Month: October 2014

Helping People to be The Best

We live in a world that is constantly looking at productivity.  How can we as a society extract more productivity out of our employees?  How can we micromanage people so that they are good little units of production?  Our education system is gear up towards it.  Our government is reducing the creativity and increasing the productivity.  It’s not all work, work, work.

This is Paul Reed Smith.  He is the founder of PRS Guitars.  They are possibly the most desirable guitars on the planet.  Possibly because everyone has personal preferences.  The whole clip is about how to create something wonderful.  But from 8mins 50seconds (where it should have started when you clicked it) he outlines his company’s ethics.  He outlines how to get the best out of people working there – Collaboration, value and investing in people. 

In most of our workplaces we have lost sight of the value that is placed in the people who form the company.  Everything can be boiled down to a simple equation with profit as the key value.  Ultimately, productivity is not optimised through coercion and the threat of punitive measures.  As Mr Smith says, “I don’t want to restrict what they need to do as artists otherwise really gifted people won’t stay?”.

So how can we think about this as a wider issue, and how can we think about it as a Church (TM)?

Being the Person You Want Around You

Today, I’m in the middle of leading group sessions as part of the Year 7 retreat programme in a large Church of England secondary school. The children and youth department from WYAD hand me the activity and then it evolves as the day proceeds.

With groups of ten pupils we started exploring the changes in the friends we now that we have moved to a much larger secondary school. How do we make new friends in a bigger context?  With a flip chart on the table we “brainstormed” (he’s said it now!) what qualities we look for in a friend, a best friend, a bestie, a bezel.


Using balsa wood people from Baker Ross we then went from the archetype (yes we learned a key word) to our own individual desires by writing the qualities we are looking.

For a plenary (see, I was a teacher don’t you know) we looked at our person and assessed the qualities we were looking for.  Then I asked the pupils if they were able to step up to the challenge and be those people they wanted to have as friends.  “Can we be those people for others”?  Can we be the “honest, caring, kind, funny… ” people we are looking for in the world.

The whole theme of the retreat was “The Light of the World” and this was one of many activities during the day.  Later, when we returned together as the larger group we prayed together.  I invited the pupils to pull out the wooden dudes they had decorated and think about what they had written.  We prayed together that we may become those people who are a light in the world.  We prayed that we would develop those good qualities we were looking for in others.  We prayed that we would go and be the light of the world.

And then I blessed them.

The children and youth department at WYAD are great with resourcing parishes.  They could do with an online presence where you can download resources they make available.

New Song – In the Beginning

Those of you who have had to listen to me pontificate about church music for any length of time will have heard me lament, quality or music, quality of lyrics, lack of scriptures and theological statements in modern music.  You will have no doubt also heard me groan at the mention of most Christmas music for counterproductive and often contradictory to the the faith.

When an email arrived this morning from Resound Worship promising Christmas music, I admit I was skeptical.  I was delighted to find this wonderful song resetting John Chapter 1 as congregational worship.  It comes complete with everything you need as musicians to make it your own.


Bless The Lord

Fr Simon has put together a new video. Anyone from Holy Nativity, spoiler alert.