Wednesday, 5 November 2014

REPOST: When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say.....

As we commemorate Remembrance Day this Sunday, it's 100 years since the outbreak of world war one. It's reflected with an amazing display at the Tower of London.

This is a repost of my visit to a particular battle ground in North East India. The poem is haunting in its simplicity.

Over the last three weeks, I have had the immense privilege of working with some of the most wonderful people in the world. I'm sure there will be more stories to follow, but this seems appropriate with Remembrance Day around the corner. 

During my time in Nagaland, an extreme North-East State in India, I was able to drive to Kohima. Here there is one of the best kept war cemeteries I have seen, a memorial to all those who gave their lives in what was the turning point in the Indian war against the Japanese in 1944. Amongst the thousands of graves, each one recording a British or Indian soldier, usually in their early twenties, there is a poem, called the Kohima Epitaph, and copied by many other war memorials. This is what it says:

When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
For your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today.

Simple and poignant. Still as true today. Let's not forget. [November 2011]

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The Birth of Something New

It’s not every day you get to take part in launching a new church. But that’s what we did on Sunday.

After a year of preparation, team forming, moving house, LifeGroups and CafĂ© Church, the real thing arrived at City of Leicester College on Sunday. 317 people walked through the door. Admittedly, that included over 150 from our sister churches in Peterborough and Cambridge, but it’s a great start.

KingsGate Church Leicester is for those that don’t like church or used to go to church. If that’s you and you are within reach of us, see you on Sunday at 4.30 in the afternoon.

Leicester has a rich history of Christian enterprise and mission. It’s a privilege to be joining those that have gone before us and those already engaged in seeing the 10th biggest city in England transformed by the power of God’s love.

Bring on week two!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Sunday Sunshine in Leicestershire

A few musings from my daily diary today.....

'It's a beautifully sunny Sunday morning and I'm sitting in the back garden, looking over the rolling fields. The sheep are on the far side today and I can see the cattle in the distance.

The bird feeder is doing good business. A flock of sparrows come and go. They do great damage to the two containers with normal seed, spilling the contents onto the floor in a flurry of wings. Having seemingly spilled a lot and eaten little, they contentedly sit as a flock in the nearby rosebush, observing their destructive handiwork.

There's two starlings in attendance too. They don't balance too well as they try and eat the fat cubes. One seems to be the baby of the other and even in this extended summer, it's still calling for attention.

A robin stands contentedly on the floor below the feeders, picking up a King's breakfast from what the sparrows drop.

A blue tit flits in and out from the peanuts, startled by the noise from the starlings. There's a great tit in attendance too.

The swallows are still here, occasionally landing on our roof, and because of the Velux windows, we get a close view of their beauty.

A cock crows in the distance and I pray a prayer of thanksgiving to the God of all creation.'

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Ten Years Ago Most Clouds Were Wet

30 years ago, there was no Internet.

20 years ago there were only 130 websites. You couldn’t Google anything.

10 years ago, most clouds were wet.

Today there are over 10 billion mobile devices. 40,000 Google searches every second. 3.5 billion a day. 1.2 trillion a year.

We live in an instant society. Fast food. Fast answers. Instant texts.

But some things stay the same.

The Bible says of God: ‘I am the Lord, and I do not change.’ (Malachi 3:6)

Friday, 12 September 2014

Moving House

We moved house on 10th June.

It took Severn Trent Water a day to change our contract. Scottish Power - a day. Sky TV - two days. Driving licence change - a week.

BT broadband? 91 days and 4 hours.

Incredible incompetence, a lack of customer care and an Openreach operation out of control meant we went around in circles for a long time. All BT seemed able to do was the equivalent to switching an appliance off at the mains, and then back on again, hoping against hope that it works next time around.

I'd like to record here my thanks to all my friends who helped me bombard BT with tweets. Over 200 tweets were sent and I'm sure that was one of the main reasons we got somewhere in the end.

It doesn't seem right that Openreach can dictate what company we use either. We started with Sky, because of the good deal they had. But a month in and a few 'failed connections', Openreach said that they were 'unable to support' another provider. So I had to move to BT. Twice the cost. Half the service.

And that's when the real fun began. It turns out that BT Retail have no say over what BT Openreach do. Or in my case, don't do.

My thanks to Tracey and Robbie from BT Retail for their persistence on my behalf. But in this day and age, to take 91 days without any good reason beyond a 'software problem' is not acceptable.

One of the tweets I sent a number of times referred to BT being 'the worst company in the world'. I stand by that. Don't use them. Unless, like me, you have to.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Run the Race

She was sick all night. So much so, that by 5.30am  -the day of her Commonwealth Games race in Glasgow- she was on a drip in hospital. Add the that the fact that her operation previously meant that she still had an open wound and things were not looking so good.

Lynsey Sharp is a Scottish athlete and that day was the day she competed in the 800 metres final. She had scraped in as a ‘fastest loser’ so things were not adding up to any kind of medal. But on the night, she ran. And ran. Breaking apart the Kenyan/Ugandan duo expected to win, she came away with a silver medal.

It was her last race. Her final time on the bike. But rather than try and win, she did something extraordinary. She pushed on ahead, sacrificing her own stamina to help her younger colleague get the gold. And a silver for her- Emma Pooley.

He was in the first leg of the 100 metres relay, first round. But as he stretched away, Kimmari Roache’s leg gave way. Extreme pain. But he kept going. He had to keep going. He owed it to his teammates, and especially Usain Bolt, world 100 metres champion who ran the final leg for Jamaica. Many would have given up. But Kimmari ran through the pain. The rest, as they say, is history.

Now aged 40, with a 10 month old child not so long ago, Jo Pavey could have been forgiven for simply finishing well. It looked like a brave fourth place when she was passed, but she fought back. She finished brilliantly. Breaking into the Kenyan domination of the event, she reached the line and took the bronze.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12: 1

Monday, 21 July 2014

Dear BT (again.....)

So lets’ recap why I can’t blog so often, tweet so often, or do my work properly....

This is day 41 without broadband and you are no nearer a solution. Just so you know, this is the story so far....

We moved house on 10th June. The electric contract took a day to transfer. The water services took a day. Sky TV took two days. The Post Office took a week to change the address.

And BT have taken 41 days. And counting.

First I went for a Sky package. BT Openreach apologised when the first deadline was missed. They said they had sent the instruction to the wrong exchange. A week’s delay. Then, when the second deadline was missed, they said they had lost the link with the phone number. Funny that one, as it’s their phone number. Finally, after a month of trying, Sky were told by BT Openreach that they were unable to facilitate a service at the required exchange.

So.... Unwind the deal with Sky and go to BT. Twice the cost. Half the service.

Two week delay while BT retrieve the phone line from Sky. Then.... surprise, surprise.... deadline is missed. Re-scheduled for the next day. Missed again. ‘Give us 48 hours and we’ll have it sorted’. 48 hours later, next deadline missed.

A call from a BT specialist is promised on Friday. No call. ‘Sorry’ they say, ‘we’ll call Monday on your mobile.’

Text on Monday ‘we were unable to contact you’. That will be contacting me on the mobile that is in front of me and hasn't rung this morning then?

British Telecom- a monolithic monopoly with no controls and no customer care.

I have no choice but to sit it out and hope that somewhere in that organisation, someone cares enough to do something. Someday.