Dear Friends,
'I could have danced all night...' sings Eliza Doolittle in the musical My Fair Lady. Until I came to Southampton, I'd certainly have left her to it. I was born with two left feet, figuratively if not practically, not to mention the ability to confuse left and right in moments of stress. And I can't say I was too unhappy with my lack of ability. Some people can dance, I reasoned, and some can't. But since I came here, there seem to be so many occasions where dancing is the only possible response, and not just our Theatrical Inspiration Stage productions at Freemantle. I was lured into the first one because I was assured of a non-dancing role in the wings. Then when rehearsals started, they broke it to me gently that there was no such thing as a non-dancing role. By then it was too late - I was hooked on the friendliness of the cast, and they were stuck with getting me through the routines. But even though the process of learning was traumatic, I ended up loving the whole experience. Return to the Forbidden Planet* involves even more dancing - thankfully, most of it by our principals - but now I'm getting more used to the feeling of only just being in control of my limbs.

Dear Friends,

Even though the General Election was only a week ago (as I write) it already feels like a distant memory. Instead, the fallout from the various resignations and reorganisations is now hogging the limelight. And yet fleeting though Election Day was, I wonder whether we really appreciate the significance of our right to vote? At times, I too feel like my vote doesn’t have much significance in the grand scheme of things, and yet I have always taken pride in exercising my right and responsibility to vote.

There’s no doubt about it; the death of Jesus was unexpected, and although he gave quite a few hints that it would happen, the disciples either didn’t believe him, or just didn’t want to. And when it did finally happen, it left the disciples in a state of shock and dismay that they wouldn’t have recovered from had it not been for what happened next. For if Jesus’ death was unexpected, his resurrection was doubly so … or was it?

Dear Friends,

When people who don't know me find out I'm a minister, they have two reactions. Firstly, they look surprised. Apparently, I don't look the way a minister should (either a bearded man wearing black or Dawn French). Secondly, they ask: 'So what is it you actually do?' Some of you may also wonder - though I know you're too polite to ask. So welcome to a week in the life of one minister!

I know Sunday is the first day of the week - but a ministerial week begins on Monday. And in the case of a minister serving a group of churches, it begins with the question: Where am I on Sunday? Am I leading worship at 9.30? At 11am? Both? If the latter, how close to each other are the churches? If the former: is there a church meeting after the service? Am I prepared for it? And is there a sneaky afternoon or evening service that I forget to my peril and everyone else's irritation?

Dear Friends

I have just been looking at what the month of March this year brings us…apart from Mad March Hares and beautiful Spring flowers!

There’s St David’s Day which is also Tear Fund Sunday, the Women’s World Day of Prayer from The Bahamas, Mothering Sunday, St Patrick’s Day, the International Day of Happiness, End Racism Day, World Water Sunday to name but a few! We will also be in the season of Lent leading to the roller coaster of events and emotions expressed throughout the Easter Story itself. Phew!