Saturday, 26 May 2012

Legendary Swim/Bike/Run with TVT

Jamie from TVT had the bright idea of a swim/bike/run session in celebration of the glorious weather.

We met at Bray Swimming Lake and did 3 laps of the 750m course ... the water was a balmy 20C and swimming in early morning sunshine was glorious.

We then jumped on our bikes for a 34mile ride through Bray, Cookham, Bisham, Marlow, Eton and Windsor. It was a such a stunning ride: hills, riverside roads, historic buildings and pretty villages decked out in jubilee bunting.

Once back at the lake, the plan began to unravel in that the path around the lake was overgrown with stinging nettles. We ploughed on regardless and all picked up a sting or three and a bonfida reason to whinge.

Back at the lakeside clubhouse we ate ice creams (Jamie bought them as a guilt offering for the nettles) and watched the novice windsurfers fall in / get blown down the lake ... it was good to see others suffer for their sport!

It was such a great way to spend a morning ... one I wont forget for a long, long time.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Trying to manage Sunday morning growth #2

After Easter, you may remember I blogged about trying to manage Sunday morning growth

For the past 6 weeks we have been running a pilot scheme of Crèche & Kids Church starting at 10:20. In parallel to this, the SUPA team have been working on optimal seating plans and have now managed to put out 350 chairs in the hall.  

The Crèche, Kids Church & SUPA teams have learned valuable lesson from this period and have demonstrated we can create space for growth on Sunday mornings, albeit by the children going to their groups at 10:20.

That said, the summer months are generally quieter in terms of attendance (but not expectation, God is still at work!) so we think it appropriate to switch back to having the children in with the adults over this period. I suspect that once we get to the end of September, morning attendance will again demand we take the children out from 10:20, but we will make that decision then.

So, from Sunday 3 June, the children will start the meeting with the adults in the main hall and go to their groups after approx 20 minutes.

This whole exercise was always about trying to ‘create maximum seating at the optimum time’ so that more people can come and be part of what God is doing amongst us. Thanks to everyone who've put out more chairs, led kids groups for longer, and embraced change & inconvenience with faith.

If you have any feedback on the pilot scheme, please do let me know. Let’s keep believing God for an amazing tomorrow ...

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Update on the Henson's

Hanna just called to confirm that Dave's surgery went well today. The operation was long but the surgeon confirmed he was able to remove all of the tumour from the spinal canal. 

The very good news is that Dave is able to feel his toes, indicating limited damage to the nerves in his spine.

It will take about a week to get the results back from the biopsy, meanwhile Dave will stay in hospital as his recovery now begins.

Let's keep praying for Family Henson in these difficult times and thank God for the good news so far.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Time with Pete Cornford

Today I travelled up to Ealing to spend time with Pete Cornford and talk all things church planting.
It has nearly been a year since he moved his family back from Perth, Australia and God has been faithful. Nicky has found a teaching job in her old school and Josh is sitting his GCSE's after only completing two terms of syllabus. Isaac & Lois have also settled back into the UK school system and are making new friends.

They now plan to plant a church in Ealing and last night gathered 19 people in their home. They hope to start meeting as 'Redeemer' church on Sunday mornings from September. Pete took me to Ealing Town hall where he hopes to hire one of the rooms, its a brilliant venue and very central.    

The only downside of the day was when we went for a 7 mile run along the grand union canal - I seemed to be labouring whilst he still looked upbeat. I guess he is just better at putting a brave face on!

RFC have prayerfully & financially supported Pete & Nicky over the past two years; and they will be with us on Sunday 27 May when Pete will be preaching. He will tell something of their story and then speak about the father heart of God. 

I hope you are there to hear him in person (his blog is here).  

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Creating Better Futures update

A few months ago I blogged about a 'not for profit' organisation started by two couples in our church. Mike & Dorothy Dix and Chris & Becca Poston founded 'Creating Better Futures' with a vision to offer long term support to children who are orphaned or vulnerable.

They are now in a fund raising drive: On Saturday they attempted to climb the height of Everest in a team relay and on Sunday they ran the local Woodley 10K.   

If you want to find out more about them, or maybe get involved, follow this link to their website.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Hart Triathlon 2012

So Bank Holiday Monday was cold & wet; I stood barefoot in 9C air temp, racking my bike with 400 moaning triathletes. Like many, I booked this race to help gauge my fitness & highlight areas to work on for the Windsor Triathlon next month. 

The 400m pool swim was steady if not a little slow ... but I was soon joined by a human torpedo forcing the pace as he chased me down. My son watched it unfold and he said it was comedic how I was so easily caught. He actually asked me if I was "trying very hard". 

Then came the bike. 20km at race pace normally presents no problem, but my legs were still tired from Saturdays 96km ride in the Chiltern Hills. It was a pre-race ride I regretted with each turn of the pedal crank, I had so little fizz left in my tanks. My average pace was little more than a training ride with friends, Doh!

The transition from bike to run was by far the worst I have ever done. My feet & hands were so cold I couldn't easily tie my laces (I forgot to fit elastic ones), or open an energy gel or re-attached my GPS watch which fell off.  

The run was a 5.5km mud-tastic cross country dash across fields and through a stream (which was surprisingly deep, I had to be helped out. Not cool). Thankfully my legs seemed re-energised from the gel and I actually enjoyed this leg of the race. 

All in all I got round in 1:12:15 (56th) but a full 1 minute slower than 4 years ago. I also learnt some top lessons:
  • Don't do a long, hilly ride just before a race.
  • Bad transitions cost hard won minutes.
  • I love racing even when it hasn't gone well as I hoped.