Thursday, 11 December 2008

A Reflective Advent

Thank you to all of you for your prayers and good wishes, and for your practical help in recent weeks. My hand continues to heal, but frustratingly slowly. I hope to be able to get back to normal after Christmas.

So, I am still one-handed, unable to drive, and have had to cancel several events. But I do feel curiously blessed! Due to your faithful generosity, and to some surprising gifts, my ministry has so far escaped the credit-crunch. Thank you - you really do enable all that I do. And this unexpected gap in my schedule gives me a welcome space in which to write creatively. Maybe these unpleasant circumstances are somehow part of God's plan, much like Mary & Joseph's highly inconvenient journey to Bethlehem! Green Pastures have published an article that I wrote about my 'woundedness': you can read it here.

Words are flowing and I am enjoying a very reflective Advent; using this down-time to work on completing the manuscript for a Christmas book. The more I immerse myself in the mystery of Christ's birth, the more I want to get down on my knees in wonder!

I pray that you too will have a renewed sense of wonder this Christmas. May you know love and laughter, joy and hope, and the presence of the Christ-child in your hearts.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Wounded healer

An unfortunate accident has sent my plans for the autumn topsy-turvy!

Two weeks at Green Pastures became extended into five, after I tumbled down the stairs and damaged both hands, fracturing one thumb joint. Unable to drive home, I accepted Green Pasture's invitation to stay longer, and an incident that none of us would have wished for turned out to be a profound blessing. I was able to continue to offer pastoral listening and prayer ministry to the guests, as well as leading chapel services, and it was an enormous privilege to do so. [Leading a Healing Service with both hands strapped up was something of a 'first' ... ]

Though an entirely different dynamic to retreat leading, this was work that I felt very at home with and very blessed by. Give thanks for the Green Pastures team, who blessed me with fellowship and TLC, and pray for them as they discern new ways forward for the ministry of the house.

An unfortunate consequence of my mishap has been the need to cancel several events. I am sorry to have let so many of you down. The fracture was a serious one and I need to rehabilitate myself fully before getting behind a driving wheel or lifting retreat boxes again. But our Lord heals! After being surrounded by healing prayer, the verdict of the medical teams is that the injury is healing better than they could ever have expected and an operation which was thought to be inevitable is now not needed. Give thanks and please pray for continued healing.

I am now back at home base, getting quite adept at coping one-handedly, and going gently. I hope to use this enforced 'down time' to be reflective and prepare new materials for Christmas. Please pray for rest, space and inspiration.

On the publishing front, there is disappointing news - Kevin Mayhew did not feel able to accept my manuscript for publication. Please pray that God will open the door to a new publishing house.

Thank you so much for your prayers - please keep them coming!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

To Pastures Green

The suitcase is packed again! I'm about to depart to Green Pastures, a retreat house near Poole, where I'll be spending two weeks as part of the house team. Please pray for me as I take on responsibilities of worship and pastoral care there. Green Pastures is a precious space that has a very special pastoral ministry to people going through life difficulties of every kind, and it is a real privilege to be invited to share in this work.

Whilst there, I also very much need to find my own quiet space 'in the gaps' in order to reflect and prepare for my October events. Please pray that this will be possible. Additionally, I'll be taking the opportunity to meet people from Boscombe and Romsey to plan future events in that area.

On the publishing front, I now learn that Inspire will cease trading in August 2009, not this year, as I had thought. This is welcome news and gives me a breathing space to consider the options and implications. Please continue to pray that Kevin Mayhew will accept my new manuscript.

Financial support for my ministry continues to trickle in, often from unexpected quarters. Give thanks for this. Curiously, I keep finding pound coins (about 20 so far) in unexpected places too ... God seems to be saying something about His provision ...

I have just enjoyed some precious retreat time at Whitehill Chase, the home of Acorn Christian Healing Foundation. I am refreshed, renewed, inspired ... and looking forward to all that lies ahead. Thanks to Marie Calvert and Joy Taylor who led the weekend beautifully, and to my dear friend, Carien, who journeyed alongside me!

