Living in a Field of Hats

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

Sunny Days May 20, 2010

Filed under: Christian Life — Sarah @ 2:38 pm
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So, I unexpectedly ended up with a couple of free hours yesterday afternoon so made the most of it by heading to by favourite spot in my favourite park to read one of the many books that’s been stacking up on my “to read” list.

The lucky book to make it off the list was “Why good arguments often fail” by James Sire. Now this is a book that I would probably never have chosen to read of my own free will thinking it looked quite dull and boring (I even had another book with me in case it was!). It wasn’t! I’m only 50 pages in at the moment but I am loving it.

He looks at the arguments that Christians and non Christians often put up for and against faith and doesn’t just dispell the truth or lie behnd each indiviual statement but looks at the underlying logic. It’s great and really thought provoking – if you’ve got time this summer give it a read!

Overall a feeling of joy that its warm enough to be outside reading, but sadness that I’ve got limited time left to hang out in my fave place!


A long awaited update! May 22, 2009

Filed under: Update — Sarah @ 10:02 pm
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So, it’s been nearly a month since I actually posted anything on here . . . . that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been doing anything! There’s been a few things I’ve thought I should blog about but it’s never happened!! but here’s a few . . .

1) the Church cafe in Cluny Square has finally been opened which has been brilliant and has very much changed what my “average” day looks like! Carolyne has been doing most of the work but I’ve been able to help a bit over busy periods (time at McDonald’s really has equipped me for something!! woop!) but actually it’s been really easy to just chat to people and get to know them a bit, especially the regulars, some of who are being really open and friendly o talk to someone which is great – – feeling like I’m actually becoming part of the community!

2) Schools . . . . I had the “I don’t want to go to school” Monday Morning feeling this week! I started as a performance coach (encouraging year 10 students to stay on at school and acheive what they can) at a local high school to a 14 year old. Walking in the school gates was terrifing! I had forgotten what it was like!! Walking into a room of 14 year olds is not high on my list of fun things to do – secondary teachers  . . . . i don’t know how you do it! I’ve also been helping out the Mumfords and picked Daniel and Hannah up a couple of times the last few weeks . . .  playground mums is nearly as bad as 14 yeasr olds! Think I’m just going to stay as far a way from schools as possible!

3) Old friends . . . I got the chance to spend a weekend with some friends from uni who were a couple of years older than me that I’ve not seen inPICT3517ages. Was brilliant to catch up, and encouraging to see how some of them are clearly following Jesus more and more each day 🙂 Although really interesting to see all the different places that God has brought us over the last few years since uni. Have also had the chance to see some Relay friends which has been ace as well a fried who’s been off travelling who I really missed! I am very much loving the invention of the train network at the mo (as well as Young Person Railcard!) As much as I feel a million miles away from people, actually there are people who know me really well who are not that far away really.

4) Moldova . . . the moldova fundraising went into overdrive this last month and I’m nearing my total now – woo! See here for more 190details of why I am going. I’m really excited, especially when I consider that a year ago I’d barely heard of this little country in the middle of Eastern Europe, and yet today I have such love for the people and the country. It’s great to see God changing my heart in this way! Facebook has been brilliant to keep in touch with Moldovan friends as well and hear how things are for them in Moldova.I’m also going to be a bridesmaid for a Moldovan friend in September which is very exiting!  Though, being involved in the organisation this year has shown me just how much goes into it! But, so worth it to share the gospel with people who  have never heard it before and see God work in them! That makes all the ‘hardships’ not seem to matter. I love it (although not airline booking lines!)!

5) Scaffolding . . . . I have it over the front of my house because they are apparently going to fix my roof . . only problem is the things I thought were wrong with it are at the back . .  watch this space!

This bank holiday my mum and stepdad are coming to visit which will be lovely although a little weird for them to be in ‘my area’! Looking forward to shoiwing them around though, as well as seeing the ‘Festival of the Air‘ which looks like it’ll be good . . . as well has the fact its set to 23 degrees over the weekend! woop!!! And the fact that we have an evangelical Georgian Archbishop at church . .  should be fun!


The worst named Chinese in the Country? April 2, 2009

Filed under: Random — Sarah @ 5:25 pm
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One of the things I love about working at the YMCA one day a week is the chance to actually see the sea (ok sometimes I don’t get very close!) but when the weather is nice it’s lovely to drive down the sea front and remind myself I do live by the sea even if I don’t appear to see it very often!! As well as seeing the sea though, this drive is very special to me because of the chinese restaurant I drive past . . . it never fails to make me smile however down I’m feeling!! Having said that I’ve still not been able to eat there! This has got to be the worst named Chinese in the country?! Surely?!

The worst named Chinese in the country!


What do you think? March 10, 2009

Filed under: Christian Life — Sarah @ 8:32 pm
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I’m in the midst of a three day course that is going to enable me to mentor a year 10 student in a local SOuthend High School, in a deprived area. Was really excited about this possibilty so decided it was worth giving up three days of my time . . . however, it’s really weird!! Basically it appears to be really post modern in terms of there is no such thing as truth on the course – and your opinion is just baggae holding you back and you should forget all your existing opinions “park them at the door” and engage with what they are saying. Some of which it has been helpful to do. For example, what do i mean when I say yes? Do I mean Yes – Yes, Yes- Maybe or Yes- No? Quite challenging and also, what are my attitudes to rules when I’m told not to do things for no good reason. Basically, the course appears to be designed to help us recognise our trigger points, what choices we actually do have even when we think we don’t have a choice and how we can relate this to young people as well as those around us. I say ‘appears’ because all the teaching is abstract and really doesn’t appear to fit and I’m kind of just guessing what I think is going on.

