ruth Jenkins came to stay the night, a very welcome visit.
First thing in the day, I went off for a quick sauna - the previous week had been very hectic - then to the volunteer training at the Nightshelter. It was supposed to be on 'working as a volunteer', but tourned out to be 'Listening Skills' - oddly enough, led by a John Jenkins
By the time I arrived home, Rosemary and Ruth had already arrived. We had some lunch, then Sue took them and Ian off to Cribbs, while I went down to Highgrove for the afternoon, to help with some decorating before the new carpet arrives.
A bit of a shock - Rob Lawence died yesterday. Apparently, he died in his sleep while working on a mission with a church in Gillingham. Please pray for his widowm Heather, and their daughters, Rachel and Sophie.
Better news - Sam Colgan starts today as the Pastoral Care Coordinator at the Crisis Centre. There's a vast amount of work that needs to be done, and she needs a lot of prayer support to keep her safe and make her effective.
I go to visit the City Elim church in the morning while Sue goes to Highgrove. Mary Anne from the Crisis Centre is there, and overjoyed to see me - I would guess she is struggling to get to know people in a large church like that.
In the afternoon, we take Philip and Ian to watch a film - 'A Knights Tale' - that they have been asking to see. Very entertaining. Also numerous odd but entertaining combinations - set in the Middle Ages with modern elements: a formal dance with traditional costume, but largely modern movement, a joust set to a track from Queen, and so on.
Housegroup comes to us - first time we have hosted a Housegroup meeting in a long time: possibly since our days at Seaview.
Breakfast with John Stott - and a few other people - at the Wills Hall. Turned up a bit early, and spent a few minutes with the man himself before
John Stott at Clifton Cathedral.
My father has had the operation, although they only did a double bypass after all - the planned third was not done. We assume this is good news.
After many phone calls and several changes of plan, Sue catches the bus just before 3pm to go up to London and visit our two fathers.
Our car is brought back to Bristol. The garage says it is not worth repairing.
Sue is planning to go and visit my father this weekend, so phones her parents to see if she can sleep at their place. She discovers that her father is at the hospital - he was suffering from pains in his chest, and was rushed in to casualty. Eventually, they do some tests, which are inconclusive, but not inconclusive enough to prevent him going home. My father, mother and brother managed to visit him in casualty while he was waiting - quite a party, it seemed.
Planning meeting for the Bridgehead lunch meetings - Sam can't join us as she had to pack up and move out of her room, but we have another good, encouraging time. The ideas and practical plans seem to be coming together.
I hear the news of the attacks in America from Alan as I get home. It is the focus of much of our prayers at Team Supper.
Steve is out visiting Rob & Traci - Traci is American - after Team Supper, so I babysit while Sue goes to Housegroup.
Several of us from the Crisis Centre are booked on a First Aid 'Appointed Persons' course. Quite a lot of legal stuff about obligations and limits, some 'this is what to do' and a bit of playing with bandages and recussitation dummies. Can't remember doing anything like this since the Scouts - good fun and potentially very useful. Just pray it won't be needed.
CCM Management meeting in the evening. Two months since the last one, and it is good to look back at all that has happened in that time. We will be losing some of the management members soon, which is sad, but gives us a good incentive for talking with new people about possible involvement.
Speaking at Ebenezer church in Filton Avenue this morning. Very warm reception - absolutely delightful experience. I found the topic - 'A Harvest for the Poor' - difficult, but in the end managed to cut out enough material to make it a reasonable sermon.
CCM picnic at Ashton Court in the afternoon. Sue is filling in application forms, and the boys don't want to go. The numbers are down - just 9 of us - but a good team-building exercise.
A phone call this morning: the car has been found in Bath. Driver's door lock, steering wheel lock, steering wheel, steering column and radio all broken, but apart from that the man at the garage says he can't see much damage. Not allowed to touch it yet as the Police fingerprint expert has not gone over it yet. It's not clear if it will be worth repairing.
Father had his angiogram at last today, and the outcome is that he needs a triple bypass. This will probably be done at St Thomas, but no idea of how long he may have to wait, or if he will have to stay in hospital for all that time.
A full day. Into the Crisis Centre first thing, then on to the CREATE Centre for a VOSCUR Business Management Committee ('BMC') meeting - I'm now a Director of VOSCUR. Well organised meeting.
Back to Sea Mills for a Sea Mills Prayer Steerign Group meeting. It's very exciting to hear how each of us is being led is such similar ways concerning our future work and witness in Sea Mills. Get provisional permission - need to check with Rob first - to set up a 'Church of Sea Mills' web site.
Back at the Crisis Centre for a meeting we have organised under the 'BCAN' banner for the Christian groups involved in feeding the homeless. About 25 people from 20 groups invited, I expected maybe 12-15 to turn up, and we had 20 people. Very encouraging. There was a tremendous sense of a unity of purpose, even in areas where we are actually working in very different ways. Another meeting planned for 22 November.
At the end of the meeting, I am called into the Coffee Shop - a young lad there is suicidal. He is not really taking any drugs now, he tells us. Only some heroin, a massive overdose of Librium, and about 6 pints of cider today. "It hasn't affected me in the slightest..." The sad thing is, he really believes it. He goes away eventually a bit happier, and we promise to try to find him some counselling by an unpaid volunteer (not a professional - he is quite insistant about that - it must be someone who is doing it because they care, not because they are being paid, he says). Tidy up after the meeting, and leave soon after 11:30.
