Living in a Field of Hats

some ramblings and reflections on working with students in Herts and Beds.

Time for home . . . December 19, 2008

Filed under: Update — Sarah @ 10:13 pm

So, I am now completly stuffed with turkey after an amazing church Christmas dinner (which now I’m in the south happens in an evening . . . weird!) but we’ve also had the last nativity rehearsal (mayhem) which means that I go home very soon! 2 days and counting!! It will be really nice to be home for just over a week and just relax.

Although I must admit that I think I will miss Southend people! Who’d’ve thought I’d say that when I was stressing about coming down here in August!


Christmas is all around December 17, 2008

The Christmas season is in full swing now at Ferndale, although I did manage to avoid the decorations going up until last week! Christmas for me this year seemed to start at the end of November with the Girls Brigade Christmas parties – 2 parties in one evening, and it was suprisingly enjoyable! Last week however, felt more Christmassy with the start of the many carol services I shall be attending this year!

pict2214The first was the Women’s Institute Carol Service & Christmas Party, hosted by Ferndale WI and for WI’s in Southend. I was speaking at the service and was strangely calm until I saw the 50 women piling into the church – there was a lot more than I had thought in my head and suddenly got very scared about preaching the gospel to all these women – most of whom I had never met before. Especially as I had decided not to go with the traditional talk relating to the Nativity but to go for Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”. It was linked to Christmas as you’d expect – by a cracker with the verse inside it which we pulled at the start. I think it was the first time I’ve ever given a talk and seen peoples face change from just listening to being really offended which I found quite hard!

I also ended up redoing the talk at a youth group in Basildon that evening which was a very dfferent experience! I’d never given a talk to such a large group of youth before which was quite scary as I really didn’t expect them to start answering rhetorical questions during my talk!!

My second talk was for Gold Club (the over 50’s group) for which I rewrote a  talk (Isaiah 9:6-7) I had given at my first BEC (Biblical Evangelism Conference) way back in my 2nd year of Uni. It was100_3294_thumb1 a real encouragement for me to go back to that talk and be able to make changes to it and see how my understanding has grown in the past three years!  As well as the fact that I remember thinking that I would never be able to actually give a talk in a real life context! I really do love Gold Club as well – so encouraging to see such a varied group of people! (see pictured right with us playing Christmas music for them)

We’ve also had the mums and tots christmas party (above) and the Womens Fellowship christmas party both of which have been amazing. It’s great to see how much I have gotten to know people in the past four months.

The only Christmas events I have left are the nativity (which I  will be glad when it’s over!), Girls Brigade Christmas Play, YMCA Christingle Service, Carols on Cluny Square and carols by candlelight which I am really looking forward, then 6.40am on Monday it’s off home for a rest! So exciting!


Grace December 15, 2008

Filed under: Christian Life — Sarah @ 5:21 pm

There’s been a few times over the last week or so when I’ve forgotten just how amazing grace is. Knowing that because of the cross, God fully accepts me for who I am knowing that I am sinful and do still ignore him and don’t deserve it at all. I remember at Relay 3, Mo saying that grace is slippery and as soon as you think you have got it, it slips through your fingers again. That is so true! There’s been times where I’ve not treated other people with grace at all, times I’ve not been treated with grace by others, and I’ve then not treated them with grace back and so on! But, the thing I’ve done the most is not apply grace to me. By thinking what I’ve done is so awful God doesn’t want anything to do with me. That is so not true – the cross covers EVERYTHING and I was reminded of that by this picture in Ferndale. The only thing is, it should say “unending chance” instead of “second chance”!




Filed under: Christian Life,Update — Sarah @ 4:45 pm
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full minibusSo. this has taken a while to come, but as most of you will know I was in Germany in November with a minibus full of people from Ferndale for a weekend trip o support Rudi and Doreen at their inductin service at their church in Wesel. A total of 18 hours in a minibus with a group of people is a definite bonding experience!

