Response to the Consultation on Bishop’s Missionary Order for Plymouth Deanery

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There is a plan for certain churches to run roughshod over the rest of the deanery of the city of Plymouth. It’s an aggressive planting strategy and it worries the rest of us. They put out a consultation document and this is what I said…


Revd Dr Adrian Hough
Exeter Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Secretary
The Old Deanery
Exeter EX1 1HS

Wednesday, 09 May 2018

Dear Adrian

Re: Formal Consultation on a Proposed Mission Initiative in the City of Plymouth

I write with some comments on the Paper circulated on 1st May 2018 which I hope will add to the discussion on the initiative which will inevitably happen.

The circumstances in which this initiative arises is the result of the continued under-investment in the Deanery of Plymouth by the Diocese: the amount per capita spent on clergy resource within the deanery compared to other deaneries is directly correlatable with the level of church engagement in the areas in question. It is worth noting that all three areas are in parishes which are currently served by a single stipendiary incumbent with little clerical, administrative or lay support. Proper investment in supporting the existing parishes and their distinct tradition, with pastoral and youthworkers rather than resetting these areas in a new spiritual direction may have been more pastoral. That both of these parishes are under the oversight of the Bishop of Ebbsfleet also leaves the impression that there is a determination to undermine the spiritual authority of the parishes.

Of greatest concern to my parish, however, is in the cavalier approach to rapacious expansion that appears to be on the cards. The issuing of a BMO for the whole deanery, and the stated intention that “the plants are determined to create more plants” places the entire deanery in jeopardy of aggressive and frankly unwelcome takeover. When these plants seek to create more plants, they will obviously start to look at other areas where the Church of England is already present and active: S. Anne’s Glenholt feels especially vulnerable by this threat. It is an area where the Church is active and present, but attractive to the kind of Church plant that looks at an area of growth and gentrification as an opportunity for takeover. Under the provisions of this document, that Church feels it will be next, with little safeguard.

The wording of the fourth paragraph of your covering letter, the second para of the Explanatory Notes and most significantly sections 8.1 and 8.3 suggest that further planting WILL happen “without the permission of anyone who has the cure of souls”. The paragraph to “consult” with the local incumbent and the Initiative “informing” the Deanery Synod cuts across the legal and pastoral safeguards established within the Church of England and destabilises the parochial system. Consultation implies no expectation of agreement.

For this reason, I must object most strongly to these two clauses, not just for the way in which they are enacted in the three areas under current consideration, but in the way that they may be misused in future. These paragraphs do not safeguard my mission in the locality to which I have been licensed.

One needs to question whether a Church Plant is the most appropriate model of evangelism for these localities. The characteristics of a Church Plant is that it imports the charism of the parent church into a new area, without responding to local need. The charism of churches from other traditions to that of the parish, from more affluent areas no matter how earnest their enthusiasm may be can be analogised with African and Asian mission in the 19th Century. A more pioneering approach, which is organic, ground-up and based not on such imperialism would ensure that it truly brought the people of Ham, Whitleigh and Ernesettle into a lasting relationship with Christ.

This Mission Initiative has up to this point, not really been satisfactorily consulted and discussions at Deanery Synod and Chapter has been characterised by an attitude that “this is how it is going to be”.

I rather hope that my comments, and the comments of others to whom this particular consultation has been sent will enable a thorough rethinking of a process which in Ham, Whitleigh and Ernesettle are properly served and rebuilt as nurturing communities confident to proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Yours sincerely,


Revd Simon Rundell
Priest-in-Charge


 

Animated Facebook Banners (How-to)

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If you can’t quite decide one what picture you want on the big banner across your facebook group, then the animated banner is for you. Personal pages (or at least mine) will only accept still images (no video, no animated gifs) . However, it is supported for companies and other interest FB pages, it means that a bit of film can be easily incorporated into Fan Pages and it can be made very simply.

I will use Sony Vegas Pro, but many other tools are available, some for free.