Thank you for your prayers. I pray you will all enjoy the beauty of autumn and through it know God's wonderful shalom.

Friday, 29 August 2008

New publisher needed

I have today learnt that Inspire, who publish all three of my books, are to cease trading in a few days time. This means that mph will no longer be marketing, re-printing or selling my books. Books will still be available from me, from the link on the right, whilst current stocks last.

I am very grateful to Inspire for taking a risk on me five years ago, as a new author. However, this is very disappointing news and makes it even more important that I establish myself with a new publisher. Please pray that Kevin Mayhew publishers will accept my new manuscript and that other publishing doors will open too.

After a fruitful meeting last week, I shall shortly be offering retreats for the ministers of the Order of Jacob's Well. This is a huge privilege: it is so important that ministers who are continually giving of themselves have opportunities to 'receive'. I also have bookings from URC lay preachers, Wisdom House (a new retreat space in Hampshire) and interest from various church groups. Give thanks!

I am not at all prepared for the autumn, renovation work at my home having been seriously disruptive this summer. So please pray for me, especially during the next weeks, as I strive to fit a 'gallon' of preparation into a 'thimbleful' of time! Please pray for peace, inspiration, and opportunities to take space during the still ongoing disruptions.

Finally, I hear from Wales that, thanks to Rob Endicott's musical talents, one of my songs may soon be recorded onto a demo CD. Watch this space ... this could get exciting ...

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

A Deeper Love

At last! I have today submitted a new manuscript to Kevin Mayhew publishers. The working title is A Deeper Love and it's a collection of poems and prayers born out of, and suitable for facilitating, meditative prayer. The poems have all been well tried and tested in retreats over the last 18 months, and have been much loved. However, I am new to Kevin Mayhew, so please pray that the book will be accepted to their publishing list.

I continue to explore funding help for my ministry and have recently approached two organisations for sponsorship. I'm happy to say that I've received an optimistic response from the Society of Retreat Conductors, who are seriously considering my request and have promised to respond further within six months. I have yet to receive a reply from the Association for Promoting Retreats. Please hold these situations in your prayers.

Give thanks for the steady response to my Support Group letter: the money pledged to date is close to matching the annual shortfall in my ministry costs so far. Thank you to each one of you - every small financial contribution is greatly valued and will enable me to continue - and your prayer support is priceless!

I shall be spending the rest of the summer preparing for a series of autumn events, before heading down to Green Pastures in mid-September to cover for two weeks during the absence of their pastoral director. Please pray that I can find the necessary meditative 'space' for this preparation in the midst of maintenance work on my property happening around me.

Bless you - may you all have a richly relaxing and renewing summer.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

A Wonderful Conference

The recent conference of the Order of Jacob's Well was a time of tremendous healing, great teaching, wonderful fellowship and a real sense of the love of Jesus shining through the event. It was a privilege to lead meditations for the conference, and, with such a wonderfully receptive audience, these proved to be very powerful. Much healing took place. I also led a Poetry Evening which was well received. Thank you for your prayers: they have upheld me through this event.

I was able to renew several friendships and build many new ones and I'm sure that much fruit might grow from this conference. There was significant interest in my work. Please pray for me as I discern how to balance my future diary and to live in the necessary rhythms of grace that enable me to carry out this ministry.

Give thanks that Jacob's Well have invited me to run a series of retreats for them and pray for us as together we discern what is needed and work through the logistics of this new direction.

Rob Endicott, who led worship at the conference, is exploring writing music for a set of song lyrics I have written. Give thanks for his gifting and pray for an anointing on him as he does this.

Finally, I am back at base again and looking forward to having time to give my home some much needed TLC. After that, I will be working on my next two manuscripts. Please pray for an anointing on me as I do that and pray for God's leading as I seek out a new publisher.

Overall, the conference was a time of great blessing and a real confirmation of the ministry God calls me to. I fell head over heels in love with Jesus all over again!

