Monday, 7 December 2009

Street Pastors, Boston

On Saturday 21st November we had our first day's training for the Boston Street Pastor scheme...

Serving Boston on the streets

Here are some of the questions that we had answered:

Q. What is a street pastor?

A. A Street Pastor is an individual with a heart for their community, in particular for its young people who feel themselves to be excluded and marginalised. They are willing to engage with people where they are on the streets, in the pubs and in the clubs.

Street Pastors need to be willing to work with fellow activists, church and community leaders, and with agencies and projects, both statutory and voluntary, to look at collaborative ways of working on issues affecting youth, and initiatives that will build trust between them and the Street Pastors.

Q. Who can become a street pastor?

A. A street pastor must

  • be over 18
  • have been committed to a Christian fellowship/church for at least a year.
  • be able obtain a positive reference from their church Minister.
  • be able to attend the training sessions.

Q. What other qualities does a street pastor need?

A. A street pastor must

  • have a concern for society and its young
  • be able and willing to build bridges.
  • listen...not preach.
  • be willing to earn respect and the right to show and share the gospel.
  • be non-judgemental and able to operate without prejudices.
  • be able to engage with people at their level and with empathy.
  • build up a knowledge and awareness of their community.

Q. I cannot go out on the streets at night, but is there any other way I can be a part of the Boston Street Pastor Scheme?

A. Going out on the streets is only a part of the street pastor scheme. People are also needed who would be willing to be prayer backers for the teams of street pastors and help with administering the scheme.

Q. When does the Street Pastor Scheme in Boston get underway?

A. The initial training of the Street Pastors has already started. The teams will be commissioned in a service on the evening of Friday January 29th 2010 after which the first teams will go out into the town.


For more information about Street Pastors visit:

For information about Boston Street Pastor Scheme:





Monday, 23 November 2009

My Testimony!!

Had an invitation to give my testimony to the toddler parents at an art and craft evening last week. Here's what I said:
I have to admit to being a little nervous tonight...perhaps it was something to do with the fact that when I texted Claire to ask her if there would be food tonight, she texted back and joked that I was to be the after dinner speaker! That was when the nerves set in!
I’d better introduce myself...My name is Jane Flynn, most of you know my mum- Daphne. I have four children, Molly, who is now 13, Hattie, who is 12, Sam who’s 10 and Joe who’s 8. 13, 12, 10 and 8 - as you can see they were born in fairly swift succession. When Joe was born, Molly was 5 and had just started in reception. I was walking up to school every morning at nine to drop Molly off and then continuing a little further down the road to Hattie’s playgroup, before dashing home again to tidy up and feed the baby before walking up to school again at lunch time to fetch Hattie and then home again for an hour of nappies and strong coffee, before I had to drag the convoy out again to fetch Molly. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Molly was learning to ride a bike with stabilisers and absolutely had to practice on the way to school!
I am being light hearted, but this really was not a good time for me. Every time I stepped out of the door, I pasted a smile on my face, and every time I stepped back inside, the smile would invariably crumble. All my friends thought I was some kind of supermum...but I knew different. I felt as though at some point, possibly as far back as my teenage years, I had slipped and fallen into a deep dark hole and I did not know how to get out.
What was wrong with me? If someone had asked me when I was twenty, what I wanted to have out of life, I would have replied... “Several beautiful children, a husband whom I loved and who loved me, a nice house and a good job.” Well apart from the job, which I’d had to put on hold, I had it all. All those things that I had wanted from my life, I had and yet there was a constant dark cloud hanging over my head. That dark cloud was depression. Where was God for me in all this?
Well that’s really what I want to tell you about. I want to tell you about how God did help me through it all. About how my depression was lifted and about the importance of friendship – the need to walk alongside each other, to look beyond our friend’s pasted smiles and above all else... to listen to one another.
I went to church. Every week I sat in my pew with my smile masking the darkness I was experiencing and I sang the songs and said the prayers. But gradually certain people began to approach me... these people seemed to see beyond the smile, some of them even seemed to want to hear how I really was! They wanted to listen to me! I had been hiding in a deep hole for such a long time and all of a sudden people were beginning to reach out to me, to reach down into the hole. The problem was, every time I peered out over the edge I would withdraw back into it. It wasn’t a nice place, my hole, but I knew it and it felt safer than the outside world. A part of me did not want to be dragged out – the same part of me that told me that I was not worth rescuing.
However certain people seemed to think otherwise. Finally one person made it her mission to show me that I was loved and valued by God. Whilst others had reached down into my hole, she climbed right in there into the mud and the dirt with me. She asked me how I was, and when I replied that I was fine, she asked me how I really was. She listened. We prayed. She told me I was loved. She held my hand and gradually together, over the course of many months, we reached the rim of the hole and I peered out. This time I did not shrink back in because God had plans for me and I knew it. I knew I was loved. I knew I was valuable.
God had been holding onto me all the years of my life. Through all the dark times and through all the times when I was pulling away from him, he held on. He loved me. But it took another human being coming alongside me, bringing God to me when I most needed it, to bring me to the place where I could turn back to Him.
What I want to ask you tonight is this: Is there anyone in your life, who needs you to bring God to them now? The people who need our friendship are the people we meet every day. Is there anyone who always answers ‘fine’ when asked how they are, but who needs to be asked how they really are. What do true friends really gain from true friendship?
I’ll leave that thought with you.