However, the last thing we looked at today was that as human beings we are made “whole and complete and without flaws”.

Immediatley my instincts shouted at me that that was conpletly wring – we know that “all have sinned” and therefore aren’t flawless. I tried to explain this but the only answer I received was that I was putting my previous experience into play where i shouldn’t . . . . . .

Was i? Or was i just standing by what I know to be true? Any comments would be very helpful!


First trip North October 28, 2008

Filed under: Update — Sarah @ 2:09 pm
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This weekend was my first trip north since I’ve been in Southend. Very exciting though quite bizarre to actually be there! I got on the train on Friday night from Euston and was amazingly excited to hear the Train Manager come on over the tannoy with the best Carlisle accent I’ve heard in a long time – so Carlisle that the London girls sat with me had no idea what he was saying so I had to ‘translate’! Great fun! Getting off the train at Preston (as opposed to staying on to Lancaster for the extra 15 minutes) was very strange though Preston station felt strangely homely (I guess I spent a fair amount of time there when I was at uni).

The wedding was lovely (although I was reminded about just how much it does actually rain in the North West) and it was great fun seeing friends from University as well of course as seeing Esther and Darren get married! So weird though that I felt completly at home even though I’ve not lived in Preston for 15 months and haven’t been to All Saints in just as long. Reminded me of another part of my life and was really interesting to see how I have changed and how I haven’t.

Being with old friends with the old banter made me feel at home, but I wasn’t that sad to leave. I think it’s true that it is good to visit but for Preston (we’ll see about Lancaster in a a couple of weeks time!) it was quite easy to leave because I know that’s not where I am meant to be at the moment. The hardest bit was not getting on the bus that pulled into the stand (pictured below) when I was sat opposite it for an hour!

I was glad that I hadn’t got on it though, because as soon as I walked into church on Monday morning, I felt as if I had never been away (a good thing!). I think that I am very lucky to have so many places where I feel at home but Southend is definetly the place for me right now.


Strange Southend Things #2 October 7, 2008

Filed under: Random — Sarah @ 4:45 pm
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2) This wasn’t one of the original things that I was going to include in my list but giving directions is weird around here! Now, it could be that this is much more of a Ferndale thing than a Southend thing, although a Southender did say it was a Southend thing, but trying to get directions to the house where my house group is tonight included the following responses:
               – go to a crossroads on the street and the house is there on the right (not helpful for so many reasons!)
               – it’s on this street and it always has a certain colour parked outside
Now, bearing in mind this street is quite long and has a lot of houses on it I wasn’t getting very far! But, no-one really uses house numbers around here or addresses. They just direct by ‘well known’ things! So so strange!


Muddy Forum and Southend tours September 8, 2008

Filed under: Conferences — Sarah @ 11:19 am
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Just back from my fourth Forum! Madness! Was quite weird being there and not being a student or relay worker but I did have a lot of fun in the kitchen with the other volunteer cooks which was great.

Got me thinking about my first Forum and how influencial UCCF and the associated training has been to me. My first Forum was in 2005 and I was just heading into my second year at uni. I thought I pretty much knew everything and was great mainly because I was a CU leader – that didn’t last much more than an hour into the conference tho! Was really challenged by Terry Virgo speaking on Romans and sin in general. That was the first time that the gospel really opened up for me and I saw just how deep it really was and that there was so much mroe to it that I understtod – which then was so so shallow. The next two years through New Leaders Training weekends, another Forum and just input from our staff worker – Peter Dray – really helped me but Relay last year was yet another big challenge in seeing the depth and truth of the gospel over and over. I am so grateful to UCCF for everything that they have taught me and the many oppurtunites I have had to grow as a Christian.

This year was no exception. Although I was there ‘working’ I was able to make all of the main meetings which was great and I was able to hear John Piper on Ruth which was a book that i knew very little about but learnt so much about in terms of how it fits in with Jesus. It was so helpful to see how the Bible expects us to have dark days and we shouldn’t be surprised by them but actually we have a God who will see us through those days even though we won’t be able to see that at the time. Amazing!

Forum was also great for me to catch up with some friends from Lancaster which I really appreciated although saying goodbye was hard! And the mud! The mud was like nothing I’ve ever seen before – even had to go and buy wellies! You can see from the photos just how bad it was! But it was so great to be there and just have some great teaching – although not officialy involved in UCCF anymore it was great to still benefit from the teaching they’re equipping current CU leaders with.

So, I am now back in Southend which is nice. Coming back was hard on Friday (not helped by te horrendous weather on the motorway) but once I was back it felt ok! Had the chance to explore a little with Jon Delves (the other Ferndale intern) so did the pier (a disappointment!) and East beach (less of so) and Tomassi’s (an amazing ice cream parlour!)

the not so pleasureable longest pleasure pier in the world

the not so pleasureable longest pleasure pier in the world

And – I can now get to church, the Dray’s, ASDA, Tesco and town without the Sat Nav! Woo!!!


Welcome to Southend! August 23, 2008

Filed under: Random — Sarah @ 2:45 pm
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I’m finally here! Think I had gotten to the stage where it felt like I was never actually going to move but I am here and unpacked and it’s beginning to feel like home.

When we were driving into Southend I thought that I was never going to find my way around but so far so good! I can now get to town and back and have found most of the important things . . .still have no idea where the church is though without Paddy the sat nav but I’m working on it!

And weirdly, yesterday my first vistors to ring my doorbell were Catholics trying to convert me!! Their main point seemed to be that I was missing out in my relationship with God by not asking the Saints (especially Mary) to pray for me. How can I be when I can talk to the God of the universe directly and I have his spirit in me?! A random first meeting with Southenders but a good reminder that God is still God in Southend!