We left nice and early on Saturday morning (8.42 am as I was ‘late’ although being told 8.30am for 9am justifies me I think!). The journey to Wesel was quite uneventful . . .amazingly suprising to say we weren’t in the minibus we were meant to be in because it wouldn’t start in the morning! Ron was as prepared as ever with his jumpstart kit (showing the faith he had in the replacement bus!)pict20051

Arriving in Wesel we saw a smattering of snow that had fallen the previous night which was uber exciting (for me anyway!) We all had dinner at Rudi & Doreens new flat and had the most amazing soup I have had in my life. It was clear that Rudi and Doreen had both been missing one the most exciting things in Southend – The 99p Shop! Rudi loved his ‘Rudi theReindeer’ chocolates from said shop and Doreen was extremly excited by . . . . . .the carrier bag!!


We all pict20492 had host families for the night who all had varied amounts of English . . though most ofthem said that they could only speak ‘a little’ and actually were basically fluent! I stayed with a lovely family who all spoke fluent English and it was lovely! However, it did take Jane & Bob and our hosts Utta & Karl a good hour to realise that they had met before!

Sunday morning was church and we were told we needed to leave at 9.30 am for a 10am service so we though it must be a little bit of a walk but after a whole day on a minibus that seemed nice . . .9.34am we arrived at church! 9.58am we were all sat down in our seats listening to some organ music. 10am precisely the service started! German Effeciency! No Ferndale time over there (for those who aren’t aware of Ferndale time, it’s basically that you add ten minutes at least to whatever time you’ve been told).

pict2078The service was lovely and all translated which helped (as my German isn’t that good!) although  Wilhelm (sat next to me) thought I was German because I was singing so well in German!! We were treated to the most amazing church family lunch i have ever seen in my life – the poshest tables for sure.

Then the journey back . . .now I would like to clarify that I DID NOT pray for snow at all during this weekend but A Belgian Service station inpict21481 the snowI may have mentioned how exciting snow would be, and even (jokingly) said to people ‘lets pray for snow’! Hmmm . . .well we got snow! So much that we missed our chunnel back – oops! But morale was very high on the bus the entire time (admittedly I was like an over excited 6 year old for most of it).

We had 2 hours to wait in Calais for the train, and you can see that we made good use of our time by buying lots of wine! So, a good time was had by all!



My typical week . . . . December 8, 2008

Filed under: Church,Random — Sarah @ 9:00 am
Tags: ,

This is what Jon and I wrote for ‘Ferndale in Focus’ about our typical week. Now, not all of this has happened in just one week but all the events are completly true! Enjoy!

An Intern’s job description
For any of you who wonder what we do all week, or have heard we spend all our time on the internet, we thought we would give a guide to a typical week* in the life of an intern at Ferndale. This has been made anonymous, but mainly so you can try and guess who is who!

Morning: Get to church and get out the orders of service – which contain at least one (deliberate) mistake – to be given out. The minister’s wife and son arrive at 10.20 and begin to rehearse the songs for the morning. Intern 1 gets asked at 10.25 to photocopy materials for Sunday school. Intern 1 returns with the photocopies and then is immediately asked to go back and photocopy a large-print version of the order of service. The service begins eventually. Deacon 1 gets up to do the children’s talk and keeps everyone’s attention by waving his arms around like a whirling dervish. Contrary to what is on the rota, intern 1 gives the reading and intern 2 leads the prayers. When it comes to the time when the children go out, one of the children has fallen asleep on the lap of intern 2 and they have to carry them out, by which time they have perked up and proceed to run around. The service ends and everyone comes out for teas and coffees. Chatting continues for several hours and the children take it in turns to harass the 2 interns about getting the pool cues out.

Lunch: Round to the house of the minister’s mother-in-law for a lovely meal. We sit down to lunch and the minister asks whether there was any Swede. The minister’s mother-in-law rushes back to the microwave to recover the vegetables. Pudding is ice cream and intern 2 finds a piece glass. The minister’s mother-in-law looks horrified and writes a letter to the offending supermarket.

Afternoon: Watch several episodes of a programme which involves a group of strangers cooking for each other. Having nearly fallen asleep on the sofa, it is time to go out…

Evening: Arrive late to bible study, but are awoken by the rousing singing from the Ferndale Song Supplement. The minister takes the study, a lively discussion follows. More chatting follows, eventually leave around 8.30

And there was evening and there was morning – the first day.