You will need to create an MP4 Video of a specialist custom size: 820 x 462 pixels (w x h)

 

  1. Under File / Properties I created a new template of the size (820×462) I wanted. As most of these are still images, I could set the frame rate quite low, 15fps but if you are using a video clip, you might have to stay in the 24/25fps range.
  2. You can import your images, and lay them out around this long yet short canvas. If you want to fill the frame rather than leave lots of black border, then there will be cropping and zooming involved. Once I had an 820×462 pixel zoom window, I set it as a preset so I could quickly reuse it.
  3. Make the video between 20 and 50 secs in length
  4. When ready, do FILE / RENDER AS… and create a new output template in the new size 820×462. I usually set this template to render just video, not audio as it will be silent on FB anyway.

You can then upload your video to the banner on your FB Group page. Note: FB will then render it in their own system so this bit takes ages. In fact, I wrote this whole post in the 10+ mins it took to rerender it into an FB format. However, when uploaded you will then have an animated banner of video/images at the top of your Facebook Business or Fan Page.

 

 

You’re welcome!

New Preface for a Mass with Holy Baptism

Posted Leave a commentPosted in sacraments, teaching

We have a baptism tomorrow in the Mass, so I felt a new preface come upon me…

<sersum corda>

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

You give to us new life in waters of baptism
Pour out your blessings with the oils of life
Wrap us in the cloak of purity
And lead us towards Christ our Light

This Easter the joy of the resurrection renews the whole world,
|hile the choirs of heaven sing for ever to your glory

<sanctus>

Being present with the dying

Posted Leave a commentPosted in funeral

Waiting upon each laboured breath
Is far greater than simply duty
For there is a mysterious beauty 
Within each well-prepared death

There’s few more precious times than this
Now that life’s pains are put to rest
Acknowledging that death is best
Then sharing one departing kiss

‘Neath fading smile and closing eyes,
And steady grasping hand;
Heart and soul seem to understand
That they’ll live on when this frail body dies.

Fr Steve Sheridan

Digital Baptism (a work in progress)

Posted 1 CommentPosted in parish

Notes on an essential sacrament, without which the church cannot fully be embodied in digital space. Please forgive incompleteness of this text and the lack of references but I am recording this here as a note for ruther study and reflection, as a result of attending a symposium on Sacraments in a Virtual World at S. John’s College in Durham.

Baptism is where the sacraments truly hit the road. The two primordial sacraments are already fully  established in digispace: Jesus Christ – the Word embedded across all creation is in both sacred and profane space. The church, the ekklesia exists wherever Christian community is to be found, but from these two spring the dominical sacraments and the sacraments of grace.

So, until we figure out how baptism works then we cannot envisage any of the sacraments in a digital culture. Unfortunately, all sacraments are mysteries of God, and the limitation of their grace, efficacy and means of work are limited by our imagination, language and technology rather than a limitation of the agency of God.

Some theologians (Paul Fiddes for example) argues that baptism is impossible because it is an instrument of the located church, is a once and once only sacrament although he accepts the possibility of renewal of baptismal vows online. His argument accepting a new economy of sacramental for digital Eucharist has, I believe similar currency in the new economy of baptism but as Eucharist is predicated on baptism his rejection of digital baptism kills digital Eucharist at the outset.

We therefore need to carefully consider the nature of baptism and its action to see how it might find true representation in digital space.

The key problem with most of the seven-sacramental perspective is that it is rooted in the Incarnational reality: we have always concentrated upon a visceral and corporeal faith which spoke primarily of oil and water, bread and wine, body and blood. When we move into the less concrete, everything that we once held onto becomes shaky and it is this lack of physicality that  Fiddes finds problematic despite the fact that he was quite willing to forego them in the case of Eucharist.

But what is baptism? Is it a series of physical acts or an initiation which happens most commonly to use physical acts to symbolise the work of the Spirit upon an individual, regardless of whether they actively participate in it (adult, believer’s baptism) or whether they are a (largely) passive participant as an infant. Are the physical acts the most important element here or are they a mere reflection in a concrete world of a more virtual action by God?