Friday, 6 November 2009


The word Shalom is commonly understood around the world to mean Peace. Throughout Israel it is used as a greeting when people meet and as a farewell when they part. Peace, however is only a small part of the full meaning of the Hebrew word.

Strong's Concordance states that the word shalom encompasses a lot more: A word study in the New King James version for SHALOM says: Completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord.

So when a Jewish person pronounces Shalom over another they are wishing all of these things upon that person. A blessing indeed!

In Matthew 5 21-26, Jesus is saying that when anyone's relationship with another is anything less than a relationship of Shalom then they must do something to restore the Shalom- the perfectness, completeness, wholeness, peace- to the relationship.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

The Gradual Miracle

My healing has been a miracle. It has been a slow, prolonged miracle, but a miracle none the less. On Sunday at the evening service I stood before the (Okay very small) congregation and told them, in the context of Penny's sermon on healing, my testimony.

I did not go into any details, I simply told about the deep, dark hole in which I had been living for such a long time and told them about how Penny, instead of trying to drag me out of the hole or chuck prayers down into it as others had tried to do, actually clambered in there with me and brought God with her. I told about how we had journeyed together hand in hand through the rocky places and through the muddy places and how she was there alongside me, getting covered in mud right there with me.

I tried to get across that the miracle of God's healing does happen, but it may not always happen just exactly how we expect it to. God heals each person in the right way for the individual.

It was a miracle. My mind would never have coped with an instant healing- an instant yanking out of the pit- I am too analytical for that and it would have been too far from the way I generally work. He knew that. He healed me in the way that was just right for me.


Thursday, 20 August 2009

New Wine 09

From the 25th July to the 30th of August, some 45 people from Trinity found themselves in tents (Well, Tim did have the luxury of a caravan!) in the middle of a field at the Newark Showground. The weather this year was mixed, ranging from hot sunshine to torrential rain, but God has his hand over everything and once again we were able to relax and fill ourselves with his Spirit.

We learnt some amazing new worship songs and I was able to really bask in the love of my Father. I learnt the need to relinquish control. Something which those who know me will know that I do not find letting go an easy thing to do. I have always been afraid of letting go and relinquishing control, yes, even to God. But over the last year I have realised that when I do let Him take over, He tends to take me to a better place than the place I was before. Sometimes the place I end up is not where I expected to be, but inevitably it has always been a place that has proved to be better than where I was before!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

New Wine

We are off to Newark for the New wine conference on Saturday. I am really looking forward to it this year! I was not in a very good place the first time we went, two years ago, and last year the memories of the previous one were still very fresh. This year it will be great and there are even a few seminars which I am already planning to go to.

It is a good time to socialise with people from church as well, some people, you see in a very different light when you camp alongside them, and it is often easier to share experiences with other people in a context like this.

Here are some photos from previous years new wines!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Salt and light

Jesus had a way of taking things which seem small and insignificant and showing us that they can transform the world. He had us considering lilies and birds; he taught us about mustard seeds and lost sheep. Now here he is exhorting us to be salt!

‘You are the salt of the earth’ he tells us. Not- you should be the salt of the earth, or you might be the salt of the earth, or even you will be the salt of the earth if you work hard at it. No, Jesus is simply telling us what we already are: You are the salt of the earth.

Salt- sodium Chloride is a stable compound. By its very nature it cannot lose its saltiness. Jesus knew that, so why does he say, ‘if salt loses its saltiness, it is useless.’? The idea of unsalty salt is foolishness. In fact in some translations, the word useless is translated as foolishness. Moros – the same word is used in the Hebrew to describe the man who built his house on the sand and the maidens who brought lamps without oil to the wedding feast. A house built on sand? Moros! Oil-lamps with no oil? Moros! Unsalty salt? Moros! Salt without saltiness is the abject denial of its very identity. Jesus is not telling us to change into salt and light, he is saying be salt- be ourselves...salt salts, light lights, we are being told to act upon our nature. Be the people God has created us to be.

In Jesus time, people would have known of the preserving property of salt, of its ability to combat deterioration and decay. As Christians in society, we need to influence people. We should use our influence to prevent decay and corruption in society. We can all do this, all of us - whether or not we hold positions of power or leadership. We do it simply by being ourselves, by living out our lives in God.

Similarly it would have been widely known that salt was used to kill bacteria and promote healing. As Christians it is our role to share the reality that broken lives can be made whole again in Jesus Christ. That there is healing for both the spiritually and physically sick.

Purity. Salt was considered the most pure of substances. It came from the sun and the sea. As Christians in the world, we need to maintain the purity of our own lives in order to lead others to the purity of Christ.

