So after a long hiatus, the Refill is back - with a new look. Like it?
Ironically, Wordpress was getting a bit complex for my wordy brain - plus things need freshening up every once in a while, right? I also had to decide what to do with increasing costs of hosting anything online.
So here's the solution: you can now subscribe to the blog by either paying absolutely nothing, or you can choose to join the 'The Sunday Refill Club' and pay less than a price of a take-out coffee each month. Balls in your court!
That will both cover costs of keeping this place going (domain, hosting, dancing monkeys - couple of hundred pound) - and any excess will support local ministry where I am based. (Please note: the finances are not administered by myself). This year I'd love to raise some funds to support having a Ministry Intern working with some of our local churches. Thanks!
1) Volunteering After the Pandemic - Lessons from the Homelessness Sector - I've had lots of conversations recently about the 'increasing challenge to find volunteers'. This Theos piece focuses in on some research from the homelessness sector but I imagine many sectors will identify with it. There is a debate that rages in my heart about the helpfulness (or not) of 'volunteering' language in the Church.
2) Pondering Summer Sensations - As we come into October, this is an interesting little reflection on some of the popular 'trends' of the last summer in the West - and what that might tell us.
3) Inside the fastest growing – and shrinking – churches in the UK - Some really interesting observations in The Spectator here, including this perceptive line:
The trade-off is that so limitless a God may also be too fuzzy to see clearly. At the back of the Elim church is a cross, a reminder of Jesus’s saving death. At the back of the URC church is a stained-glass depiction of a tree with tongues of fire in it, a general image of life and renewal.
Not dissimilar is another article in The Times from A.N.Wilson, To resurrect the church, try the gospel truth.
Both are then fascinatingly referenced by Angela Tilby in her regular Comment in the Church Times here, 'Emptied-out faith leads to empty pews'. Tilby, who would identify as from a liberal perspective theologically, makes some surprising (for her) reflections:
At my end of the C of E, everyone remains very polite, tolerant, and a bit disconnected. It is just slightly embarrassing to speak directly about God. But those who join growing churches take on an interventionist God, a Jesus who works miracles today, a Spirit who delivers revelation.
5) Wedding Preparation Questionnaire for Ministers - Luke Simmons has shared this pretty handy set of questions he asks couples before a wedding in order to help make their wedding personal.
6) ‘People looked at me like I was oppressed in some way’: Young Christians on life in secular Britain - Really interesting to see this in The Independent. The stories and testimonies with Christian young adults won't be a surprise to many in the Church, but it is notable to see the quotations and reflections which make the journalist's cut - and her conclusions.
7) The story of the Reformation as told by the characters of The Office. A GIF thread. - For something a bit different... If you know the Refill well, you'll know we try and finish on a lighter note. So of course here's (part of) the story of the Reformation, told by GIF clips from The Office (ahem, American version). More niche than quiche (TM).
Thanks for popping by!