Indeed, are all the works of grace evidenced in the sacraments of the Church ‘virtual’ in the sense that they have no concrete form, and rely upon what Aquinas called the accidentals of physicality to embody them? In doing this, have I argued that oil and water, white robes and candles are merely external and therefore dispensable signs of a deeper function of baptism which is the working of the Holy Spirit and the welcome of a supportive Christian Community. That both of these things can be successfully represented digitally, my tentative conclusion is, at present, that baptism is indeed a sacrament that can be mediated digitally, in a digital setting for a digital community for the essential hallmarks of baptism are present and the externalised accidentals can be enacted (the liturgy of drama) within a purely (and not synthesised) digital form.

More thoughts will be posted shortly…

Paul Fiddes – Sacraments in a Virtual World

Posted 1 CommentPosted in alt.worship, sacraments, teaching

(This paper is no longer available elsewhere on the web, although its critiques are; so as Prof Fiddes gave us a copy of it, I have scanned it here for the sake of completeness)

From The Virtual Body of Christ? Sacrament and Liturgy in Digital Spaces – a symposium organised by the CODEC research centre for Digital Theology (@CODECUK

Sacraments in a Virtual World?

A contribution by Paul S. Fiddes, University of Oxford, June 2009

Summary:

An avatar can receive the bread and wine of the Eucharist within the logic of the virtual world and it will still be a means of grace, since God is present in a virtual world in a way that is suitable for its inhabitants. We may expect that the grace received by the avatar will be shared in some way by the person behind the avatar, because the person in our everyday world has a complex relationship with his or her persona.

Argument:

The key theological question is whether the triune God is present, and whether Christ is incarnate (in some form, including the church) within the virtual world.*If the answer is yes, then one can conceive of the mediation of grace through the materials of that world, i.e. through digital representations.

Grace is, of course, not a substance but the gracious presence of God, coming to transform personality and society. In sacrament, God takes the occasion of bodies in creation to be present in an intense or ‘focused’ way to renew life.

One ought not to assume that cyberspace is a disembodied world. The net is composed of a form of energy, just as is the familiar ‘physical’ world in which we operate everyday. Moreover, the persons behind the avatars are in physical connection with the virtual world – through many of the senses (sight, hearing, touch — i.e. keyboard, mouse). Anyway, mental activity always has a physical base in the brain. Studies have shown that people feel a bodily connection with those with whom they are communicating over the net.

Theologically we should develop a notion of ‘virtual sacraments’ rather than an ‘extension’ of the consecration of elements over a distance, and their direct reception by the person employing the avatar. Within the logic of the virtual world, the cathedral in Second Life is a place where avatars worship God and avatars minister to avatars. The ‘person’ can thus only receive a virtual sacrament indirectly through relation to the avatar. There is a mysterious and complex interaction between the person and the persona projected (avatar), just as there is between the person and his/her personae (self-presentations to others) in everyday life. Avatars do not, however, worship merely an avatarGod because there is only one God, for whom person and persona are identical and in whom ‘all things live and move and have their being’, including the beings of virtual worlds.

There can be an ‘extension’ of the sacraments from the church sacraments of bread and wine into the sacramentality of the whole world, since the world is held in the life of the triune God; for an expression of this, see Teilhard de Chardin’s Mass on the World. Many physical objects in the world can become a focus of mediated grace in continuity with the church sacraments, while remaining dependent upon the sacraments of dominical institution for their meaning. My suggestion about virtual sacraments thus falls somewhere into the spectrum between church sacraments of bread and wine and other sacramental media in the world. I do not want to suggest that virtual sacraments would be simply identical with the church sacraments, though given the context of a ‘virtual church’ I suggest they would be closer on the spectrum than — say — the sacraments of sand and light in RS Thomas’ poem ‘In Great Waters’ :

The sand crumbles
like bread; the wine is
the light quietly lying
in its own chalice. There is
A sacrament there…

It might be said that the stuff of a virtual sacrament includes both sand (silicon) and light (photons)! Is there any less sand and light in a virtual world than in Thomas’ experience of the sea off the coast of Wales?

