From Before You Were Four.

Who remembers when I was tweeting about “Little Sofa” being born? Well… today she is four years old! Four! She is growing from a toddler to a preschooler to an actual little person within a blink of an eye. Time seems to be rushing forward, and before I know it she’ll be going to big school and everything!

Taking inspiration from Al over The Dad Network I thought I would blog a list of things that my daughter (probably) wouldn’t remember, but I would.

Instead, I figured I would take a photo of my notes (seen above), and save the notebook on a shelf somewhere.

So Little One… Here are a collection of memories from before you were 4. 

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(Post also featured on Dads Sofa)

The Church Sofa 5th Birthday Self – Indulgent List of Stuff

20131116-231203.jpgIts been 5 years! 5 years since The Church Sofa had its first blog post. I’m not sure what this really means, but I feel we’re ready to go to first school now… Does that mean that Sofa is growing up?

I’ll ponder that for a while, in the mean time, I’ll leave you with the Annual Self – Indulgent List of Stuff… in other words a list of our most popular posts /pages from the last 5 years:

  1. Guide to Raising Hands in Church.
  2. The Church Sofa Guide to Church.
  3. Introducing “God Baby”.
  4. Christian Chat Up Lines.
  5. Ten Christian Insults to Consider
  6. Ten Ways to Misbehave at A Christian Festival.
  7. Do you need a spare vicar?
  8. Things Jesus Never Said.
  9. What Christian Denomination Should You Be Part Of?
  10. How kids disrupt Church Services (A Guide Through The Ages)

Thank you for your support over the last 5 years. I’m going to go and practice behaving like a 5 year old…

Anything you’d want to see more of over the next 5 years?

Share The Hope

Share The Hope

Can I introduce you to Jules Middleton, who describes herself as someone who is a Jesus lover // Wife // Mum // Ordinand // Work for The Point Church, Sussex. Trying to do the right thing by the right One… often failing but still trying.. I’ve asked Jules to give us a few words about a project she’s involved in called “Share The Hope“:

So I don’t know about you, but for years I only associated Advent with calendars and of course, chocolate.

To be honest not much has changed in my house as now it’s the kids who delight in the fact that December is the only time, ever, when they can eat chocolate before breakfast. Then of course there are the incessant tinny carols gracing the High Street from about October onwards, the trees going up, the enormous food bills, the planning on what to do with Granny on Christmas Day and wondering if Great Auntie Edith will make it through dinner without falling asleep in her slightly mushy sprouts… Let’s face it, this time of year we can all get a little bit crazy.

December can be such a busy month with all the Christmas preparation, but the season of Advent is really about hope, so last year we wanted to see if we could do something to ‘reclaim advent’ and we came up with Share the Hope. Share the Hope is essentially, an online advent calendar (without the chocolate, sadly) that aims to encourage people to think about that message of hope in amongst the busyness, and to share it with their friends.

This year Share the Hope is back for the second year and we’d love you to be part of it too. Each day the STH team will be publishing a little bit of hope, including a reflection, a bit of the Christmas story and something for people to share with those around them. There’s a whole new range of contributions for 2014, from people all over the country, from different parts of the church, of all ages and lots of different backgrounds, including an Arts Chaplain, an International blogger, Charity director and the Bishop of Lewes to name just a few. We’d love you to sign up to get some daily hope but then also to share that hope with those around you.

To find out more or to sign up visit:
www.sharethehopeuk.wordpress.com// or find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Sharethehopeuk and Twitter: @sharethehopeuk

Can we ask a favour?

rensladeTomorrow, Mrs “Adventure” Sofa is going to be abseiling down Renslade House, one of the tallest buildings in Exeter (Pictured).

Now, this would be a crazy thing to do on most days, and its still a crazy thing to do tomorrow, so why is she doing this?

Mrs Sofa is undertaking this abseil to raise money for the Exeter YMCA, and the work done to help vulnerable young people from Exeter, and around Devon.

So, we were wondering.

Would you be able to help Mrs Sofa raise money for the Exeter YMCA? If you felt able to give even a bit of money to help homeless young people this Christmas, please check out her sponsorship page at justgiving.com.

Thank you!

Who Am I? : An open letter to female clergy in the Church of England

Unless you’ve had your head in the Sunday school sand pit, there may have been some church related news over the last week, in that the Church of England synod debated changing the rules over the question of Women Bishops… and decided not to.

Well in the light of this, I’m please to present an open letter from Lorraine, to female clergy in the Church of England

I have spent most of my life very confused about who I am. You see, my natural talents,
giftings you might call them, do not conform to what others believe they should be.

At the age of seven, when one of my classmates answered a question wrongly during an
assembly, the headmaster remarked that “Girls are not very good at maths”, allowing about
200 boys to laugh at her. The remark was puzzling, because I knew maths was my strongest
and favourite subject. Was I not really a girl then? By the age of eleven, that same man had
included me in the handful of pupils he considered gifted enough to have extra lessons in
mental arithmetic techniques, because “they would have fun doing it”! Had I changed? No.
In the intervening time, he had recognised those talents, and sought to nurture them,
despite my being “just a girl”.By the time I left secondary education I had four good A levels
Maths, Further Maths, Physics, and Chemistry – oh, and S level Maths too.

At the age of eighteen, my father told me that he didn’t understand why I was applying for
university, because: it would be a waste as I would get married and stay at home; and, girls
that did degrees couldn’t cope and burnt out. I worshipped the ground my father stood on,
so was dismayed. Did I really have no other future? I had no idea what I wanted to do, but
knew I hadn’t reached my potential yet. Choosing what to study and where was tricky;
there was no-one in my family with experience to advise me, and it was made all the harder
by the nagging doubt that my father might be right. Possibly the most poignant memory I
have of my father is his tears of pride at my Graduation.

At the age of seventeen, careers advisers dismissed engineering as an option, despite my
skill-set, “because it’s dirty, and un-ladylike, dear, and you will find it hard to get a job”, i.e.
nice girls don’t do engineering, and even if they do, no-one will take them seriously. So
what was it to be: Maths or Physics? I liked both. Astronomy/Astrophysics used both, but
the post-grad job market was extremely small and very competitive. Engineering used both,
and appeared to have good job prospects, questions of gender aside. So could I be an
Engineer and female? At the age of twenty-five, having graduated with an upper-second in
Engineering, and having been employed nearly four years at an industry’s research centre
learning my profession, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers saw fit to make me a
Corporate Member, and consequently I became Chartered.

While people were telling me what I could and could not be, to the point that I didn’t know
who I was, I was slowly developing according to my talents – despite what other people
thought, said and did. Sometimes, they changed their minds as a result.What if my natural talents,
“God-given” you might say, had lain in helping people to discover that there is a God who loves them?
What if I were a good listener, and that same God of love had a habit of working through me
to heal their inmost hurts? What if I could explain the Christian faith to people in a language
they could understand? What if I had a knack of keeping people of different viewpoints together,
encouraging them when times got tough, restoring them when they strayed? At the same time that
I was being told I was “just a girl”, that “girls can’t do maths”, that “girls burn out if they
have higher education”, that “women in engineering are only good enough to make the tea and look
pretty on recruitment brochures”, other girls who felt called to the Ministry were being
laughed at “because only men can be ordained”. Those just a few years older than me, if
they pushed (because they had no choice – it was after all who they were), became deaconesses
– to be shunted off with the laity while the Clergy considered what was best for them. In
part, this has been remedied – many now serve the church as priests…

Today I cried for my sisters-in-Christ.

However, it is my strongly held view that the God of Love, who sent his Son to redeem a
fallen world, and who works mightily by His Spirit through the hearts and hands of those
who love Him, will not let today be the end of the story, any more than Good Friday was.
That same God has a habit of changing people from the inside, restoring them to His
likeness, conforming them to His plan – frequently through their own actions to the contrary
(eg. Jonah and Paul)! My sisters, please hold on to who you are in Him; no-one can take
that away from you, even if they deny you the means to express it. Allow Him to continue
to nurture you. Continue to do things His way. The miracle will happen.

In any case, Synod have only said “Not this way”. Who is to say that God does not have
better in store?

But then, what do I know? I’m an Engineer, not a Theologian; and when all’s said and done,
I’m “just a girl”.

Lorraine

What do you think?