May He bless you all abundantly.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Healing Hands

God continues to draw me deeper into a heart for His healing ministry. Currently I am preparing to lead meditations at a conference for the Order of Jacobs Well, an ecumenical order whose members are quietly being 'the hands of Jesus' in the field of healing. Please pray for me in these last few days as I put the finishing touches to my preparations. And please pray for a real anointing as I lead the meditations at the conference.

At the Ruth Fazal event I experienced the healing of a painful neck condition when someone felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to lay hands on me. Give thanks. We have a wonderful God. It was a real blessing to experience at close quarters Ruth's beautiful music and her powerfully anointed ministry.

Financial support for my ministry continues to quietly grow. Give thanks. I am so humbled by this support. Please continue to pray that exactly what is needed will be provided.

I continue to receive enquiries for retreat events and know that this is where God calls me to be. It is a real blessing to be clay in the potter's hands: may I never resist his moulding.

Thank you for your prayer support which enables all that I do. May God bless you all.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Inspiring Conference

The Retreat Association conference was inspiring ... stimulating ... challenging ... exhausting ... uplifting ... and much more! Thank you for your prayers. Mostly, it was a very affirming time for me: I am now even more sure that I am called to this work. Several old friendships were renewed and lots of new ones made and I have a feeling that much will grow out of this time.

The Support Group response continues to grow day by day. Again, give thanks. Please also continue to pray that the money that is needed to sustain this ministry will be provided.

I am now 'catching up with myself' at home, but will be heading off to Sheffield next week to experience worship with Ruth Fazal. Please pray for a fruitful time of writing after this event.

Please also pray for my son, Dave. After an accident at work he has had to undergo a reconstructive operation on his elbow this weekend. Please pray for full healing and restoration.

Thank you.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

A busy few weeks

Thank you for your prayers, everyone. Early responses to my Support Group mailshot have been encouraging. Give thanks and continue to pray that all that is needed will be provided.

I have a busy few weeks ahead of me. Next week I will be at the Retreat Association Conference. Please pray for a time of refreshing and for the building of new relationships in the retreats world. Pray too for the anointing of the Holy Spirit in the workshop I will be leading.

Then just after that I am making a short 3-day retreat to Whirlow Grange. I am taking the opportunity to experience worship with Ruth Fazal who is touring the UK at present, and feel sure this might inspire me to write. Ruth is a very anointed prophetic musician - there's a link to her website under my 'Interesting Web Links' on the right if you're interested.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Support Group Launch

At last! The Support Group letters are in the post!

To all new readers of this page - WELCOME - and thank you for looking me up. I hope you will continue to follow progress of my ministry through this page and support me in your prayers. If you scroll down below, you'll get a flavour for where the Lord has been leading me in recent months, and if you keep returning to this page you'll be able to keep in touch with my latest news too.

Finally, after much prayer and consideration, I am launching a support group to underpin and enable my ministry. Please pray for all who receive my initial support group letter. Every prayer and every small contribution will be much valued.

Currently, I'm in a bit of a 'breathing space' between commitments, which is good and necessary. It has been good to have time to settle into the rhythm of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises (see below) and I know that incorporating this into my daily life will bless and enhance my future ministry. Please pray for me as I commit myself to this rhythm of prayer.

Please pray for me too as I prepare for the Retreat Association conference in May, where I'll be leading a workshop entitled 'Imaginative Contemplation as a Pathway to Healing'.

Thank you to you all, for your love and support in so many ways. God bless you.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Down Time

The recent Quiet Day - He Chose The Nails - went very well and I thank you all for your prayer upholding. People seemed to be very blessed and used phrases like 'amazing' and 'so moving as to be beyond words'. I just thank the Lord for the Holy Spirit's enabling. The John Young Foundation have asked me to lead a similar day in the autumn.

So now I have arrived at some intentional down time in my diary. This is some much needed quiet space for me after the fairly intense preparation and leading of the last few weeks and months. I plan to begin this break by spending time at Morley Retreat House.