* This is not an outlandish question. The same question may be asked about the world which is inhabited by a schizophrenic, which appears completely real to the schizophrenic subject but which will be alien to others who share that person’s life in daily experience.

Netflix Genre Codes

Posted Leave a commentPosted in geek

All Netflix Category Codes

Here’s the complete list of all the codes, so you can search to your heart’s content!

http://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/###

Categories broken out for children based upon age:

Movies for ages 0 to 2: 6796
Movies for ages 2 to 4: 6218
Movies for ages 5 to 7: 5455
Movies for ages 8 to 10: 561
Movies for ages 11 to 12: 6962

A

Action & Adventure: 1365
Action Comedies: 43040
Action Sci-Fi & Fantasy: 1568
Action Thrillers: 43048
Adult Animation: 11881
Adventures: 7442
African Movies: 3761
Alien Sci-Fi: 3327
Animal Tales: 5507
Anime: 7424
Anime Action: 2653
Anime Comedies: 9302
Anime Dramas: 452
Anime Fantasy: 11146
Anime Features: 3063
Anime Horror: 10695
Anime Sci-Fi: 2729
Anime Series: 6721
Art House Movies: 29764
Asian Action Movies: 77232
Australian Movies: 5230

B

B-Horror Movies: 8195
Baseball Movies: 12339
Basketball Movies: 12762
Belgian Movies: 262
Biographical Documentaries: 3652
Biographical Dramas: 3179
Boxing Movies: 12443
British Movies: 10757
British TV Shows: 52117

C

Campy Movies: 1252
Children & Family Movies: 783
Chinese Movies: 3960
Classic Action & Adventure: 46576
Classic Comedies: 31694
Classic Dramas: 29809
Classic Foreign Movies: 32473
Classic Movies: 31574
Classic Musicals: 32392
Classic Romantic Movies: 31273
Classic Sci-Fi & Fantasy: 47147
Classic Thrillers: 46588
Classic TV Shows: 46553
Classic War Movies: 48744
Classic Westerns: 47465
Comedies: 6548
Comic Book and Superhero Movies: 10118
Country & Western/Folk: 1105
Courtroom Dramas: 2748
Creature Features: 6895
Crime Action & Adventure: 9584
Crime Documentaries: 9875
Crime Dramas: 6889
Crime Thrillers: 10499
Crime TV Shows: 26146
Cult Comedies: 9434
Cult Horror Movies: 10944
Cult Movies: 7627
Cult Sci-Fi & Fantasy: 4734
Cult TV Shows: 74652

D

Dark Comedies: 869
Deep Sea Horror Movies: 45028
Disney: 67673
Disney Musicals: 59433
Documentaries: 6839
Dramas: 5763
Dramas based on Books: 4961
Dramas based on real life: 3653
Dutch Movies: 10606

E

Eastern European Movies: 5254
Education for Kids: 10659
Epics: 52858
Experimental Movies: 11079

F

Faith & Spirituality: 26835
Faith & Spirituality Movies: 52804
Family Features: 51056
Fantasy Movies: 9744
Film Noir: 7687
Food & Travel TV: 72436
Football Movies: 12803
Foreign Action & Adventure: 11828
Foreign Comedies: 4426
Foreign Documentaries: 5161
Foreign Dramas: 2150
Foreign Gay & Lesbian Movies: 8243
Foreign Horror Movies: 8654
Foreign Movies: 7462
Foreign Sci-Fi & Fantasy: 6485
Foreign Thrillers: 10306
French Movies: 58807

G

Gangster Movies: 31851
Gay & Lesbian Dramas: 500
German Movies: 58886
Greek Movies: 61115

