So… for all those skeptics out there, I did manage to survive and indeed throughly enjoy 2 hours in Eden, one of Ibiza’s oldest clubs, last night… absolutely awesome.
It part of the pattern of the week that the 24-7 team go to a club at least once a week. For us that meant finishing up on the streets at around 4am and heading to a club until 6am.
So why did we do it?
Well… it’s about worship, it’s about relationship, it’s about presence. We can go to the club and have a good laugh and a great time without the influence of any ‘outside’ agent.
OK… there might be a lot going on in there that isn’t so good… but God is in that place… if Jesus were physically here now… where would he go? To the clubs… I have no doubt. We are to be Jesus… his hands and his feet… so secure in our relationship with him… we go to the clubs.
I had a vision in that club last night…. I looked up, I looked around… and it felt like being in a church… there was a pulpit… where the DJs and VJs led proceedings from… there was a gallery up stairs… there were big screens projecting images… there was the music and people with there hands in the air…. they were worshipping. They might not have been worshipping the Jesus I worship… but they knew how to worship…. now we need to help them understand who to really worship…. and how will they know if no one comes alongside them, shows them the love of God… and tells them the story of a saviour.
Wow… what a first night on the streets of the West End. After some prep, worship and prayer the 14 of us split into pairs, half the team stayed in the prayer room for another hour while the other half went out on the streets. Then after the first hour we swapped over.
That is the theory anyway.. but it turned out to be a mental night with the van on the go nearly all night doing pick ups and quite a few people needing walked home or looked after for a long period. At one stage because of the demand for our services everyone was out on the streets… with the phone in the office ringing on a regular basis as PR’s from clubs rang looking the assistance of 24-7.
Such is the good standing that 24-7 Ibiza has in the eyes of the local community. Kinda reminds me of Matt 5:16 ‘In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.’ This work is not done for anything other than God’s glory… to reveal his love and grace and mercy to his children… both those who know him and those who have wandered off… the prodigals.
There is just so much need. The first person that my team partner and I bumped into turned out to be a guy who had recently split from his partner. She had had an affair with his boss, so their relationship of five years had ended. Together they have 2 kids. He decided to come on holiday with mates for the first time in ten years and had been having a ‘great’ time. But the pain of betrayal and the uncertainly about the future is still there. We had the opportunity to make sure he was ok, that he was in a fit enough state to get home and to pray with him to. He really opened up about his situation and it was such a privilege to chat to him, pray with him and he was so up for it. He asked us to pray that he would be a good dad to his kids and for his future in terms of work.
Roll on night 2… when we are finished on the streets tonight we are heading to Eden, one of the biggest clubs here in San An.
For the next couple of weeks a team of 8 of us representing QUB Methodist Chaplaincy are working with 24-7 Ibiza in San Antonia, Ibiza. Check out their website http://www.24-7ibiza.com
We arrived late last night and this is our first full day. We have spent time today doing some orientation, going on a prayer walk and generally getting a sense of what is happening in ‘San An’
As a team we are here to serve, to work with and for the guys who are here permanently or for the summer season. To worship by word and deed, to get alongside the club workers, PR’s, people on the streets and of course holiday makers. To help those in need, to offer prayer and assistance, to share our faith.
This is an exciting and challenging place to be… I and the whole team would appreciate any prayer, especially for tonight which is our first night on streets. We will meet at around 11.30pm and spend some time as a team worshipping in the 24-7 Ibiza centre. Then we will split with half the team staying to pray and the other half heading out to the west end. The routine is that we swap round every hour, finishing around 5 in the morning.
Ibiza is the party capital of Europe… ten of thousands head here every summer for clubs, alcohol, drugs and sex, it is in many ways such a dark place… yet already we sense God is in this place, is at work in people’s lives, is calling them to a different way of life.. a better life in Jesus.
Over the last decade much sowing has been done by local Spanish christians, by the wider 24-7 movement and by the 24-7 community lead by Brian and Tracy Heasley, and Bruce Gardner-Crehan who have been living here permanently for the last few years. We pray for more sowing and much reaping now and in the future.
Check out the blog over the next couple of weeks for more stories of what’s happening right now in Ibiza.
This is my last blog about my sabbatical – I promise. It was really fantastic to spend a week with my bro in law Andy, to get to know Jenny, his wonderful fiance, a bit better and to meet some of his gang in London and see what he was up to. I really enjoyed church.co.uk and getting a flavour of the missional stuff the guys are trying to do in centre of the city and to see Andy in action with the Christian Socialist Movement. I got a brief tour of Portcullis House and the Houses of Parliament.
For old times sake we even took in an Andy Flannagan gig in a place called Burgess Hill, about 6 miles north of Brighton. The gig was organised by Burgess Hill Fairtrade group as part of a Fairtrade and Freedom Festival during Fairtrade fortnight (not easy to say, never mind read). The gig featured Andy alongside Gareth Davies-Jones (orginally from Bangor, Co Down), Julie Hall and Rob Halligan. It was a good nights entertainment.
There was no end to the sporting options with Andy introducing me to ‘Top Golf’, ‘Urban Golf’, Saturday morning touch rugby on Wandsworth Common, and then cycling 26km around Richmond park.
Truly an event packed week! Thanks Andy for the good times and the camp bed!