The boys go back to school today. Philip starts at St Mary Redcliffe with Alan, and as arranged, Alan takes two other lads in to school on the bus who are starting at the same time as Philip. Ian had his first day at a school without Philip. No problems for any of them.
At work, Sue was told that her resignation has been accepted, so she told her team. It seems crazy that nothing could be worked out, but that's what happened. Sue has been looking around for other jobs, but now the hard work starts for real.
Team Supper starts again - a good time of prayer for lots of people and different aspects of the work we are engaged in. It's good to be back. Rob Davis has only one more week of radiotherapy left, and is really feeling bad. He and Traci need a lot of prayer.
In the evening, a church meeting at Highgrove. A good time of sharing about what has been happening and some encouraging signs for the future, but nothing about plans to get a new Pastor - some some people are thrilled by the evening, and a few are very disappointed.
Father is still in hospital, so I go up to see him. Sue drops me at the bus station in good time, but the drivers and inspectors are so impressed by my ticket - the first 'Internet ticket' they have seen - that they put me on the wrong bus!
To cut a long story short, Roger picks me up from Kidbrooke and we get to the hospital in time for lunch. Father is very surprised and emotional when he sees me, as they hadn't warned him I was coming. He seemed reasonably strong, and was hoping to be let out after an angiogram on Monday.
We had to leave after lunch, so the three of us went home, looked at photographs and talked. Had a quick tea then back in to the hospital. Father had had another attack in the afternoon - not as bad as the one last week, but still serious - and he looked a lot frailer, and was unable to walk more than a few dozen yards.
Roger drove me up to Victoria - it was the only way I could see Father again in the evening - and Mother came with us. The pair of them seem to be coping reasonably well: as Mother says, it is less worry having him in hospital than it would be with him at home, but it is not at all easy.
Sue and I took Philip and Ian to the Festival of Wood at Westonbirt Arboretum. Great fun - must get Paul's parents down next year - his father would love it.
Ian bought a pen knife, and, inspired by the carvings we saw, has started to work on his own carving.
Paul's father is still improving, and walking around again. They plan to put him on a treadmill - presumably to measure how he copes with exercise - and being let out depends on how this goes.
Led worship at Highgrove in the morning. The service did not go as planned, but people seemed to appreciate it.
In the afternoon, Paul's mum phoned. His father went into hospital in the early hours. They now think he had a heart attack, although this was denied at first. He seems to be improving.
The last interviewee for the other half of Sue's job has been turned down, so it looks like the end of the road for Sue and Knightstone. But, before handing in her resignation, she made one last phone call to Personnel, and sent her manager an email. We wait and see what happens Tuesday.
The police have not found our car yet.
The day is set aside for visiting Howard and Kay in Liskeard. It doesn't look far on the map - maybe between 60 and 90 minutes, depending on teh traffic. Or so we thought.
The journey is terrible. We are a bit late setting out from Brunel Manor - good conversation over the breakfast table to blame for that! - but we quickly run into traffic, and only cover 12 miles in the first hour. Then the car overheats when in the queue for the bridge over the Tamar and it won't start for half an hour or so. Stop to cool down the other side of the bridge, and then the car stalls near the top of a hill not much further on.
The rescue service comes out and tells us we have blown up the engine and will need a tow to a garage, but this turns out to be too pessimistic and all we really need is to have a leaking water hose patched up, and the water topped up again.
We reach Howard and Kay about four hours late - very frustrating. The time we do have together is very enjoyable and stimulating, so the journey was worth it after all.
Take the family service at Hillfields Park Baptist. I am there on time, but can't get in, then can't start painting up straight away, so it is not quite finished when we go downstairs to pray before the service. Planned one too many songs, but forgot to include one somewhere in the middle, so it all works out and we finish on time.
This is the first time I have led a Family Service, so nothing adventurous - a fairly straight Prodigal Son. It seemed to be appreciated.
This morning, I go out to collect a prescription for Ian, and discover the car has gone. Sue phones the police while I get down to the surgery. This time, they have not already found it.
The immediate issues are shopping - we can't let Alan and Steve starve this coming week - and then the service I'm taking tomorrow, and getting Phiip and Ian to SU camp and Sue and myself to Brunel Manor on Monday.
However, a quick phone call to the Prices sorts out everything - they have a new car, and have not managed to sell the old one, which we are welcome to borrow. Getting insured is not entirely straightforward, but it's all done in time.
All the messing about means we miss Paul & Jayne's wedding anniversary celebration inthe afternoon.
Miss Highgrove this morning and drive to Nick Adlem's service of induction and ordination. He and Heather-Ann have wanted this for so long - very much hope it works out well for them.
A number of people from Westborough present, but not as many as expected. Still, good to catch up with the news from those who made it. A couple of surprises - Andy Rolfe, now living in London and working for the Inland Revenue, and David Lewis, now a canon. Very much appreciated seeing him again after all these years.
Preaching at Highgrove. This time, it is 'Worship'. I take the liberty of straying from the text, and share more from my heart and experience on the subject - very warm response, so it semms to have been the right decision.
Off on retreat with the 'Celebration Leaders' - about a dozen of us in a Catholic retreat house and community just North of Bristol.
Take Alan round the Games Workshop open day, while Sue, Philip and Ian go with parents and Roger to Sherwood Forest. Suspect they had a more enjoyable time. Still, a fascinating insight into the lives of people who devote so much of their time and energy to playing these odd games with little plastic models.