H

Historical Documentaries: 5349
Horror Comedy: 89585
Horror Movies: 8711

I

Independent Action & Adventure: 11804
Independent Comedies: 4195
Independent Dramas: 384
Independent Movies: 7077
Independent Thrillers: 3269
Indian Movies: 10463
Irish Movies: 58750
Italian Movies: 8221

J

Japanese Movies: 10398
Jazz & Easy Listening: 10271
Kids Faith & Spirituality: 751423

K

Kids Music: 52843
Kids’ TV: 27346
Korean Movies: 5685
Korean TV Shows: 67879

L

Late Night Comedies: 1402
Latin American Movies: 1613
Latin Music: 10741

M

Martial Arts Movies: 8985
Martial Arts, Boxing & Wrestling: 6695
Middle Eastern Movies: 5875
Military Action & Adventure: 2125
Military Documentaries: 4006
Military Dramas: 11
Military TV Shows: 25804
Miniseries: 4814
Mockumentaries: 26
Monster Movies: 947
Movies based on children’s books: 10056
Movies for ages 0 to 2: 6796
Movies for ages 2 to 4: 6218
Movies for ages 5 to 7: 5455
Movies for ages 8 to 10: 561
Movies for ages 11 to 12: 6962
Music & Concert Documentaries: 90361
Music: 1701
Musicals: 13335
Mysteries: 9994

N

New Zealand Movies: 63782

P

Period Pieces: 12123
Political Comedies: 2700
Political Documentaries: 7018
Political Dramas: 6616
Political Thrillers: 10504
Psychological Thrillers: 5505

Q

Quirky Romance: 36103

R

Reality TV: 9833
Religious Documentaries: 10005
Rock & Pop Concerts: 3278
Romantic Comedies: 5475
Romantic Dramas: 1255
Romantic Favorites: 502675
Romantic Foreign Movies: 7153
Romantic Independent Movies: 9916
Romantic Movies: 8883
Russian: 11567

S

Satanic Stories: 6998
Satires: 4922
Scandinavian Movies: 9292
Sci-Fi & Fantasy: 1492
Sci-Fi Adventure: 6926
Sci-Fi Dramas: 3916
Sci-Fi Horror Movies: 1694
Sci-Fi Thrillers: 11014
Science & Nature Documentaries: 2595
Science & Nature TV: 52780
Screwball Comedies: 9702
Showbiz Dramas: 5012
Showbiz Musicals: 13573
Silent Movies: 53310
Slapstick Comedies: 10256
Slasher and Serial Killer Movies: 8646
Soccer Movies: 12549
Social & Cultural Documentaries: 3675
Social Issue Dramas: 3947
Southeast Asian Movies: 9196
Spanish Movies: 58741
Spiritual Documentaries: 2760
Sports & Fitness: 9327
Sports Comedies: 5286
Sports Documentaries: 180
Sports Dramas: 7243
Sports Movies: 4370
Spy Action & Adventure: 10702
Spy Thrillers: 9147
Stage Musicals: 55774
Stand-up Comedy: 11559
Steamy Romantic Movies: 35800
Steamy Thrillers: 972
Supernatural Horror Movies: 42023
Supernatural Thrillers: 11140

T

Tearjerkers: 6384
Teen Comedies: 3519
Teen Dramas: 9299
Teen Screams: 52147
Teen TV Shows: 60951
Thrillers: 8933
Travel & Adventure Documentaries: 1159
TV Action & Adventure: 10673
TV Cartoons: 11177
TV Comedies: 10375
TV Documentaries: 10105
TV Dramas: 11714
TV Horror: 83059
TV Mysteries: 4366
TV Sci-Fi & Fantasy: 1372
TV Shows: 83

U-Z

Urban & Dance Concerts: 9472

Vampire Horror Movies: 75804

Werewolf Horror Movies: 75930
Westerns: 7700
World Music Concerts: 2856

Zombie Horror Movies: 75405