In 2004 the Conference of the British Methodist Church decided to appoint a ‘Music Resource Group’ (MRG) to look at publishing a supplement for Hymns and Psalms. By 2007 the MRG / Conference and Methodist Publishing House decided that a supplement was not practical and that a completely new resource should be published with a rolling update resource online. Historically the Methodist Church in Ireland has been invited by the British Church to send a representative to join the particular group planning for such worship resources, not that the Methodist Church in Ireland will necessarily adopt the resource, that is up to the Conference to decide. The invitation came following the British Conference of 2008 and I was appointed by the Irish Faith and Order Committee in the Autumn of 2008. During my Sabbatical I have begun to attend the MRG meetings. This has been a real privilege, not to mention a real eye opener! The group are pretty far through their work, but there is lots of work and numerous issues/hurdles still to be overcome. It has been great to meet a group of people who, though, they may have different perspectives are 100% committed to producing the best possible resource for the worshipping church. I suppose the big challenge is the amount of ‘flak’ that seems to fly round in all directions whenever you open up a debate on the issue of worship and music…. after all everyone has their favourite, hymns, psalms and spiritual songs. The MRG in its wisdom had decided to publish a list of songs for the resource and ask for feedback and has received numerous responses, some positive, others negative. The focus now is on ‘finishing the job’ and no doubt when we get there many may not be happy… but hey.. that’s church. We are trying to produce a practical, publishable, usable resource, which reflects Methodist doctrine and the best of modern hymns and contemporary songs that are already in use in many of our churches. No easy task, prayer needed!
Spending a couple of days on the north coast during Easter Week, hastily organised by my darling wife. She landed in a very cost friendly apartment right behind Portstewart promenade – absolutely fantastic… if I wanted to buy it apparently it would cost me £350k!!! Anyway we have had lots of family fun, Hannah loves Barry’s and sandcastles! We have been to the Causeway again and play parks aplenty, not to mention 10 pin bowling at Waterworld. We decided to try the Ramore Wine Bar for tea last night, not realising the kind of rugby scrum we were getting into! Good job for us the Watson’s were near the head of the queue and they got a table that we were able to join them at… it was great to catch up, oh and fantastic food too. It has been good to get a couple of quiet days after the busyness of Holy Week. Having just started back after Sabbatical I felt a little like a ‘rabbit in headlights’!
Learning to ski was definitely one of the highlights of my three months. As outlined in a previous blog… the thrill of learning to do something completely new was fabulous. I promised my partner in crime that I would stick up some of this pics… so here goes:
One of my personal objectives during my Sabbatical was to reflect on my impending appointment as Methodist Chaplain to Queen’s University Belfast. I have been involved in various conversations since last September regarding future co-operation with the Anglican chaplaincy and there were a couple meetings in relation to this during these three months. However my sabbatical also gave me the opportunity to meet some chaplains from different universities in England from a number of different denominational backgrounds. I met up with the co-ordinator for Higher Chaplaincy in the Methodist Church in Britain and he put into context for me the kind of circumstances many Chaplains are working in today, in a multicultural and multi-faith environment. I attended a Churches Higher Education Liaison Group (CHELG) day conference in King’s College London with Pete Ward (of ‘Liquid Church’ fame) as the main speaker reflecting on Discipleship in a University context. It was a real privilege to hear Pete share his wisdom and I really enjoyed meeting the guys working in various settings across England. The issue that I found very challenging about the day centered on whether chaplains were in a position to share the name of Jesus directly with students. Many students are exploring spirituality, it’s high on the agenda, but there seemed to be a fair division of opinion on whether it was right to ‘name’ Jesus in relation to those spiritual experiences. To name Jesus might be seen as being in some way exclusive. Now, I want to be the kind of person who respects other people and am very willing to respect the fact that they might not share my particular views, and indeed to respect their spirituality… but Jesus called me to follow him, to serve him and to speak of him when ever I can and wherever I am.
I also had the opportunity to meet a couple of guys working as ‘student co-ordinator’s’ in large inner city churches. It was very interesting to compare what they were trying to do in terms of gathering students and student discipleship with the approach of some of the chaplains I met. Plenty of food for thought!
Ok, so it’s all over! Only seven years to go until the next one. March has been really busy, so I haven’t blogged, but I promise over the next couple of weeks, despite the crazy Easter schedule, to write a few blogs by way of reporting on my Sabbatical. Some of you will immediately see through this cos you know I have to write a report for the Methodist Church in Ireland’s Sabbatical committee, and in so doing I will receive the second half of my Sabbatical grant! I thought I may as well share my ‘report’ with others!
On the sheer entertainment front of my sabbatical I managed to find over 190 geocaches in my three months. (I know that’s sad). This included finds in Tenerife, Bulgaria, Moss side in Manchester and central London. I really enjoyed the walking and exploring some new places. I managed to make my brother in law and an old uni mate very excited about geocaching and have possibly caused my youth worker to become addicted as well.
The other really entertaining part of my sabbatical was learning how to ski. I wasn’t sure that I would enjoy the experience, but I really did, to the point of wondering why I had never done this before! I can’t wait to go back again!
I promise to put up some pics in the next few days, and I will be blogging on my experiences in preparing for Queen’s and with the Music Resources Group.
Of course, I also did a fair bit of reading, completely all the required reading for the Arrow course and a couple of other books in addition to those, and I got my Arrow assignments done.
Beyond these blogs, I intend to keep on going… but you never know!
Still in one piece, after four days on the slopes. Managed a blue run today with my instructor and a couple of others in our class. Really have enjoyed the whole experience… learning a skill, proving to yourself that it is possible to do something new and succeed. I have to admit that prior to leaving and at the start of the week I was really was not that sure if this was a good idea… but it has been fabulous.
I have been reading Bill Hybels book ‘Axiom’ which is series of seventy six short chapters, each with a very specific point about leadership… they are ‘leadership proverbs’. Would definitely recommend this to anyone with any degree of leadership responsibility. Very readable and easily applicable. Similar to the skiing, taking on board and learning more about just some of the points Bill makes could make a tremendous difference to your leadership skills and more importantly make life easier for those that you are supposed to be leading.