Morning: Get up early at 8.50am and stroll round to church for prayers at 9 only to find the minister off somewhere and intern 1 isn’t in either so end up praying alone. Deacon 1 comes in (as indicated by the sound of a minibus pulling up outside) and asks “did I hear the kettle?” Make deacon 1 a black coffee. Shortly after intern 2 goes off to meet a bishop from some denomination or other at a varied location whilst intern 1 and the minister go round to an elderly lady’s house and begin moving furniture. Intern 2 arrives back just as the minister suggests we need an energy boost so…

Lunch: the team goes out to the White Horse and discuss deep theological issues *ahem*!

Afternoon: Back to the house with reinforcements (but minus the minister as he is making phone calls) to work out how to move a big sofa upstairs and a single bed downstairs. First though, everything else needs moving …… Minister eventually arrives, gets a shopping list and leaves again. Intern 1 is to be found lying on the sofa going through months of paper work and intern 2 is making the bed up! Intern 2 sent out for milk and bread, intern 1 is now playing on the recliner chair! Help the lady into bed to read and leave.

And there was evening and there was morning – the second day.

Morning: prayers with the whole team (!) and a staff meeting at 9.30 which eventually begins around 10.30 after minister answering the phone several times, including a wrong number 3 times(!) and visits from several members. Tidying of the downstairs office follows, throwing out various interesting trinkets. The sound of deacon 1 minibus pulling up is heard. He has a meeting with the local police officer and offers the services of intern 1 to make the tea.

Lunch: consists of cake and cup a soup on the go as intern 2 goes round to see how the elderly lady is getting on.

Afternoon: The minister is off on visits and there is some sense of peace as the interns get to spend some time in the office for the first time in the week. Intern 1 works on preparing a bible study but is soon distracted by making a flyer for an event and then talking in German to former intern’s wife. Intern 2 catches up with various other bits and pieces including ordering the paper on which this is printed. Office help comes into look through the church archives and finds various interesting stories relating to deacon 1. All the team come to hear them and have a chuckle.

And there was evening and there was morning – the third day.

Intern 2 doesn’t see intern 1 all days, who knows where they are but hears a rumours they’ve been banned from Southend library.

Lunch: Intern 2 goes to meeting with buffet provided at the Plaza Centre, which is delicious.

Afternoon: it is getting close to time to go home and intern 2 hasn’t seen deacon 1 all day. As intern 2 gets ready to go home deacon 1 arrives with plants that need putting in the church.

And there was evening and there was morning – The fourth day.

Morning: At prayers one of the members points out the many unpronounceable names in the bible reading. After prayers the minister and 2 interns go round to school for assembly. Minister does a demonstration using flags.

Lunch: The minister has a meeting with other church leaders. The interns take the orders for teas and coffees and make them. Have a few sandwiches left over from the meeting.

Afternoon: intern 2 is working on a project to which they were volunteered by deacon 1. Deacons 2 & 3 arrive to restock the paper towels, which have all mysteriously disappeared again. The minister has been at Asda and brings back various goodies to enjoy.

And there was evening and there was morning – the fifth day.

Morning: The minister’s wife and deacon 1 arrive to prayers 5 minutes late walking in at precisely the same moment. Mums and Tots is in full swing and the interns are getting plenty of cups of tea and biscuits. They also get their weekly food parcel from one of the members. The information for putting together the order of service for Sunday arrives nice and early at 11am. Intern 2 puts it together as intern 1 is still claiming they don’t know how to do it.

Lunch: Goodies from the food parcel

Afternoon: Café Gold goes ahead, more cups of tea and cakes. Deacon 1 arrives just in time for coffee and then informs the interns that he needs something doing for Sunday. A mad rush follows to finish it all before going home

And there was evening and there was morning – the sixth day

By the seventh day the interns had finished the work they had been doing; so on the seventh day they rested from all their work – unless there was a Sunday school meeting, or a Girls Brigade outing, in which case they did not.

*The week also includes making an average of 25 cups of tea for ourselves, plus quite a few for others and on average 3 visits every day from various people into the office.


Guest Writer – Sheridan Laverick December 4, 2008

Filed under: Random — Sarah @ 6:14 pm

hello there,

im sheridan x

lol i am writeing somthing on sarah blog

A message from Sheridan!

hello people that read sarahs blog x

i have just been becam a christain and its very exciting x

we and sarah do our bible studying together x