Posted by: Rowland | February 13, 2009

Next phase thoughts – part 2

  • “We are at a watershed” – our next phase ” will almost seem like a fresh start” – a break/development  from what we have already done. (‘Frodos’ is perhaps a start (!) but we need to add to this young adults from the region.)
  • We have questioned whether our base location should change from Barbados – some have suggested so; immigration delays have made us wonder but relocating does not get any easier;  another thought is our role may be ‘migratory’ although we are seen as thoroughly integrated into Caribbean society and it has been suggested we will end our days out in the Caribbean – lots of implications here!
  • Both Vicki and I need to establish new margins and habits in our lives so that we are fit for the task: this will involve further  living as an example (I would like to explore more of a simple lifestyle) including spiritual and physical exercise to be able to nurture others.
  • Vicki’s current teaching role must adapt to this priority e.g. less private lessons and probably concentrating on  consultancy training, the Dyslexia Centre and a particular school, thus taking pressure off our home to make time and space for the above.
  • We already have access to a global network of friends (several Caribbean ones) who are culturally sensitive to the task and may be called upon (perhaps they are going to be the migratory ones?).

In the next post I may expand on some of the ‘indicators’ we have had .

Posted by: Rowland | February 12, 2009

The next phase

Some of the clear ingredients are as follows: –

  • Vicki and I are to ‘give birth’ to a younger generation who will be spiritually significant: they will introduce new expressions of the church and Kingdom.
  • It will involve re-laying the foundations of church for a new generation.
  • Our priority is to identify/create a regional network of young people (200 over the next 2 years?). Vicki is likely to be the ‘gatherer’ with my support: I will be the ‘envisioner’ with her support.
  • The process has begun and will be sustained by prayer: it must be a move of the Holy Spirit. Our home must relate to “a place of prayer in the middle of nowhere” and be a spiritual power house! NB: windmill significance.
  • We need to plan – a methodical approach – so that our shared approach to everything we do is subject to this one goal.

I’ll add some more ingredients tomorrow but give the opportunity for a little ‘mulling over’. Comments welcome: this is, as they say, a work in progress rather than absolute conclusions although the above seems pretty clear to us..

Posted by: Rowland | February 10, 2009

Starting with a blank page!

It’s been for us a relatively quiet time recently while Vicki has coped with being quarantined with shingles and this has given the opportunity to do some practical things around the house. I’ve rearranged my study room. Bookcases have been moved, worn out phones replaced, as well as worn out rugs when some bargain pieces were spotted at a local store. My desk is now facing a good map of the Caribbean, rather than the window: this is in line with our decision to focus on the region and not just Barbados. Our renewed focus will require some fresh initiatives and probably a more planned methodical approach to unite my visionary approach with Vicki’s constant cry of “What, then, are we going to do?”
Of course even in a quiet activity time there are always many things going through my mind, not least concerns about the deployment of personnel – including ourselves; the character development of the young adults we care for; the concern to support our dispersed friends and colleagues, who each in their own areas face real challenges, and overall how best to co-operate with God in the outworking of his kingdom purposes.
There is no further news on the ‘immigration front’ nor any apparent progress on our desire to purchase ‘The Mill’.
I think my next posts will spell out some of the ingredients that we are clear about for this next phase. It’s amazing to think that we have now been here 14 years – longer than we have spent in any one place in the past.

Posted by: Rowland | January 24, 2009

Early ride

While it was still dark I set off for Brighton Farmers’ Market in St George. It’s not really too far and on the Pedersen takes about half an hour at fairly leisurely pace. As usual by 6. 30 a.m. the place is swarming with people around the various stalls. I go for Richard White’s bread. It’s made with less sugar than the factory product and also just looks good! He makes plenty of pastries and quiches too but while there I content myself with one of his plain buns with water out of the bottle slung over my shoulder and chatted to various acquaintances. Many make a breakfast occasion of it, sitting down with friends at the many picnic tables. 012420090011I stand slightly aloof keeping an eye on my bike. It still draws lots of comments (the bike that is – not my aloofness) and so is a real contact maker. All in all the trip makes a satisfying start to the day.

Posted by: Rowland | January 16, 2009

Walking/health

For the first time in quite a few weeks I resumed my morning walk/jog alongside the former cane fields up to St David’s village and back. I’ve not been idle during that time but giving more attention to getting out on the Pedersen (cycling being my first love – in the exercise field that is!).
The walking path has changed: it has been bull-dozed into a much broader track and much of the former ‘hidden-ness’ has been lost. It was once a narrow overgrown footpath requiring careful foot placing lest you trip on a tree root and you never knew what you would encounter round the next clump of trees. Now the route is open and plain for all to see. 01162009001.jpg
But I liked the old path.

Health: in June ‘08 my blood pressure had surprisingly raised to a concerning 145/ ? but my weight had also crept up to 185 lbs. The cardiologist told me to lose 20 lbs before my next visit in December (much to other friends’ surprise as they thought I looked OK). The good news is that I’m now down to around 160 lbs. (didn’t put any extra on over the Christmas season) and the blood pressure is a pleasing 125/80. It has been worth the hidden effort.

