Becoming a Methodist

In September 2013 I asked my Twitter followers whether anyone knew of any space for a cartoonist to work. I had this reply, among others:

A few days later I met Juliet and went to see a room at New Road Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, conveniently located fifteen minutes (plus a bit of walking) down the railway line from where I live. A bit of church vestry conversion was undertaken, and I started working in a studio at what was to become known as The Fishermen’s Chapel.

I became more involved, becoming part of a steering group whose role was to see the building develop as an arts venue at the same time as being an active church. We now have all manner of events taking place: concerts, a monthly gospel service, choir rehearsals, art displays, yarnbombing, craft fairs, and family lantern-making events, to name a few. I’ve really enjoyed working with this small team of really very gifted people. When there’s not many of you it feels as if your contribution can make a definite difference. (If you’re local and reading this: do join us!)

Being small in number makes it easier to get to know everyone, and I’ve felt incredibly welcomed. I like the model of church: rather than running huge numbers of activities ourselves and trying to persuade people to come along, we’ve invited the community into the building to do whatever it is they’d like to do. It seems to work.

In all these goings-on I’ve never actually quite got around to joining what is now my church. So I’m becoming a member on Sunday morning. I hadn’t really foreseen myself becoming a part of the Methodist Church it must be said, but this is the place that I’ve felt at home, so here I am.

Do come along if you’re within reach and don’t have to be somewhere else. The service is at 11. It will be a fairly standard Methodist service, with no bells, smells or whistles. The membership bit is a few lines of liturgy and (apparently) some shaking of hands. I’ll say a few words at some point and there will be coffee and quite possibly cake afterwards. You’d be most welcome.

A note about accessibility: the Chapel is upstairs, built into the cliff. If you’d like to come along but this is a problem for you (the stairs bit) please contact me.

The PCC Member’s Essential Guide

It is the time of year when people are thinking about Parochial Church Councils, and could do with some help, perhaps in the form of a handy book.

I did a cover illustration for The PCC Member’s Essential Guide by Mark Tanner, and the image has been turned into an animation. See the video above. It isn’t often that I get animated, so enjoy it while you can.

If you’re a new Parochial Church Council member, or an old one who’d like a guide to your role, this book could well be for you. Available from Church House Publishing.


Choir cartoon: Minor misdemeanours, etc

Choir cartoon

Happy New Year (belated) everyone.

I’m back on the blog, and contrary to appearances have great things planned for the blog in 2016. Well, that’s the plan anyway.

To kick things off here’s a new-to-the-internet addition to The Choir. You can find it here if you’d like to use it in your church magazine and suchlike.

Coming very soon: a competition and cartoon memorabilia giveaway! (Exclamation mark intentional)

A Ugandan church service

Today we went to the church in Ogongora for the final time to join the people for a church service.

The singing was amazing. I have posted a video (which may or may not work) which I hope gives an impression, but in summary it was full of joy and life. This is not something I am used to. [Aside: we were told it was OK to use cameras in the service. Wouldn’t normally do so…]

I’m not going to pretend I followed every word of the sermon, but one part of it was all about ‘borrowed things’, based on 2 Kings 6, Elisha and the axe. From my notebook: ‘Think of the things you have – are they yours? … Whatever God has given you – use it carefully’.

(This is the nearest thing you will find to a sermon on this blog, so if you come here for sermons make the most of it.)

Bible reading

There were other elements to the service – prayers, testimonies, Bible readings, (above) and whenever there was a gap another song was sung, each time seemly led by a different person without any (obvious) pre-planning. I really enjoyed participating, which is odd as I don’t really enjoy church services with overt displays of enthusiasm, clapping, etc, back home. I can’t really explain this.

All being well I’ll be back later with today’s blog posting, part II.

The lapsed church website editor

church website

Today our church Twitter account was updated for the first time since circa 2011. Yes, I am a lapsed church website editor. Also today we decided that we would not really use Twitter any more, because no one really looks at it. This is nothing to do with the fact that it has not been updated since 2011. The account will still be there, but it will be automated and lose its prime front-page-of-website status to a calendar so people know what is going on. Why people want to know what is going on is beyond me, but them I am a lapsed church website editor and so not the best person to express an opinion.

I am going to try and do better in 2013. It isn’t easy being a church website editor, because the fact that you know about websites probably means that you look after other websites and therefore have a lot to do. So, church website editors, we salute you.

150 years of the Church Times

church times 150

This is a very small extract from my fairly large cartoon in tomorrow’s 150 year anniversary issue of the Church Times. The paper was first published on 7 February 1863, 150 years ago today.

Ironically a large edition of the paper means that I have very little time to write about it (today being web press day), but it must be said that I would not be cartooning for (part of) my living and this website would not exist without the Church Times. In fact, I don’t know of any other publication of a comparable size / readership in the UK that gives as much space to cartoonists – there’s at least four cartoons in most issues. So thank you, both to them and to those who subscribe, thereby keeping us going.

You can see the full cartoon, a photograph of me pretending to have a teabreak, and all sorts of historical and informative articles about the last 150 years in tomorrow’s paper. There’s a press release about various ways the anniversary is being celebrated here. There’s also a hashtag on Twitter (CT150th) for the posting of related tweets – please join in.

Update: I can’t post the cartoon from the paper I’m afraid, but here are some pictures of the office, including the cartoonist having a tea break and then looking serious / apprehensive. Click the ‘slideshow’ link.

Cartoon: The church café

Today’s cartoon is The church café, once again taken from book 3, ‘The exciting world of churchgoing’ (info on books here). See this page on the main CartoonChurch site for the high resolution version and information about reusing.

Well, that’s five cartoons this week. I’ll be back with another batch of five from the middle of next week.