After that, it will be time to set in motion the launch of a Support Group for this ministry.

So, please pray for rest & renewal and for wisdom in how to approach the Support Group launch. Please also pray for my health, which is below par at the moment.

Thank you, dear friends - may you enjoy a richly blessed Easter season.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

He Chose The Nails

Thank you for your ongoing prayers. The 'Godly Daydreaming' retreat went well - it was a huge privilege to spend a weekend alongside 22 very godly young women from TABS, in Penarth. I was hugely blessed by their fellowship and found them quite inspirational to journey with. This is the paradox of retreat work ... in giving, I receive. Thank you, TABS.

So, time to move on to the next project ... an upcoming Quiet Day at Shallowford, entitled 'He Chose The Nails'. Please pray for me as I immerse myself in the cross again in preparation for this day. There has been an unprecedented interest in the day, and I will be offering another one in the autumn.

Please pray for wisdom and discernment as I pray over an invitation from the Retreat Association to be a facilitator for 'Soul Space' at their conference in May. And give thanks that Peter Millward, a very gifted artist, has offered me use of his images to make large visuals for use in my meditative retreat work.

We are many members, but one body ... and it is in working together that the Kingdom grows!

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Ignatian Spiritual Exercises

I committed myself today to begin the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, as a retreat in daily life. I'll be starting them after Easter and this will be a nine month programme of daily prayer exercises and a weekly meeting with Jane, who'll be acting as my conductor. This is something that I have wanted to do for a long time, and the time now feels right to undertake this. I hope that the exercises will help me to live from a better rhythm of prayer, to grow closer to Christ, and be foundational for future retreat leading. I'm told that the exercises can be profoundly life-changing. Watch this space ...

Preparation of the Godly Daydreaming retreat for Penarth Baptists is on schedule. Please pray for continued inspiration and uninterrupted preparation time.

Thank you.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

On to the next project ...

Thank you for your prayers, folks.

It was a privilege to be on the Programme Planning Panel for Llangasty and it was a joy to spend time again in that peaceful retreat house. I will be leading a retreat for them in 2009.

Thank you for your prayer upholding throughout last weekend. The Inner Healing Course was a powerful experience, possibly even life-changing. I learnt a great deal and was deeply blessed by the prayer ministry times. All that I experienced will be very valuable in the pastoral ministry that goes hand in hand with retreat work.

And so, onto the next challenge ... In the next three weeks I am concentrating on praying and preparing for the retreat that I'll be leading for Penarth Baptist Church. Please pray that I will have discernment, vision and fresh inspiration. Pray too for undisturbed preparation time.

Thank you.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

An Inspiring Time

Having helped to lead the Green Pastures Christmas Encounter retreat, it has been good to take a few days relaxing with friends at the turn of the year. I now face the coming year refreshed and inspired. The leading of Advent and Christmas retreats has been a real catalyst for a flow of new writing and I hope to soon have a manuscript for a Christmas book to offer to a publisher. The Christmas Encounter was very moving and Green Pastures have invited me back to lead another retreat for them in October.

I have felt very affirmed in my ministry in recent months and step into 2008 in a very positive frame of mind. My New Year's resolution is to use the gifts I have been given to attempt to become the best retreat leader and Christian writer that I possibly can be. One thing that will be very enabling in this task is the successful set-up of a Support Group for my ministry. Please pray for us as we prepare to launch this very soon.

I also have lots of other things on the go in the next two months, so please pray that I would achieve the right balance in prioritising everything. I am off down to Llangasty next Monday to join their programme advisory group in planning future retreats. Please pray for me specifically too as I attend an Inner Healing Training on Jan 11-13.

Unfortunately my application for an author grant was not successful, but I thank you for your prayers.

Thank you all for your faithful prayer support throughout 2007: it is crucial to all that I do. May God bless you with His peace and guide you in the paths He has for you in the coming year.