Some hidden effort is going into thinking about the nature of church and seeking to understand what God is wanting to create through us in the Caribbean and perhaps further afield. We have recently been reflecting on a broad concern about creating Christian community that is not dependent on meeting attendance – a radically different concept – and a realisation that God wants to birth a new generation with significant spiritual influence and needing a move of His Spirit. Alongside these immediate regional concerns we have also realised that we are an integral part of a small global network of Caribbean oriented friends who, although dispersed, share the same supportive concern.

I think we are going to have to be fit to keep up with what develops. At least we are getting glimpses of what lies ahead!

Posted by: Rowland | January 8, 2009

Back from Montserrat

Realised I have only indicated this on FaceBook but the fact is we left Montserrat on Sunday 4th January. Although the ferry was not operating, there being some delay with the introduction of the new vessel, and thus flights were very overbooked, we received an early call to get to the airport by 8 a.m. Because the airport had been closed down by the volcanic conditions thoughfully extra planes had been chartered and we found ourselves channeled onto a small 8-seater and were back in Antigua before 9 a.m. Alas we could not get an earlier flight than 7. 10 p.m. and because of some dispute between LIAT and the local air traffic control, this was delayed until well after 8 p.m. but at least we did not have to overnight in Antigua. Instead we were home safely in our own bed with no signs of ash clouds and falls which had characterised our week away.

Tonight we have watched a 90 minute DVD – The Price of Paradise “Memories of Montserrat” – The story of the eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano – and will be showing this to our friends over the next little while. I’m glad we went. Glad to have some small understanding of what our friends have to live with all the time.

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Pyroclastic flow seen from the observatory on 2nd January 2009

Posted by: Rowland | January 3, 2009

More volcanic activity

Quite a wild night here and at 5 a.m. Gordon called to draw our attention to the lightning storm around the peak – it reminded me of the vivid dream I had perhaps 10 years ago and at the time I never realised that lightning was associated with volcanic eruptions. Now I have seen it. And everywhere is covered with light grey ash: it’s in the air; you can feel it on your head and the radio is encouraging people to wear their face masks. (I wonder if there are any spare ones around?) The partial evacuation of an area at night-time ordered yesterday in view of the increased activity will be reviewed again with daylight, in case the area should still remain closed. And Montserratians have to live with these conditions…

The winds are still high and very blustery. It will be better when daylight comes. But the period of relative tranquility seems to have ended.

Posted by: Rowland | January 2, 2009

Montserrat retreat

Been away with Vicki for a few days to this island retreat and right now am sitting on the balcony of the apartment in the cool/cold of the evening overlooking the lights of Brades but it’s now too dark to make out Nevis on the horizon and too far away to see any lights on that island.  It’s been good to see something of our friends and colleagues who took us to the volcano observatory. While we were watching a DVD presentation we were suddenly called out of the theatre to see real life drama – a significant eruption and pyroclastic flow pouring out of the dome area. It was a good job we were some 4 miles away just outside the exclusion zone.

While we have been away our thoughts concerning this strategic time in our lives have progressed and hopefully will continue to become even clearer. We have been building on ideas that have been coming to us in recent weeks but new perspectives have also emerged. It would be convenient had God simply told us what was next on his agenda but it continues to be a process of discovery and dependence on revelation – which I guess makes things more exciting, if you can stand the uncertainty! I’m reminded that over 10 years ago  we did a ‘village mapping’ exercise as we sought to discern our identity as a group – ” a supportive group of friends that want to…” and we were not too sure what more to add! ‘Clouds of uncertainty’ surrounded our lives then and even now they seem to be an ongoing accompaniment to the life of faith. But en route God has shed light on the pathway and I’m glad we are still on the journey.

All being well we return to Barbados on Sunday.

Posted by: Rowland | December 23, 2008

Bird prophetic symbolism?

A little while ago while entertaining a dear friend on a visit to the island we were amazed to see from our open-air meal table what looked like an eagle gliding by. Reference books indicated that it was an osprey – the first one I had ever seen.

Today while with the same visitor but when praying for and blessing his wife we were again amazed to see a brown pelican flying by the cliff-top seat – again the first one I had seen in flight and so close – before it dipped down towards the ocean and was eventually lost from sight. I recall seeing one only once before in 14 years of living here. It ‘felt’ as though there was some special significance in both appearances. Any thoughts?

Posted by: Rowland | December 20, 2008

Been busy!

We have had visitors for the last two weeks and been spending all spare time with them thinking through not only the shape of the church to come (as one does!) but our mutual futures in it all. Newly uncertain immigration issues here and the implications have made us begin to consider a possible ‘plan B’ for the first time if we are to stay in the Caribbean.   And the realities of now being without current Barbadian ID cards, after living here for 14 years,  have made it quite difficult to do things – like renewing my driving license (some tricky moments with the local police until one of them helpfully found a way forward) and the simple matter of issuing cheques. Of course it’s Christmas time and that means it’s always fun trying to organise ourselves (when Vicki is under end of term pressures) and gifts for our family a few thousand miles away. But although the uncertainty can be emotionally trying there is that sense of new things ahead, and that is exciting (if you don’t weaken!)

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