Many people disregard the idea that salt as a fertilizer may have been important in the interpretation of this passage. I don’t know what you think, but I see it as quite an important aspect of Jesus’ words. A certain amount of salt was dug into the earth to make the earth more fruitful, more productive. Lives impregnated with Jesus, are productive lives. These lives bear fruit as they grow. Jesus words were ‘you are the salt of the earth’ When he spoke them, he may indeed have had in mind the salt that was then dug into the earth to enrich the soil.

As it is today, salt was also used to season food. We should not be bland and boring. Let us not be the type of Christians the playwright Henrik Ibsen wrote about, 'Hollow-eyed, pale-cheeked, flat-breasted all; they brood their lives away, unspurred by ambition,' We are salt! We give flavour to the world, we are diffusers of joy. We need to affect the people we meet day by day. If we don’t affect the world, the world will affect us.

Salt and light have one thing in common: Neither of them exist for their own sake, but rather they are there to make a difference to their surroundings. I’ll leave you to think about that!

Saturday, 27 June 2009

The Soup Kitchen

It was with some trepidation that I arrived at the little van that calls itself Boston's Soup Kitchen, to work my first ever two hour stint. There were already several people sitting on the wall beside the van. They looked hungry. They were foreign. I waited a little distance away, unsure what the procedure was meant to be and too scared to approach these people. After a short while I was relieved to see Marianne arrive on her trusty bicycle. She parked it beside the wall, and started chatting to the woman and two men who were already there,

'You are queuing today, then?' she asked them, 'We just have to wait for Mike to come with the key.' As she said this she mimed unlocking the door of the van and shrugged. The people smiled and stood up. They did not seem to understand, and they were hungry.

Before long, Mike did arrive. He unlocked and went off to fetch more rolls, while Marianne and and I put the kettles on. More people were arriving, greeting each other with the regulation continental handshake and saying a few words. They nodded at Marianne and myself. As the kettle boiled, the folk, attracted by the tiny, barely audible click, began to hover by the hatch.

'Soup?' Marianne asked, 'Chicken soup?'

The first man nodded. 'Chicken,' he pronounced it sheeken. Those behind him nodded too, sheeken was murmured. 'Zupa'

We poured six cups of chicken soup and a cup of tomato for the one dissenter. Marianne asked some of the folks where they were living. A lot of miming took place and someone found the word 'tent'. Lots of nodding.

'Well last night I was in the police station,'

I asked this young man why he had ended up there. 'I was in TK Max, because I needed new shoes...' the rest was apparently obvious. 'At least you get fed at the police station.' he added.

The evening continued with a constant stream of people, most of whom lived in tents and all but four of whom were not English: Latvian, Lithuanian, Portugese. As a group, despite their differences in language and nationality, they were very caring and respectful of one another, they shared cigarettes and even helped each other roll them. The appreciation for what we were doing was genuine and I felt fully accepted into a group of people with whom I had very little in common. I am truly looking forward to the next time!

Friday, 26 June 2009

The fourth Station- Jesus meets His Mother

I have spent the day experimenting with plaster of Paris and rubber gloves. This is my result. It is my interpretation of the fourth Station of the cross.You can see the first three below. I am quite pleased with it, although after it has had a chance to settle I am hoping to sand off some of the plaster from the smaller (Mary's) hand. . Now, shall I paint it, or leave it white??

Hattie has friends staying over tonight. We have three extras plus our own four. Hmmm, I wonder if we will get any sleep?! I did make her a birthday cake of enormous proportions, so hopefully they will be so full up they will fall straight to sleep! Now I think I must be dreaming!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Happy Birthday Hattie!

Today is a special day. It is the 12th birthday of my daughter Hattie. She had a good day, despite having to go to school, and was able to ride there on her new bicycle!

She is a great kid, and I am very proud of her.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Stations of the cross

I a working on some images that could become part of the stations of the cross. I want them to all be done with different media.
The First Station is done in acrylic paint with tissue and fabric to provide texture.
The second station is done in pencil on white cartridge paper, which sadly looks blueish on this photo.
The third image is acrylic paint with a background of newspaper.
I am planning to do the third station in the form of a sculpture.
...Be interesting to see what people think.

Writing Group

There are writers in Boston....
Well I guess there are, but where? I am a member of a writing group that meets in Boston on a Tuesday night. We teach each other, we inspire each other, we write together and of course we end each Tuesday night in the pub.
If you are out there and you are a writer then get in touch. You'd be welcome to join us.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Boston with Christ!

I have just listened to an amazing sermon. Boston is in need of God, and Christians in Boston need to get together to fulfill this need. We are many. We need to step out of our comfort zones and be Jesus to the people of our town. I am praying that I will not be complacent about this. I need to be pro-active and expectant to see God's amazing works.

What have I done?

Well so far I have signed up to help at the soup kitchen which has been running around a year now, but I feel that I am being called to something else. Street Pastoring? Perhaps...

Watch this space!