Monday, February 11, 2008

Many faces of mission

My technology obsession takes me into some interesting places - boldly going where not many Vicars have gone before. I had a phone call today from Mark Crook the editor of the website Podcast Nation a database of British podcasts, asking me if I'd like to have the Lent Talks listed there. Apparently I one of only six or seven clerics in the UK doing this at the moment. He also gently pointed out that it wasn't a proper podcast, only a downloadable audio file unless it was available via an RSS feed, and promised to send me instructions about how to set that up.

Also there was an email from the editorial team of BBC Wales' Mousemat 'tech programme, asking if I'd do an interview on Thursday. I thought to myself, I'd better get hooked up to this RSS mularkey pretty quick, or else expose myself for being the bumbling amateur I really am. Mind you, when people look at the church website, they can tell (if they're under 35), because it's so information rich and style poor. Like a ramshackle house with character, or a Greek villageI like to think. It does what it's meant to do, except that some of the pages don't display prettily in every browser. Apart from that, it works. It just needs a massive overhaul. I need to learn some of the new publishing technologies, but I never have the time. In fact, failing to set up an RSS feed kept my glued to the computer till well after midnight. How stupid can you get?

Back on parochial ground, I had the pleasure this evening of attending the AGM of St Teilo Arts Trust, which, after six years of operation can finally see an end to the adaptation and renovation work on St Teilo's church, to make it suitable as a concert and rehearsal venue. When I think back to my early involvement with the church, to the time when the architect did a 'runner' in mid-project - all the problems with contractors, and funding sponsors chasing progress that was, at that moment, un-achievable. Yet, the place kept being used for concerts, earning good revenue, that finally enabled all the work to be done, and the building to be compliant with regulations for public use. It's a huge achievement for a few dedicated, patient people, and especially Chris Berry and his wife Rosie. Now that the original first year redevelopment phase is over, the trustees are looking forward to making their own plans to optimise a superb local community asset.

If this project had been in the hands of anyone other than a handful of committed Christians, it would have died the death, probably with ensuing scandal and lawsuits four years ago. But the applied vision and determination of those committed to giving the church a relevant opportunity to serve the city and the student community has actually produced an exemplary piece of missionary enterprise. I feel very proud to have accompanied their journey over the past five years.

No comments: