Blog archive April 2007

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27.04.07 / 01 / knock 'em dead

today was a good day. i had to do a short presentation to the whole practice about the moscow job, in the absence of all my colleagues who usually present. i was good. the senior partner was highly complimentary, and said "we really must get you involved in more of these things..." i did two minutes presentation but was talking to people about it for an hour afterwards. this is another thing i got from ten years at Grace - the ability to present. all the more strange, considering i'm an introvert who prefers to skulk in the background and observe. i'm scared until i've got my material, then i'm ok.

then tonight i got the proofs from the Church Music Quarterly, of my article in the June issue. it was written at christmas for the march issue but got put back. it was a feat of compression and i wondered if the argument would stand up - i was scared to look. but it's good, albeit dense, and the magazine is very nicely produced. and someone else has written an article which complements mine by expanding on something i'd been obliged to stuff into one paragraph. i'll stick the article on in july - i feel obliged to wait until CMQ have published it first [have had to wait longer than i wanted!].

20.04.07 / 01 / carbon monasteries

in advance of this sunday's gracelet [subject: carbon footprints], i've been calculating my carbon emissions caused by flying over the last couple of years. austin trip 1811kg CO2, melbourne trip 3650kg, sydney trip 3695kg, moscow trips 637kg each time... it's clear that all my virtuous lifestyle choices are outweighed by these flights. but to refuse to travel on emerging church business, or to never visit friends again, seems intolerable.

so i propose the setting up of carbon monasteries. just as conventional monasteries offer prayer on behalf of the world [spiritual offsetting], carbon monasteries repair ecological damage on behalf of those obliged to commit it [carbon offsetting]. in this way the emerging church can achieve overall carbon neutrality. some travel the globe and stay in expensive hotels. some stay in one place and live in cells. some generate multimedia resources. some generate energy from renewable sources. some plant churches. some plant trees. some drink beer, some make it ;-J

of course, inside this joke is a serious point about what a new form of monastery might be doing. and inside that is a very serious point, that the monasteries were the preservers of learning and culture through the dark ages.


This is good thinking, but it leads to inevitable difficulties of implementation:

-- If you can calculate your consumption using some or other heuristic, how should we calculate the opposite - the giving back oxygen or whatever?

-- How much then, does one tree for example return goodness / balance to the atmosphere?

-- How many trees would you, Steve, as a member of the jetset, have to plant / nurture?

-- How close to redress would this take you?

-- How might you package the idea to those who didn't think as abstractly as yourself?

nic paton

i'm sure that there are scientific answers to the matter of giving back oxygen etc, or the notions of offsetting and carbon trading wouldn't be around in commercial form. i would have to plant many, many trees. tropical trees, since apparently temperate forests don't do the job - in fact they may make climate change worse.

which leads to the thought - could i buy tropical rainforest [thereby preventing its destruction] as an offsetting scheme? how much rainforest could the emerging church buy for preservation? come to think of it, couldn't bill gates just buy the amazon?


I wonder how much coal the alt.worship movement saves by lighting their venues with candles instead of electric lights (i wonder whether bees are carbon-positive?)

I wonder how much hot air is saved by walking around labyrinths in socks instead of all that talking.

It's years since i've been further than Melbourne in a plane, and i live a very carbon-righteous life - can i offer to be your monk? i reckon walking to work every day so steve can fly will be much easier than praying every day so steve won't sin.

andrew lorien

how far will you have to walk for me to come to cathy's birthday party?


18.04.07 / 01 / tools for evangelism

gracelet is the name of grace's smaller monthly service. gracelet is also the name of a tool for personal casual evangelism. i am speechless. what is worrying is how close it is to some of the stuff we have done in grace services - and my 'what's in your pocket' schtick. but we don't charge. and our typography is better. i wonder if jonny will make it a worship trick? :/

connected to this in a roundabout way is this interesting site ["are you prepared for a pandemic?"], also featuring the silent witness art print:

The 'Silent Witness' is an ongoing statement of your faith and your continuing desire to bring souls to the Lord thy God before, and yes, even after the rapture occurs. What make the 'Silent Witness' so unique is its personal testimonial design. It is to be signed by you and other Christians of your choice to attest to the reason we have all disappeared.

[hey, maybe we've been having the rapture in england very slowly for the last forty years or so]

16.04.07 / 01 / 10 years at grace

saturday night's service marked ten years of my attendance at grace. the first service i went to was april 13th, 1997 - a celtic communion. it was a sunday night back then.

so it felt appropriate to bring a cake with ten candles to the after-service cafe.


my involvement with grace led to an eventful ten years, to say the least:

  • april 1997 go to grace for first time
  • september 1997 join team
  • october 1997 buy camera and start taking photographs of alt worship
  • summer 1998 coordinator [well i tried] for proposed london alt worship millennium events 'another city'
  • april 1999 'another city' website
  • may 1999 'the time of our lives' millennium service in southwark cathedral
  • august 1999 co-write greenbelt mainstage eucharist
  • march 2000 the st. paul's cathedral labyrinth [followed by tours, prayer path kit, website etc]
  • july 2000 'movement' magazine column three times a year to july 2006
  • september 2000 'small fire' columns for ship of fools [to august 2002]
  • october 2000
  • march 2001 'epicenter' conference in austin texas courtesy of andrew jones
  • september 2001
  • april 2002
  • february 2003 smallritual blog
  • [i think the hiatus here has to do with me having sufficient outlets for my energies by now]
  • october 2006 melbourne and adelaide stuff for the uniting church of australia


  • all the grace services, grace stuff at greenbelt, youthwork conferences etc.
  • a lot of grace flyers.
  • regular attendance at vaux and epicentre.
  • the late-90s online alt worship forum and epicentre discussion group, where i met so many of the people in what was not yet called the emerging church, and where i picked up enough knowledge of the scene to dare to write about it.
  • the stuff published in books, words and pictures.

and all the friends, worldwide, i wouldn't have had otherwise, or not by the same route.

and i don't suppose i'd be living in ealing.

back in 1995, when NOS collapsed all over the media, i was in a small conventional church outside london, alienated, begging god to put me in touch with people like that [though not chris brain, obviously ;) ]. the summit of my ambition then was to have a small part in the engine room of something like NOS, somewhere. i guess i got more than i asked for - though how like NOS it has all been, i leave you to judge ;)


oh i almost forgot... august 1997 buy modem [remember those?] when jonny baker informs me that i need email to be part of grace. renegotiate use of phone line with landlady.


Thanks for the cake Steve. Looks like quite a journey you've been on with Grace. Grace and peace to you on the next stage...


congrats steve on a decade of creativity and inspiration! thanks for encouraging my creativity across the pond and i hope that i'm on your list of world wide friends, 'cause you are definitely on mine! thanks for sharing what is happening so we can all get inspired.

lilly lewin

14.04.07 / 01 / tonight the washing up looked pretty

yes i know it's random. i wasn't on drugs.


02.04.07 / 01 / rubik's iconostasis

something for easter. you know you want one ;) sadly it only exists in photoshop atm. anybody fancy going into production?


full size on flickr

01.04.07 / 01 / southam street mural

was up by trellick tower this afternoon to photograph this stonking piece of graffiti which i saw from the train on the way into paddington last week - maybe it was on a different track to usual. the painting is in a private car park off a small street next to the railway line - took a little bit of figuring out where it might be. it reminded me of this piece from the late 90s. sometimes one wonders if it's the same people - certainly some were back then, there was a whole series of union-jack-river-london skyline pieces. nice genre when done well.

was a good day to get some photos of trellick tower too, which i've been meaning to do for a while.

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